As a quick recap, in my previous blog, I mentioned the power of 2 notes to form an interval. That's all wonderful, but the whole article was more about theory; useless knowledge if you can't apply it. So how do you use those 2 notes? Well, lets look back at an example used in the previous blog:
I used to think that a melody required at least 2 note. Well, Peter Kadar most certainly plays a one note melody (ignoring the chords) in that video. So, how does he do it?? If it's possible to play a one note melody and still maintain interest, then there has to be something more fundamental to music; a foundation that melody is built upon. So, what is it? (Hint: read the title of this article)
Rhythm is a part of human instinct. It's what gets our foot tapping. It's something that we all naturally possess. When we walk, we walk with rhythm. When we talk, we talk in rhythm. When we're angry, WETALKSOFASTTHATNOONEKNOWSWHATWERESAYING! When we try to make a point, we E-NUN-CI-ATE EV-ER-Y SYL-LA-BLE. All of this is rhythm! We each have our own rhythmic style, and yet, it's something that unites us all.
There's only one difference between this, and musical rhythm: in music, rhythm has a pattern; mostly, one that's repetitive. In music, a rhythm consists of upbeats and down beats. A down beat is a STRONG beat - one where we feel the impact. An upbeat is the exact opposite: a lighter beat. Here's a simple way to look at it: when you tap your foot to a song, every time you hit the floor, that's a down beat, and vice versa. Take a look at the following rhythm:
BOOM boom BOOM boom BOOM boom BOOM BOOM
All the BOOMs are downbeats, and the booms are upbeats. Take another look at Peter Kadar's one note melody and try to find the upbeats and downbeats.
That covers the expressive/intensity of a rhythm, but of course, you also need a pattern (how many hits per beat?). You can't discuss rhythmic patterns without mentioning time signatures (aka. taala....sorry for leaving out carnaatic terms and concepts in the past couple of articles). We'll take a look at that in the next article, but for now, don't worry too much about it. Just drum the objects around you to find a rhythm you like. Then, you can add notes to each hit of your rhythm, and that's it! You're composing! This trick has helped me out in a few tight situations, so keep at it, and remember: have fun.