Marc Etlin: Give arrhythmia a chance
I thought the main part of Annie B's argument was about non-rhythm, the arrhythmic. The point wasn't to consider what rhythm is, but the thing that isn't it, and that thing's merit. It's a similar question to the harmony versus dissonance debate in music, although pretty much everyone now agrees on their intertwining. I think it's much better to think of these conceptual poles as tendencies rather than ideals to be upheld.
When rhythm is considered tonally, the aberrations from harmony and the rhythmic tendency imbricate one another. For example, John Cage's "String Quartet in Four Parts" exhibits an inharmonic tendency that orients the listener to find rhythms. James Pritchett's liner notes to the Mode recording of the Arditti Quartet's performance describes it well:
In the quartet, each chord is expressed all by itself, and the power of harmony is neutralized by Cage's having refused to connect them, by having his remained silent in the spaces between chords. Although not including extensive silences (those would appear in his music soon thereafter), the quartet provided Cage with the compositional silence he sought: a freedom from the need to place sounds into compelling relationships.
The non-relationships make for compelling listening--a pensive, melancholic plodding like falling into the pipes in a Mario Brothers video game.
Annie-B--from your perspective, does dance have analogous operations? or is movement absolutely singular in some respect we haven't discussed yet?
[editor's note: Marc Etlin is a dramaturg and playwright in untraditional theatre. He lives in New York.]
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Joe Horowitz on music
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary