Garnet Walters

Pianist Producer Teacher Composer Arranger

The Official Website of Garnet Walters and Geephlat Music
 

The Elasticity of Music

Hi there! I hope you are well today. I was reading a book by Ron Gorow called "Hearing And Writing Music". The premise of the book is recognizing intervals as quickly as your eyes recognizes colors. Musical intervals (2nds, 3rds, etc...) make up music and our ears can tell what they are. A point in the book that struck me was that no matter what key a song is played or sung in, the intervals in the song are still the same. (Try singing "Happy Birthday in different keys). With this point I began to think: Changing pitch is one thing. What about changing the tempo? Let's use the "Happy Birthday" song since it's easy. If you sing it fast, the song is still the same but it will be shorter. If you sing it slower, the song will take more time. Even if you were to hear that song on a 33 rpm setting on a record player, it would in the original tempo and key. What would happen if you changed the setting to 45 rpm? The pitch would be a lot higher and the tempo would be exponentially faster to the point where it would be a blur. The point would still stand that the harmonic and melodic intervals would still be intact. So with that discovery, I decided to experiment with the elasticity in my practicing.

Generally when I am learning a new tune, I practice it slowly. After a while, I pick up the tempo gradually. Then after that, depending on the original tempo of the song, I practice it as a ballad and as a supersonic technique piece. I do this for the sake of how the song feels.

I use elasticity when I am working on trouble spots in music that I am working on. I extract the spot, slow it down until it can not be recognized. When I have it under control, I begin to raise the tempo until I am comfortable. That is the elasticity of music.

Think about it...when you stretch a rubber band, the contents of the rubber band is still the same. After stretching it, it goes back to its original state. You can compress a rubber band into a ball and it will go back into its original state. Musical elasticity is a wonderful tool that I have used to help me learn at a more efficient rate. Give it try! I would love to hear your input!