Music: 04 Rhythmic Innovations

Adventures in Music

Dave Brubeck
(Cover by Artzybasheff)

One of the things about “bad” music that drives me up the wall is unimaginative rhythm… boom, boom, boom… everything on the same beat… sequencers repeating the same simple patterns over and over again with no variation. It’s downright inhuman. That said, most popular music from the past 100 years or so seems to invariably fall into standard 4/4 time. The interest is created by the way the musicians work around that familiar beat.

But some musicians go further… In rock music, Frank Zappa experimented with all kinds of time signatures and musical forms. In Jazz, the innovator of this unique concept was Dave Brubeck. Brubeck’s album “Time Out” had music in a variety of time signatures, none of them typical. It’s probably his most famous album- odds are you already have it.

Dave Brubeck Quartet (with Paul Desmond) live in Belgium 1964

Animators can fall into rhythmic ruts too. It’s hard to create a spontaneous and textured performance by plugging together the same old formulas over and over. Some of the most original animators, like Jim Tyer, never approached the same action or pose the same way twice in their entire career. For them, forcing themselves to do something they had already done before was impossible.

If you love jazz as much as I do, get over to Amazon and get a pile of the Naxos Jazz Icons DVDs. They’re incredible.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

3 Responses to “Music: 04 Rhythmic Innovations”

  1. Eleanor says:

    Thank you for making these wonderful clips available! I am a third-stream jazz musician (originally trained in classical music), and lived throughthe times of many of the clips you have thankfully saved. Thank you for having the foresight to keep these for future generations.

  2. Anony says:

    It’s not an okay thing to do to like ‘bad’ music. Allow me to elaborate: it is impossible to be a good artist or animator in any sense if you like stuff like M83, Rush, Reel Big Fish, etc. Music forms the very fabric of your being. If you listen to music that sucks, you will suck too. It is important to listen to good music like stuff from the 20s. I mean, that’s what all the good artists back in the day listened to. If you match your tastes to their’s, you will be like them. I suggest all you young aspiring artists clean your fancy iPods now. Remove anything that was made after 1957, now.

  3. Michael says:

    I’m gonna disagree with that last statement you made, Anon. There’s plenty of good music from after 1957 (Frank Zappa, Ennio Morricone, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Miles Davis’ Jazz fusion era material, Philip Glass, Tom Waits, Can, etc.). I do agree that aspiring artists should be well versed with music from before their time. Most of the music that’s been important to my development as an artist came well before I was even born (I’m 21 for the record). The thing is that most people don’t really have an interest in what came before their time. The gap between generations sometimes makes it hard for them to relate. There are other problems involved, but I feel the generational distance is the biggest part to it. We just need to figure out a remedy for the dissociation people have with older things.

    On a side note, Brubeck’s Time Out came out in ’59 so I don’t know if you want to throw that out or not.

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