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Monday, March 14

When rhythmic sounds of shared daily work disappear. Hanging onto our humanity, Part 1

“Rhythm facilitates people interacting by synchronizing brain waves and boosting performance of perception of what the other person is saying and doing at a particular point in time.” Rhythm, whether the lyrics to a song or the meter of a poem facilitates language processing, she concludes, and she is now undertaking new experiments to further test this idea. “When people move in synchrony they are more likely to perceive the world in synchrony, so that would facilitate their ability to interact.”

-- From The Power of Music: Mind Control by Rhythmic Sound by R. Douglas Fields; Scientific American guest blog; October 19, 2012

The above article isn't what I was looking for to introduce what I'm struggling to articulate but it will have to do for now. I'm thinking of audible rhythm not in terms of music per se but whether it serves as the basis for the shared expression of emotion.

Take a look at the first 6 minutes of the following video, from FOLI, an incredible 10 minute film by two Europeans, Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg. It focuses on documenting rhythmic work sounds in an African village; e.g., threshing, pounding grain into flour, and how this relates to drumming -- and human language. From Roebers' introduction at YouTube:
"Life has a rhythm, it's constantly moving. The word for rhythm (used by the Malinke tribes) is FOLI. It is a word that encompasses so much more than drumming, dancing or sound. It's found in every part of daily life. In this film you not only hear and feel rhythm but you see it. It's an extraordinary blend of image and sound that feeds the senses and reminds us all how essential it is."


Two more examples of rhythmic sounds and their connection to human communication:  

"Rock Island" - cadenced dialogue with sounds of steam-engine train providing rhythm 
Opening scene from The Music Man - 3:30 minutes


"Loves Me Like A Rock" - song with sounds of moving scissors, electric razor, hand clapping providing rhythm - Scene from The Fighting Temptations (O'Jays singing group)  2:32 minutes 




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