Music Medicine – Exploring Rhythm

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In one of my favorite books about sound healing; Music Medicine – Christine Stevens tells us that Rhythm is medicine for the body.

Rhythm organizes time and sets the beat allowing all the other musical elements to coexist. Pulse, Tempo and duration (time) are the aspects of rhythm that move music along. Rhythm moves us.

According to Author Christine Stevens, in her book entitled, “Music Medicine” There are many rhythms in life, but there are four in particular, that define the movement of life:

  • Heartbeat – the primal mother of rhythm and the first sound we hear. Remember our ears are the first sense organs to develop in the womb.
  • Breath – We each have a natural balanced breath cycle, the rhythm of our inhale and exhale is innate and requires connects us with life itself. We have already studied the breath extensively in June when we learned how to listen to the breath and breath awareness as a mindfulness practice
  • Walking – walking is a two-beat process, a double beat or duple meter is how we describe this sense of linear forward movement. In the upbeat, we are lifted off the ground, moving forward, while on the downbeat, we are grounded again with mother earth. She describes the walking rhythm as masculine and staccato.
  • Rocking- Stevens describes this rhythm as a moving back, feminine and soothing rhythm. This is a triple meter rhythm popular in many world beats such as African and Rhythm. When I think of a rocking rhythm, I picture swing dancers with their circular, flowing, undulating movements.

“Life’s rhythms do not exist separately, they are woven together in a multi-tasking groove of polyrhythm, a word that means many rhythms. The art of polyrhythm is felt in the way two different rhythms coexist and ultimately come together. Even in a composition of seemingly different beats, there is a periodic alignment, much like with our body rhythms. The duple meter of the walking beat and the triple meter of the rocking beat line up every twelfth beat, creating a reverberating “one” where the pulse is felt the strongest, an underlying consistent pulse ties them all together.

Christine Stevens-Music Medicine

Over the next 8 weeks we are going to dive deep into the concept of rhythm in order to fully understand and explore this medicine for the body and how the concept of polyrhythm can be applied to our lives.

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