Energies: Time

The first step towards defining new criteria for craft 1 is to establish the criteria of composition.

Context provides meaning. Much in the way a composition’s key determines its note-relations, its time signature determines its feel. This latter determination is where things get interesting for me as a drummer.

Hayden Carruth, in an essay on writing poetry in syllabics, sums up the situation most tidily: if a poetic line is bound to a specified number of syllables, it is, within that limitation, free to contain any number of stresses, any meter, any number of words, as long as it conforms to the syllabic proscription.

So it is, more or less, with time signatures. If one is drumming in 4/4 time, the only limitation is that the measure is derived from 4 equally distributed quarter notes. Within this measure, one can play any combination of notes on any part of the kit, bearing in mind that in any event, one must start over in a total of 4 beats.

This is rhythm.


  1. I continue to sweat the term craft because I believe it to be a generally-accepted term whose use describes the favorable degree of a piece of music’s  energy generation, distribution, and sustainment.

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