I've been watching a lot of the TV series "Hip Hop Evolution" on Netflix over the past few weeks to help me fill in a few gaps in my knowledge of the genre (and there were some LARGE gaps) and it has me thinking about the way we can construct deliberate rhythms with our words. One of the exercises I do with students who are starting to do more rhythm-based improvisation is to ask them what they had for lunch today. For example, today I had cheese, tomato and tuna on crackers.
Then, I'll take that meal and break it in to its individual syllables: Cheese, to-ma-to and tu-na on cra-ckers.
As I repeat those words out loud, it starts to build a natural rhythm. "Cheese" is a longer note, "to-ma-to" is three short notes, "and" is longer than the syllables in tomato but shorter than "cheese", "tu-na" is the same speed as the syllables in "tomato" before finishing with three slightly longer syllables for "on cra-ckers".
Lining it up to a grid with counting, it looks like this:
So, if you're ever on the hunt for some rhythmic inspiration, just look at the last thing you ate!
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: