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Rhythm Quest Blog #2 - by Tyson Stubelek

This week’s Sunday Rhythm Quest was all about testing our connection to the pulse (and the resolving downbeat) while challenging our ears to preserve groove in the face of increasing polyrhythmic complexity. Over the course of the previous sessions, we have all become more comfortable with stepping in 2 while clapping 3, 4, or the African Bell Pattern. In this week’s session we really got down to work gear shifting our brains with various rhythmic challenges. We introduced a new 3 step with the feet, which, as it turns out, really changes how the ear perceives the African Bell Pattern (it makes me hear it as a quasi-samba in big 3, oddly enough). The goal of the session eventually became to sing the Bell Pattern while stepping in 3, and clapping in 4. I’m pleased to say that we really started to unlock the concept after a bit of hard work! We also spent some time moving the downbeat and starting the bell pattern from the 2nd half (in the style of a 2/3 vs 3/2 latin cascara). It was fascinating to discuss how the individual quest participants went about setting up such polyrhythmic wizardry. Some stayed anchored by hearing everything in 2, while others found it easier to hear multiple time streams by thinking in 3. It is always good to make observations about how one’s ear is really functioning in context. Thanks to all who came down, I learned a lot and feel very encouraged by the enthusiasm to try new things! Looking forward to next week!

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