Composition: Challenges in Time and Rhythm

During the fifth week of classes it dawned on me that I have an affinity towards 3/8 time and 5/4 time—the exact opposite of the two meters we worked in for our first couple assignments. At the time of the assignments, I was completely unaware of my subconscious desire to move through a slow, swingy five and a quick demanding three, as opposed to a fast five and a slow three. This explained my craving to split the fives into several subdivisions—in 5/4 time dividing measures beyond the down beat is reasonable, whereas in 5/8 time it is practically impossible. I cannot help but wish I had made this connection earlier. Being aware of the root of my frustration would have allowed me to address it and change my attitude towards the work I did. Regardless, this information will help me in the future. Working in meters that oppose my tendencies will likely strengthen my ability to work in those I have an affinity for.

I also had a consistent internal conflict about the importance, but tedium of defining the one in every measure. On one hand, my interest in translating meter through movement without music demanded a continual emphasis on the one. Alternatively, I loathed the rhythm produced by always accenting the one. Furthermore, I despised how difficult it was to accent other beats in the measure without distracting from the one, and therefore making the meter illegible. About halfway through my choreographic process, I concluded that the best way to work in this situation was to let one side win the debate in my mind. I told myself that making the meter legible was simply the most important task of this assignment, and that I was not allowed to focus on anything else. Although I may never use this skill in a choreographic process in which I get to make my own decisions, it is probably the one of the most useful tools fathomable in a classroom environment. Being able to acknowledge opposition to the prompt without expressing or applying it is imperative in so many contexts, especially as a student.

 

 

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