For the past few months, Junkii and I have been picking up extra fitness classes – in particular, a class called BodyPump. Pump is a weights-based program that basically requires you to lift weights to music. All the music is similar – it has a very strong beat and it has four beats per measure. That’s as simple as music gets.
And yet, despite how clearly demarcated that rhythm is, a huge number of people – participants and instructors alike – can’t seem to stay on the beat. It’s frustrating…especially when it’s an instructor.
It has actually become a source of exasperation for Junkii, who has been checking out different clubs and instructors across the city. He’s reporting a high percentage of instructors that have no rhythm. Luckily, we have our favorite instructors who all know what they’re doing. But new instructors are screened for their skill, and they’re still getting accredited! How is this possible?
I recently went to a class and started to notice that participants are just as bad, if not worse. If an instructor makes a mistake, the bulk of the class can’t seem to get back on beat without help. It’s really quite sad.
I’ve taken rhythm for granted. I may not be a dancer, but I do have a steady sense of timing when it comes to music.
Well, today, I’m feeling surly and cynical – and I’m making a conclusion based on this general lack of rhythm. I’m blaming it for the sad state of popular music – which seems to have become utterly simplistic – and the rise of HipHop.
I have almost no respect for HipHop – which generally (and there are exceptions) is nothing more than a strong beat (or worse, a good song that’s been raped) with a few rhymes added on top. Apparently music DOES get simpler!
You’d have a difficult time trying to convince me that the bulk of HipHop offers anything more than a beat you can dance to. Hell, most of it doesn’t even TRY to include a melody line, let alone harmony. But given how difficult it is for people to follow even the most basic rhythm, it’s not surprising. Complex music must make people feel gawky and stupid. And those of us who do want something more complex are forced to dig deeper and avoid top40 radio.