Saturday, November 19, 2011

Re: Peter Unconscious rhythm

In his latest post Peter, asked if rhythm is unconscious.
I would say that rhythm is unconscious to an extent. When it comes to intentionally writing a piece of music, rhythm would be conscious. Yet, the unconscious would still play a role. Like Peter pointed out, we had to get those ideas from somewhere. Yet, you are consciously accepting or rejecting the thoughts and ideas that come into your mind. Also, you may have unconsiously altered the the unconscious source of rhythm.
Yes, walking and typing is rhythmic, in fact when students first learned how to use a typewriter (back in the day) they did so to music. Yet, I'll argue that rhythm, whether it be unconscious or from a voluntary thought process, all goes back to organization. In music, rhythm holds everything together and distinguishes the meter. We do not like atonal music because it is not organized. In our daily actions, our brain may very well be rhythmic because that is its way of being organized. Our muscle movements are rhythmic because of the signals they get from the brain and due to the refractory periods between synapses (period before a signal can fire again). That is why we can only move our arms so fast.
To add in a little developmental psychology, rhythmicity is a type of temperament. Temperaments are personality traits that we have starting from birth that are carried out through the rest of our lives (although they may change). A rhythmic infant would be one that gets hungry the same time everyday, has the same nap schedule, and same diaper changing schedule as well. When we get older this tempernment translates to eatting, showering, using the restroom, sleeping around the same time everyday, and scheduling as well. Our daily events are even rhythmic, we make schedules to keep ourselves organized and this also may be due to memory, it is easier to remember to do something if we do it everyday. We even have patterns with in our rhymic activites like the order we do things in. You may brush your teeth before you shower for example. Since rhythm is a temperament this is evidence to the fact that these rhythmic components are at least somewhat innate.
Our biology, machines, and even the revolution of the earth and solar system are rhythmic. Yet what would it be like if they were not? I cannot even imagine. Perhaps we have evolved to be rhythmic in our thoughts, actions, and creations because of the earth's rhythm. Questions: Is that idea farfetched? What events or objects in life are not rhythmic?