11.24.2004

More thoughts on Vinnie Colaiuta


It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I should write up something pre-Thanksgiving to send out a thought or two. I was thinking back to the days when I had music theory and how everything was analyzed and certain chord progressions have a "quality" to them that makes them pleasing or unpleasing. This made me wonder what is quality that makes a drum beat sound good? What is the quality of certain ryhthms played together that makes them sound so good? This seems to be a hard quesion to answer. I don't know of any study on the brain's reactions to certain rhythmic figures played. Why is it that 4/4 sounds so .........right. I realize that the nature of a measure of 4/4 is equal and resolute, but why is it that resolution is engrained into the human mind?

To further complicate things, if we look at complex rhythmic figures like polyrhythms and metric modulation (See this for a good example of rhythmic possibilities)another question comes to mind. Where is rhythm processed in the brain? I wonder if 4/4 and even -numbered figures are processed in a different area? Here is one interesting quote from an article:
"One early result from the Harvard study shows that children's brains process rhythm differently than melody. Brain scans from 34 of the children show that melody tends to be processed in the brain's right hemisphere, while rhythm is processed in the left hemisphere, says Katie Overy, a researcher at Harvard Medical School."

What does this have to do with Vinnie Colaiuta? Well, he seems to have a quality to the way he plays. Part of that quality comes from training and professional skills, but I wonder if there is an inherent ability that was built in or acquired? These questions may seem silly; after all, I just want to be a better drummer.

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