The bar as one, Allegro – Blasco de Nebra.
One of the hardest things when explaining time and rhythm to a student is the bar: it’s function other than the visual structure on the page. What does it do, what does it actually keep together? A number of beats, yes, but what does that “do” when playing the music?
When playing a waltz it becomes quite clear the “1-2-3”, the “oom-pa-pa” is one thing, one entity which we could actually feel and count as “one”, one sway. The bar as one.
Try if you can hear this in my recording of the Allegro in 3/4, the second movement from the C minor sonata by Manuel Blasco de Nebra , the “Spanish Scarlatti”.
The first movement of this Sonata, Adagio, is in the previous blog.
Thinking the notion of the bar as one further two things come to mind: movement and energy. To me in a bar after the first beat the energy builds up to be released on the first beat of the next bar, then building up again and so on.
Which in my mind makes the bigger part of a bar feel like an upbeat for the next one. Thus creating a wavelike movement pushing the music ahead.
The wheel keeps turning.
So in 4/4 it would feel more like: .
Mind you: this is about rhythmic energy not dynamics!
I’m very eager to know what other musicians, both pro’s and laymen, think of this concept: does it sound peculiar or is it a common thing to you?
Please add your comments below!
Apart from trying to play while thinking the bar as one I used this recording to experiment playing with a Soundbrenner Pulse metronome: a big watch which vibrates (like a smartphone) at the set pulse. My tempo was set to 39 for the bar which makes 117 for the crotchet. At some points you may hear a little discomfort in my playing, wanting to speed up or slow down but being held by the Big Watch 😉 .