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McNeill, quite plausible. Thus even the simplest regular tapping of a foot inevitably has an up and a down component. Bipedal walking adds an additional twist: the alternation of right and left leg, the two of which make up a complete cycle. If one wishes to keep count of how many steps one has walked, the first required decision is whether to count paces so that each footfall is counted or to count cadences or cycles so that each right-left combination is counted once. But given that we must both raise and lower each leg during bipedal walking, the cycle-counting convention leads to a four-way subdivision of each cycle: right — up — left — up.

Thus we need look no further than a man walking down the street to witness two of the most basic and pervasive musical meters expressed in movement, and indeed some of the most popular and infectious dance styles, including reggae, merengue or street samba can be danced to by simply walking in place.

Three-way divisions also fall naturally from slightly more varied movements. This yields an overall six-way cycle for both right and left foot to step, or in a simple box waltz with four half-turns, a part cycle to return to the starting place. Although there are many ways to dance the waltz, all make use of this basic alternation between movement and pausing to yield groups of three rather than two or four, again leading naturally to the waltz meter. Like many dances, the waltz originated as a country dance and was initially viewed as scandalously indecent by aristocrats due to the characteristic close, almost hugging, position of the male and female dancer Stephenson and Iaccarino, But once established among polite society in 18th century Vienna, it proved so infectious as to spread around the world, bringing its meter along with it.

The dance thus alternates between European and more African partner positions with each cycle. But unlike the waltz, and true to its African roots, the six-count of the dance step long-long-short-short contrasts with a musical rhythm to yield an exciting polyrhythmic tension between the dancers and the music.

In either case, swing dancers phase in an out of metrical register with the music to yield a much longer combined cyclicity than that of either the music or dance alone. Echoing the waltz, swing was a dance with African-American folk origins that exploded in popularity among both blacks and whites and particularly during and after World War II, was embraced and danced in nations around the world. To summarize, musical meters from the simple to quite complex can be closely linked to particular modes of human bodily movement. It is somewhat remarkable that groups of two and three, combined multiplicatively or additively, provide sufficient resources to yield the diversity of metrical structures typifying virtually all human music.

This seems less surprising if we hypothesize that musical rhythms inevitably make reference to movements of a few simple sorts perhaps some additional meters might feel natural to quadrupedal mammals, six-legged insects or eight-legged spiders. Indeed, all of the rhythms I will discuss in the rest of this article follow naturally from of the most basic meter already implicit in simple bipedal walking. A meter provides a very general framework within which an unlimited diversity of specific rhythmic patterns can be generated.

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But, as recognized since ancient times Toussaint, , not all rhythms are equally exciting or propulsive to dancers. Honing and de Haas, ; Merker, This pulse a. However, there seems to be a tradeoff between expressive timing and general rhythmic complexity, such that polyrhythmic and syncopated rhythmic styles allow little deviation from strict periodicity, while relatively simple and repetitive rhythms are more open to expressive deviation from the pulse Temperley, Furthermore, most dance music is in fact rather strictly isochronic, and nonetheless has a very strong and compelling groove.


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These are fundamentally different concepts, and I will discuss only groove here. One of the core mysteries in understanding the rhythmic underpinnings of many modern dance styles is their pervasive use of syncopation Temperley, , Empirical work on syncopation indicates that syncopated rhythms are more difficult to play and less memorable, and that too much syncopation drives listeners to reevaluate the meter, shifting the inferred pulse phase to yield a less-syncopated rhythmic interpretation Patel et al.

This makes the pervasive use of syncopation in many styles of dance music a central puzzle in rhythmic cognition. I hypothesize that this mystery can be readily solved if we enlarge the scope of inquiry to incorporate movement and dance. The first prerequisite of a grooving rhythm is that it establishes a clear and consistent meter, where both the pulse defining the tempo of movement and meter which will determine where the dancers initiate and terminate their periodic movement cycles are evident to the listeners Fitch, a.

This will result in footfalls synchronized to the downbeat.


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However, successful syncopated rhythms add acoustic energy on upbeats, when the legs or limbs, or whole body are moving upward, between the downbeats. More technically, by adding acoustic energy to phases in the movement cycle where movements are directed away from gravity, syncopation makes the dancer feel these upward movement components as coherent with the musical surface.

