2011 March 21
by roma

Thoughts:

I got some great insight from The Rhythm Book.

First, it's more important to keep the beat than the rhythm. So, it's OK to mess up the rhythm, as long as the beat is maintained.

Second, "a metronome can help reinforce the beat, but don't rely on it to replace the tapping of the foot" (pg. 26).

I've been having problems lately with maintaining a steady tempo on some of my pieces. I didn't really know how to address this issue, but this may very well be it.

The thing is, I just realized that I have an ingrained bias against foot-tapping while playing. I studied cello up until my mid-teens with a teacher from the Soviet Union. She had the old-school teaching method - technique reigns in the beginning stages. She also taught me how to feel the music, so I respected her. Foot-tapping was one of the many things she said was a no-no. Now that I think about it, the reason probably was that it didn't fit in with the classical music aesthetic. Since I don't care about this aesthetic, there's no reason I shouldn't tap my foot, especially if it helps me maintain a steady tempo.

Here are 2 pieces I recorded with foot-tapping to maintain the tempo.

Pica-Pica

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Samba Caribe

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Lots of mistakes on Samba Caribe, but I tried to maintain the rhythm. I like how the percussion effect the foot-tapping gives on the recording.

I also tried to tap my foot to Samba Caribe with the accent on the 2nd beat. This reflects the syncopated, wild feel of samba (the 1st beat is stress-free, the 2nd beat gets the accent). It was quite hard and was messing up my playing. Something to practice.

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