Testing your sense of rhythm and time…

While writing my upcoming book, Rhythm Savvy, I wanted to create something in the beginning through which the listener could experience his or her own sense of rhythm.

The following sound file called Finding One is an exercise for sensing the beat. Listen through the first eight bars to feel where beat one is. The kick drum on quarter notes will then enter in bar nine. The kick is correct and what you thought was the beat is probably wrong. Do you hear the beat as laid down by the kick?

The kick is removed from the next eight bars and enters again at :48, this time along with a lead line that should make the kick feel correct. Do you now hear the actual beat? Back to the non-kick rhythm at 1:04, and at 1:20 the kick is again brought back. This time, do you hear the kick as the correct quarter note beat? The kick is again removed at 1:36 and at bar 1:54 the kick and lead line come in again to help firmly establish the beat.


What is the point of all that?

The point is to give you a indication of your sense of rhythm and how quickly you can adapt your sense of time to a new rhythmic paradigm. How quickly were you able to hear the kick as being on quarter notes 1-4? Were you able to hear it 1:20 when the kick and original rhythm came back together a second time?

Making the switch from what you heard as beat one at the beginning and the true beat one after the kick entered is difficult. It’s a little like seeing the young woman and the old lady in the famous drawing below. You’re listening to the same beat but placing a different interpretation on it depending on which emphasis you’re choosing to hear.

I’m curious as to how you experienced this. Add a comment to tell me and I’ll send you a mystery gift.

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