[rhythm] constantly shifting

Just as culture is underdetermined by (vulgar) economics, and metaphor underdetermined by syntax, rhythm as a special case of ontogenesis and individuation is underdetermined by meter.   This is too abstract.   So, listen for the constantly shifting rhythms between the sound, the breathing, the tensions in the performing body which you feel if you’ve learned play the instrument, against the regular meter.

• Sainkho Namtchylak 
Night Birds (1992)
The longing and elasticity of this is not the same as metric regularity.

• A moving interpretation of the Bach Chaconne performed recently by a friend’s daughter Taiga (Ultan) on flute (starting at 3:08)

Listen for how she must negotiate her breathing against the uninterrupted singing line.   The Chaconne is a masterwork of implied voices.  For the violinist it’s already a great challenge to suggest and carry multipleimplied voices sliding across each other with shifting forces (rhythm!).  It’s an even greater challenge for the breathing flutist.  This young performer accomplishes it with sensitivity. 

( To hear one of the most wonderful performances of this in canonical form — for solo violin: Itzhak Perlman. )

•  Brahms : String Quartet No.1 In C Minor Op.51 No.1 - 1. Allegro ( Emerson String Quartet)

Listen for the elasticity which emerges from the interplay of swelling and fading voices, and the constantly shifting accenting (on top of the metric pulse)  The metric is a background grid that does not (and ought not) constrain the continuous multivalent shifts to fixed discrete choices.

• Example: In Mathematica: Play[|Riemann zeta function|]
This sounds totally otherworldly, not self-similar !, not predictable and not random!!

Multiscale self-similarity — “fractals”in pop literature — is just recursive regularity.   Pavan has some subtle ideas, based on dynamical systems theory, about signatures of human intention in movement, that are neither simple sums of periodic functions nor uniformly random processes.   There are connections between those ideas and spectral theory of operators, I think.  Worth discussion at multiple registers, artistic/ expressive, philosophical, as well as mathematical!

Adam, Pavan, PM me if you’d be ok with being added to this personal rhythm email list…

Xin Wei