The Different Resounding Beats

Have you ever thought of music as being colorful? There is a rare condition called synesthesia where people claim that different sounds produce a particular color they can visually see.  In music theory, the color or tone is the sound quality of a musical note, so-called by the way the sound is produced (e.g., voice and musical instruments).

Sounds like knock, tap, stomp, clap, snap, and pat, all mean to strike an object and produce a sound; however, their tones are different from one another.  Try each sound and see if you can hear the difference. Pun intended.

  • Knock

to strike a sounding blow with the fist or knuckles

  • Tap

to strike with light but audible blows

  • Stomp

to drive the rhythm with a fast tempo

  • Clap

to strike the palms of one’s hands against one another

  • Snap

to make a sudden sharp sound

  • Pat

to strike lightly or gently with something flat

Composition of Rhythm

A song is composed with beat levels, which means there are multiple patterns of beats playing simultaneously.  Developing a musical ear that is drawn to the pitch (how high or low a note is) and the sound quality of beats will help you, the listener, identify rhythms and each one from another.

Rhythm is a metrical structure that is built by adding beats to a measure in a particular arrangement (i.e., duple, triple, quadruple) for a specific amount of time.  Other patterns are stacked on top of this one.  These patterns run through the song horizontally and vertically and give music its dimensional sound.

Stepping is a dance form whereby different sounds are made by the dancer through use of the hands, feet, body, and floor, or other objects.  In most step performances, the step is arranged to sound like music as different steppers play multiple rhythms to a common beat.

Teachers are looked at awkwardly when they ‘tap – boom-boom snap’ all over the place.  Laurieann Gibson is even known for saying ‘bookack.’  It’s simply speaking the word corresponding to the sound heard, aloud, and in the pattern it’s heard.  It lets the dancer know there is an accent there.  It also makes the rhythm easy to memorize and replicate.

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