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OT West African/African Diaspora rhythms: 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 12/8
"interesting conversation is funny also how many people feel or count
the typical chicago blues is 4/4
though it make sense,drummers also start with the drum sticks counting
1,2,3,4 and not 1,2,3,4,5,6
maybe that was the genuis in chuck berry,mayb he couldnt stand watching
the white folks dance 6/8 in 4/4 so he turned 6/8 into 4/4 and named it
johnny b. goode:-)"
The salient reason why the shuffle in the blues is written in 4/4 and
not 6/8 from my experience is
the presence of the backbeat (the offbeat clapping tradition from the
Afro Americans of the African
Diaspora on the '2' and '4' of a measure). The dancers dance to the
four pulse (every three sub pulses
in 12/8) and clap on the '2' and '4'.
The shuffle is based off of the 4 pulse in 12/8. Due to the presence
of different polyrhythmic feels
in West African based musics, musicologists have taken to counting the
music in 12/8 but
honestly, I think this is inaccurate and they are just trying to be
safe and beyond critique from
I've played literally hundreds of hours of west african and caribbean
dance classes (Cuban, Afro Haitian and Brazillian) in my life:
watching what pulses the dancers dance to
is very instructive. There are virtually NO dances from those parts of
the world where the dancers
emphasize the 3 pulse or the 6 pulse. They WILL make syncopated
movements that hit these spots
but almost entirely, the dancing is to the four
pulse...................a very good case for writing
the music in 4/4 in triplet eighth notes and NOT in 6/8.
The drummers, on the other hand, are all over the place and frequently
will emphasize the 3 and 6 pulses
(as well as the 2 pulse which doesn't get mentioned enough) but these
are embellishments designed
to get the adrenal glands pumping, as happens in all syncopation.
My view, however, is in a decided minority amongst academic
musicologists (many of whom, I have
to add, snarkily, have never set foot in a dance class, let alone
played for one).