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Rhythm Ownership
6 August 2009, 8:36 AM
Filed under: Editorial, Tags: ,

I’ve always wonder about rhythm and music ownership. A drummer, a performer a musician might perform for the crowd, but this is ultimately a mistake. An artist at any level and age should perform for himself regardless of what other people say. Sure, some people are crowd pleasers, but that doesn’t change the fact about why there’s an intention for music or art from the artist in the first place.
The rhythm ownership then is subject to what type of property law? Since we are born, everything carries a name tag on the side, the hospital you were deliver, the bed where your mother gave birth, the watch the delivery doctor was wearing to calculate your contractions, the flowers that were given to your family when you cried for the first time in this earth.
A rhythm is a different manner, to own it, you have to conquer it first, and this might just be for an instance.
No ownership is more fragile than the music one, once you stop there’s no rhythm, no music, no nothing. Many can come behind you, and even play the exact same phrase but it’s never the same, as with our fingerprints, those expressions are unique and irreproducible.
Is the music yours? Does it belong to your listeners? Are the sound waves carved with your copyright infringement on them ??

Yesterday I went to the full moon drum circle in 79th and Collins, I’m not sure why but everyone thinks they own the place. While playing with Angelo, and playing in ‘threes’, something many drummers are not comfortable with, an old guy feels important enough to interrupt everyone and tells me to ‘hear’ the other drummers. Well, that precisely what I was doing, even with only 4 people playing. He went on to say that I wasn’t playing musically, mind you he was playing a single egg shaker, and that gave him the authority to interrupt everyone to tell them what to do.
I’ve never consider myself an expert drummer, I ain’t that good and even If I were I wouldn’t call myself that, but why someone without any idea decides what’s music and what’s not? Not only to find an extra set of drunk people that would pretend to tell you what to play… Those are the worst, while you’re playing the approach you with their current DUI and exclamate loudly to your ear the rhythm combination they’re expecting you to play.
I’m sorry Mr aficionado, but the answer is no. Never again. No drum no say, It’s that easy. Unless you’re invited to play on my drum, get the hell away from it, and from me too…
I see it this way:
Drummers play for themselves, and for fellow drummers. Dancers are an extra that’s always welcome and appreciated – It means that what you’re playing is good enough for someone to dance to – like a plan that blossoms and shares its flowers to you.

Nobody owns the rhythm, it’s as simple as that. Nobody owns the drum circle. You might send an email to remind people about it, but that’s it, not even when you get an illegal vendor selling wraps in the middle of the night at the beach.
Ownership is a complicated issue…

This weekend:
Broward drumcircle, Hollywood drm circle and the last Matthew Hill class at Miami beach

4 Comments to “Rhythm Ownership”

  1. Gervasio says:

    Wow … that is just outrageous ! I can’t believe someone could even do that type of thing at a drum circle. Not even in the most amateur jam session or drum circle I would even think of doing something like that. It obviously shows that there is not musicianship or experience in that fellow. That being said- you will always find people that don’t belong or that do those out of place comments in public places.

    I agree with you … music can’t be really owned. An artists should play for himself and if he is musical enough he may please the crowd ( but that is not the goal of a true artist.

  2. I personally prefer it when soemone does take the lead and all the drummers follow. I think that it changes the drum/full-moon experience when people are just doing their own thing. When we all drum in rhythm…in harmony, it creates a unified energy and for me, a transcendent and even a mystical space….which is also sacred.

    But, hey…that’s my experience and opinion. Do I want to share a drum circle with someone who is performing just for himself? No, not in a drum circle. I may go and watch him perform in some other venue. I have had the idea for awhile now of organizing a group of drummers who are more into the spiritual aspects of drumming.

  3. You ran into him too? The guy who, in his own mind, was leading the whole thing, making the groove happen, the center of everyone’s attention and the object of the entire groups admiration and respect? After this last full moon, I’m ready to drum somewhere else for the next one and leave that part of the beach to the drinkers & stoners. Let them have a drum circle with their egg shakers.

  4. Property is slavery is my motto.
    I was watch’n that drama unfold. I know he was out’ta line.
    After I asked you “who is this guy” and you told me you had no idea. He came and introduced himself as a friend of Happy’s. Guess he was at FMDC eve. on 79th. Very different vibe.
    I try to tolerate those who just haven’t learned. But, he was out’ta line. when I arrived, there were maybe two players and 200 or more waiting for their late night evening Rhythm prostitutes.
    When a few other players showed, I asked some of the loungers to make room for the players and was partially successful. It was decent for a bit. Better than I expected from this spot but a few of the drum core showed this time. I know, I and others have been skip’n this DC cuz of the crowds and other issues. Been do’n the FMDC eve regular and that’s ok.
    I like the “undisclosed location” or “moving the location”
    or The Location Movement.
    Pick a spot to start the Rhythm and start the location movement. The vendors, lurkers, Jr. High Ravers, will just have to find us and follow along.
    The location will always be undisclosed cuz it moves. How cool is that.

    I’ll let you know where to start when I figure out how to walk and play at the same time. I’m still work’n on that part.

    Tom Waits, it fits.

    “Well I got here at eight and I’ll be here till two
    I’ll try my best to entertain you
    And please don’t mind me if I get a bit crude
    I’m your late night evening prostitute

    So drink your Martinis and stare at the moon
    Don’t mind me I’ll continue to croon
    And don’t mind me if I get a bit lewd
    I’m your late night evening prostitute

    And dance, have a good time
    I’ll continue to shine
    Yes dance, have a good time
    Don’t mind me if I slip upon a rhyme

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