Notes or Rhythms – What’s Extra Necessary?

This week we’ve printed the following instalment in Ken Johansen’s Superior sight-Studying Curriculum on the On-line Academy which is devoted to the topic of rhythm. On this visitor weblog put up, Ken explores how sight-reading will be useful for creating good rhythmic habits and helpful musical abilities.

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It’s a foolish query, after all. In music, neither one can exist with out the opposite. However to roam the halls of any conservatory, listening to college students practise, is to understand doubtless that their high precedence is be aware accuracy. The slightest unsuitable be aware makes them cease instantly and again up, often solely a be aware or two, to excise the offending blemish. In doing so, they after all add rhythmic inaccuracy to their be aware inaccuracy, and lose all sense of pulse and phrasing. It appears a heavy value to pay for a unsuitable be aware.

Given this compulsion to cease and proper unsuitable notes, it’s not shocking that many piano college students, when requested to sight-read one thing, discover it very troublesome to maintain a daily pulse and play by way of to the tip of a chunk with out stopping. It’s nearly unattainable to abruptly abandon a behavior that has been strengthened every day within the apply room for years. As well as, most piano college students shouldn’t have sufficient expertise in ensemble taking part in, or enough coaching in improvisation, taking part in by ear, and simplifying difficult passages, to permit them to play in tempo and preserve going when sight-reading.

notes or rhythms

Of the numerous advantages of sight-reading—discovery of latest music, sooner studying of repertoire, better entry to efficiency and employment alternatives—one of the vital essential is the improved feeling of pulse and rhythm that it instills. Being obliged to maintain going it doesn’t matter what occurs, as we’re in sight-reading and in ensemble taking part in, results in the event of a secure internal pulse, which in flip makes it potential to learn precisely all the numerous rhythmic figures contained inside the pulse. College students who’ve problem sight-reading widespread rhythmic figures are often those who’ve gotten into the behavior of practising out of time, and due to this fact lack that secure pulse upon which all rhythmic life relies upon.

Any pianist who has joined one other pianist in a duet, or accompanied a singer at sight, is aware of that being obliged to play in time, come what might, has the secondary impact of forcing them to often depart notes out, simplify challenges, or guess at what’s coming. Whereas this may increasingly appear to be a sacrifice to some (the satan of be aware accuracy whispering in our ears), being pressured to scale back, simplify, improvise, and play by ear encourages the expansion of musical abilities which might be extraordinarily helpful, not solely in sight-reading, however in efficiency and practising.

The great rhythmic habits and helpful musical abilities that we develop in sight-reading switch over to our every day apply in lots of useful methods. For one factor, as our studying improves, so does our accuracy, and we might discover that we don’t must cease and proper unsuitable notes as usually as earlier than. Furthermore, the crucial that we now really feel to maintain a gentle pulse might lead us to play to the tip of the phrase earlier than going again to right errors, giving us a greater sense of phrasing. Once we do must repeat a small unit to make it fluent, we might discover methods to do that with apply loops that permit us to maintain a daily pulse by way of the repetitions.

The ability we’ve got developed in simplifying and decreasing textures might also assist us to see extra clearly the underlying construction of the items we’re studying, and to seek out new methods of practising and memorising them. In efficiency, our secure internal pulse turns into one thing we will depend on, and experience upon, because it carries us by way of musical time. And may one thing go awry when taking part in from reminiscence, our means to improvise and play by ear will assist us to maintain the music going.

Returning to our opening query, notes and rhythms are equally essential, however notes solely have which means when they’re in rhythm.

– Ken Johansen


The most recent instalment of the Superior Sight Studying Curriculum is accessible with an On-line Academy subscription or for once-off buy from our retailer right here. Please click on right here to seek out out extra about subscription choices, or click on right here to view the sequence index if you’re already a subscriber.

Additional Studying & Assets

On-line Workshop – The 4 Abilities of Profitable Sight-Studying

In the event you’d like a stay, hands-on demonstration of instruments and strategies from among the sources listed above, you could be excited by our on-line workshop on Friday twenty fifth of June @ 14:00 – 16:00 BST (GMT + 1). On this workshop, Ken Johansen will current his tried and examined strategy to creating for important abilities for profitable sight studying. He’ll present you the way to plan earlier than you play, preserve your eyes on the rating, learn forward and preserve the rhythm going! Click on right here for extra data.