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Music is an Old Way of Life

Apr 26, 2008
Percussion is the oldest form of music known to man. From the historic drum of the human heart to the archaic animal pelt drums of our ancestors, the primal beat of the drum stirs something ancient within our souls which can urge us on to dance, groove, or psyche us up to perform extraordinary feats.

The most prehistoric use of rhythm was to send our ancestors into a trance in order to procure a vision or reach a state of poetical flow to deliver stories of tribal lore and tales of life and to communicate over long distances between tribes. Not much has changed over the ages.

Although beats are now heard behind more modern and complicated instruments and covered with sonic production qualities from recording studios they have still maintained the same basic qualities and serve the same basic functions, to put us into a trance and achieve a poetical flow and to communicate over long distances. The poetical flow now takes the form of rap or singing, and the tales of life and "tribal lore" forms the lyrics. Long distance communication involves sending CD's over the world. But at the beating heart of the matter it's still the same as it was in the jungle.

So how can you use this information to create beats of your own?

Well keep in mind the basic fact that the beat is used to create a mood and feeling in the listener which will convey the emotion of the musicians.

The art of percussion is the art of manipulating time.

The rhythm of life is a powerful beat! Basically what you are trying to communicate through a beat is little pieces of transmitted life. As such, you have to capture life within you so that you can transmit it out through your music.

The only way to do this is to get out there! Experience life! Get yourself into as many situations as you can. Note how you feel, observe the beating of your heart when you are excited, when you are sad, when you are scared, when you are relaxed and happy.

Great musicians have the ability to create these same feelings in their listeners through their music.

Take your time!

As a percussionist you form the back bone of the song. As such, the soul that you put into your beat is going to radiate throughout the whole song.

If the same vibe is flowing through all the musicians the music will come out flowing and naturally. If there are disparate clashes of ego throughout the band perhaps it is time to regroup. Strongly opposite emotions are like to create clash within the music. Although sometimes this clash is the basis for the greatest music!

Basically the soundest advice is to put soul and life into your beats. These aspects radiate universally throughout the music into peoples hearts no matter what your level of technicality is.
About the Author
Ant Onaf is a content producer in association with LearnClubDance.com (http://www.learnclubdance.com), a online retailer of instructional dance videos
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