Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soloing, part 5-1: Rhythms

You think about your solos, right? Do you think about how they sound as a rhythm?

I realize most taiko players don't read Western notation, but you can still think of your solos as patterns that you could graph out with simple marking. The important thing here is to be able to visualize your solo in terms of the musical notes, as if someone were closing their eyes and just listening.

Take a song that you solo in. What does your solo look like - musically - if someone were to notate it on paper somehow? Does it look like it's aware of the downbeat or does it sound "lost"? Is it repetitive? Are there a lot of the same patterns? Is it chaotic? Are there mostly new things one after the other? Is it clever? Is it too clever? Is is simple? Is it too simple? Are the patterns dense? When they are, is it the same kind of pattern making that density or is there variety?

I'll stop there, but those are the types of things you should notice in your own mental "notation". To me, rhythm becomes "noise" when there's no sense of repetition or recognizable patterns. There's a difference in someone attempting to play something identifiable as a rhythm but failing, and someone who's on beat but so all over the place that it's a mental chore to follow along. The former is like driving with someone who speeds up here, slows down there, and doesn't always use their signal, but you know they know where they're going. The latter is someone who obeys all the rules of the road, but it seems like they're lost the entire time.

I did write a post here about musicality in soloing, and this is definitely a similar post, but I'm mainly setting up things for the next part come Monday. Still, why not take some time until then and think about it?

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