Beat-Division-Multiple Series in 4/4

Here’s the series we did at the end of today’s drop-in class. It is somewhat of a classic. It’s in simple quadruple time (for example, 4/4). One measure of beats, one measure twice as fast, another measure of beats, one measure twice as slow. In 4/4, then, it would be 4 quarters/8 eighths/4 quarter/2 half notes.

Try it in canon between the feet and hands (drum is nice here); left and right; hands and voice; piano and voice, etc.

In this recording, I play the basic pattern once through, then twice through in canon. The left hand follows the right. We usually associate the right hand with the hands, and the left hand with the feet. In my own practice, I tried to loosen the iron grip of this association by doing it as the reverse. I was only partially successful!

This is just one example of a series with basic pulse levels. Why not make up your own? Change the meter or the tempo. Better yet, improvise the canon. For an added challenge, try a three part canon: feet/hands/voice. All of that should keep you busy. For best results, I like to precede this kind of technical stuff with enough juicy, free, open movement to grease the wheels (sorry, mixing metaphors again) before heading down this thorny path.


Open Level Drop-in class for February and March has begun. See the “Dalcroze Annex” in the menu at the left to find out how to join us.

Also starting this week is another round of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Solfège, Improvisation and Pedagogy at the Kaufman Center.

Please join me for some fun. And who doesn’t like fun?

Dalcroze · Practice

Beat, division and multiple: an inhibition game

Here is a classic Dalcroze “Inhibition” game. Step and gesture or lightly clap simultaneously. At “feet” stop the feet. When you hear “feet” again, start the feet. Likewise with the signal “hands”. You might try improvising this without the recording at first, calling your own starts and stops. You can simply move the beat, or you can experiment with combinations of durations and patterns. On the recording, I take the mover through different combinations of the beat (the basic pulse), multiples of the beat (durations longer than one beat) and divisions of the beat (durations shorter than the beat). You can: simply aim to start and stop the feet and hands at the right time; aim to match the durations you hear from the piano; improvise your own rhythm patterns but let either feet or hands to match the music; start and stop the feet at the right time, but completely improvise the rhythm of your movement.

For good movement, use the longer durations to keep your weight moving through space (i.e. not just putting a foot down at the beginning of the note and stopping). Make full use of the space above, behind, to the sides, etc. for your upper body (i.e. keep the hands moving through each phrase).