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Maybe why Avante-garde looping in US...
Mike called our attention to this article:
Study: Why Americans Have Bad Rhythm
.............which took a study of balkan immigrants and compared their
experiences with a group of
native north americans and concluded that north americans are bad at
I'm sorry but I have to say that this study reflects western science's
compulsion to categorize at the expense of
accurately understanding reality at it's worst................there are so
that relate to how a people percieve different kinds of rhythms that you
would have to have a much
better designed experiment to make the case that is made here.
also, they talked about North Americans......................well North
Americans come from Africa, Europe, Aisia
and all over the world. Which Northern Americans are they talking about?
I suspect they mean Caucasion people with primarily British/European
heritage who were Canadian (as it turns out).
There are lots of different kinds of complexity in rhythm from around the
I"ve met a lot of Balkan drummers and MiddleEastern drummers who are great
with odd time signatures and
what I would call 'linear complex rhythms' who are really bad at playing
funk rhythms of the African Diaspora,
innovated in the United States.
Odd time signature dance rhythms, spread mostly by the Ottoman turks and
to many of the countries in the Middle and Near East and in Eastern Europe
are, for the most part, very minimalistically played
and fairly conservative in syncopative application.
There are great tradtional African drummers who are completely incapable
holding down a simple techno groove or disco groove.
The Indians are famous for having some of the most sophisticated rhythmic
expressions and tradtions on the planet but those traditions are mostly
linear. There is just as much sophistication in the polyrhythmic rhythm
interplay in a large West African pop band as there is in a ripping tabla
player's performance..............it is just sophistication of a different
kind and order.
Can you make a case in each of these instances that either of these
are rhythmically challenged? Hell no. They just reflect the cultural
sensibilities of each region they came from.
Let us not forget that the whole concept of Funk was innovated in the
States, ableit in the expatriated African Amercican communities
of the great Diaspora.
It didn't originate in Africa and if you study it carefully, it has West
African (and Middleastern) roots rhythmically speaking but it is a
phenomena that the traditional musics of those regions.
Funk is, like many things specifically American, a fusion of styles:
Without the marriage to the repressived non-syncopated traditions
of the dominant paradigm (which all come, originally, from the Shamanic
pagan tradtions of the tribes of Northern Europe) there would be
no Funk, per se.
Mercifully, we now live in a world where it is very easy to find out
information about other cultures so the styles of all of these great
are merging into the most sophisticated pop music traditions in the
of the planet.
If you study just the mathematics of the proliferation of popular rhythmic
expression from Western culture there has been an almost geometric
increase in the sophistication of rhythms found on commercial radio.
Sure there's still a plethora of four on the floor rhythms on the radios
the world but just sit down and analyze the rhythmic complexity
of a Timbaland production of a Missy Elliot song and compare it to
commercial Western music of, say the early 1960's.
The information age and the jet airplane has resulted in people from all
over the planet increasing their rhythmic sophistication and their access
to sophisticated world musical instruments.
You can buy Irish bodhrans that kick butt, made in
Pakistan...........................Indian Kanjira's made excellently and
innovatively on the East Coast of the U.S.
I remember 25 years ago when I first saw a real Djembe for the first time.
I was amazed and in awe. Yet I had been playing West African
djembe rhtyhms for a few years thanks to the proliferation of radio and
This is all a long winded way of saying that the study of world rhythm and
how it's performed and felt: how and in which ways it is sophisticated is
just too complex a phenomena to put down to a study of 75 balkan
and presumably white Canadians and it's irresponsible to publish
tripe like this.
Sorry but that article really got under my skin and pissed me off.
lol.................with indignant rhythmic righteousness,
(a Northern European drummer who should be retarded rhythmically speaking
since he spent so much of his youth in the suburbs of San Jose)