Exchanging views stemming from comments to our recent post on music appreciation , ‘speed’ came up, which flashed me back to a chat I had with Rhythmic when he was here some months ago.

We were captive audience to a troupe of dancers and drummers that suddenly appeared whilst we were having a few pre-dinner drinks with Mala at a Colombo hotel of RD’s choice. As expected, RD was taken by the drumming and proceeded to ask about various aspects. Fortunately I have a smattering of knowledge on the subject due to exposure to The Dancer’s realm and gave RD a brief rundown on the types of indigenous drums and that. He then asked about the particular performers and if I considered them to be ‘good’. And so I told him what The Dancer’s father had passed on to me regarding drummers. It was to do with the ‘space’ or ‘time’ between the beat.

So the way I see it, is that the quality of the drummer is determined by the speed combined with the precision that allows a definite and discernible space between each beat – however fast. Some drummers (and guitarists, for that matter) can be ultra-fast, but if really listened to with a discerning ear, the precision (or lack of it) will be apparent. And that, to me, is the measure of the musician’s ability and that which separates the good ones from the exceptional.

As Java postulated:

Heey maan, would there be rhythm without the space between the beat?

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