We can compare the beat with the heartbeat or with clocks that regularly indicate the time. The beating of our hearts are usually as regular as a clockwork.
If you need to accelerate the beat for some reason, for example when you run, it suffers a progressive acceleration.
The Music beat is the 'engine' that keeps Music in its regularity. It is an empty box where we will place the notes in the style of a cabinet with pigeonholes where we place different objects.
Beat is usually stable throughout the piece, but it can change over time and it can happen gradually (accelerating or decelerating) or suddenly.
Rhythm is usually the most striking element of the music. Even in complex music, if the rhythm is outstanding, we will follow its patterns.
Routine is a biorhythm (the scientific discipline that studies that is called chronobiology) that is based on regularity. We usually do the same things without changing the order.
Everything in nature has its rhythm: night follows day, there are four seasons, two tides, the moon goes around the earth every twenty-eight days and the Earth goes around the Sun in one year.
Day and Night
Beat generates a movement or "tempo" that can be fast, medium or slow.
To refer to it we employ a series of Italian expressions or metronome marks, which is specified with a rhythmic figure associated to the number of beats per minute that we are intended to do to play the piece at the optimal speed.
A metronome is a device that measures the beat regularly with a handle that swings from right to left producing a characteristic click. That sound is called 'clap' and helps musicians rehearsing at the appropriate tempo.
Composers have tried to be creative with beats and rhythms, but the public is not always too accustomed to changing rhythms and enjoys more what it already knows than any avant-garde development.
Yet, composers seek to build their original forms even when they work in the same styles as the other composers.
However, the musician is able to play parts with irregular beats and shifting rhythms, often considered as proofs of his mastery.
Any change in the rhythm is very striking and can be used to adapt it to the complexity of human activity, such as the work songs we have already learn of.
Any task is more enjoyable if we match the accents of the music with repetitive movements of an artisan or manual activity. A work song fits the complexity of human activity and helps in making the task more bearable.
The difference between rhythm and beat is that beats are regular, while rhythm is composed with a variety of figures.
Consider the beat as an empty box and rhythm as the content we fill with. The continent is always the same, but what we put on it can be very varied.
Rhythm consists of short and long elements, that are also subdivided into smaller elements. These elements are called rhythmic figures.
An ostinato is a rhythm (more specifically, a phrase) that is repeated insistently, hence the 'stubborn' gag in the title.
Although looking rather rudimentary, ostinatos are one of the elements that are most appreciated by general public and they help to create a sense of form.
Contemporary Music was torn between the need to avoid repetition (Integral Serialism, for example) and the constant repetition (Minimalism).
Music without Repetition: Anton Webern Symphonie op.21
Music with Repetition: John Adams - Phrygian Gates (1997)
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