This anticipatory offbeat typically coincides with, and is presumably originally derived from, a low open tone on the conga drum a distinct pattern that is also known as tumbao , yielding a strongly syncopated musical surface.


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  8. This is in sharp contrast to some other popular Afro-Caribbean rhythms, such as merengue , which have a much clearer and unsyncopated bass line, and are thus much easier for beginners to dance too Moore, Salsa dance and syncopation. To those unfamiliar with salsa music, this concentration of low-frequency energy on offbeats makes it a challenge to even locate the downbeat cognitively although other instruments, including both vocals and percussion, make the meter clear nonetheless.

    Thus, I suggest that syncopations—on their face violations of meter that should create cognitive dissonance—make perfect sense from the viewpoint of a dancing listener. Looked at from a purely musical, cognitive viewpoint, and divorced from movement, syncopation seems almost perverse, and the popular success of syncopated dance styles appears mysterious. But viewed from the cognitive perspective of the dance floor, I suggest that syncopations of various types can be very naturally interpreted as emphases of components of the dance other than the plodding downbeat.

    One can readily imagine that Adorno never personally experienced the contagious energy and excitement of being part of a roomful of swing dancers doing the Lindy hop. If we accept the premise that many forms of music find their rhythmic and metrical origins in a symbiotic relationship to corresponding dance styles, we are led to ask why musical genres and dance styles often show a historical tendency to diverge from one another. Even jazz, a genre whose origins as dance music are historically undeniable Crease, , is more likely today to be enjoyed by quietly seated listeners than by a roomful of dancers.

    Jazz provides a very clear and well-documented example of this phenomenon. From its ragtime origins through to the swing era, jazz was closely associated with dancing Southern, ; Gioia, Swing dancing capitalized on a newly respectable dancehall phenomenon that started with the foxtrot to rapidly become both the musical and dance style of the entire USA Stephenson and Iaccarino, ; Crease, But there were moves to separate jazz music from dancing quite early on.

    This concert was intended to show that jazz had risen above its southern black roots and was ready to ascend to the level of serious, educated urban music Crease, It seems clear that one can enjoy any form of music without actively dancing to it, including those like waltz, jazz or salsa that have their origins as dance music. Like most Bach fans, I certainly enjoy his French Suites, and many other classic works, without knowing how to dance a gigue. Nonetheless, I had listened to jazz for many years before learning to dance swing, and I certainly feel that this experience enriched my cognitive experience of this style even in its more rarified forms, like Gershwin or Miles Davis.

    Similarly, until I learned to dance salsa in a one-room shack in the middle of a Puerto Rican sugarcane field, incidentally , I truly had no concept of what salsa music was about. Perhaps my experience of Bach would be similarly enriched by learning to dance the sarabande. At a minimum, if we want to understand the rhythmic origins of a musical style, it behooves us to know how contemporaries would have moved to that music. Noetic presented the findings to my senior management not long ago.

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    Research officer, A-Quantifiers and Scope in Mayali. Partee items Quantification in Natural Languages. Towards a thatcould of Natural Logic. Partee sediments Quantification in Natural Languages. Rhesus monkeys Macaca mulatta detect rhythmic groups in music, but not the beat. Without it no music: beat induction as a fundamental musical trait. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, , 85— Cognition and the Evolution of Music: Pitfalls and Prospects. On the growing role of observation, formalization and experimental method in musicology.

    Computational modeling of music cognition: a case study on model selection. Music Perception.

    Seriously Enjoyable Music Learning with Shelle Soelberg: The Musicality Podcast

    Winkler, I. Newborn infants detect the beat in music. Page 2 of 4 Books and book chapters selection nd Honing, H. Musical Cognition.

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    Pdf The Illiterate Listener On Music Cognition Musicality And Methodology

    A Science of Listening, 2 edition. New Brunswick, N. The structure and interpretation of rhythm in music. In Deutsch, D. London: Academic Press.

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    Multiple Levels of Structure in Language and Music. Arbib Ed. Cambridge, MA. Op zoek naar wat ons muzikale dieren maakt. Nieuw Amsterdam Uitgevers. The illiterate listener.