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A different way to visualize rhythm - John Varney

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In standard notation, rhythm is indicated on a musical bar line. But there are other ways to visualize rhythm that can be more intuitive. John Varney describes the ‘wheel method’ of tracing rhythm and uses it to take us on a musical journey around the world.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator John Varney
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Animator Peyton Skyler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
To learn more on circular perceptions of rhythm with specific reference to African music, read this paper and then watch this
Five(ish) Minute Drum Lesson on African Drumming
. How has drumming played an essential role in African culture? What do specific rhythms represent?

Interested in the software applications of a circular rhythmic approach? What are the pros of representing rhythm with a circular representation as opposed to using a more traditional linear representation? This article will help you learn more.

What exactly is rhythm? Rhythm is a key ingredient in all types of music but do you know exactly what it is? Want to learn more about rhythm? Watch: How Music Works 2-Rhythm Part 1 and Part 2. Get a more diverse idea of its importance and some insight into what exactly rhythm is! What is it about a rhythm that causes you to tap your toes and want to sing along? Read this Smithsonian Blog post and find out.

How does the beat of a song differ from its rhythm? Check out this video and find out! Then watch The Rhythm of Music and Life. Learn how rhythm permeates your everyday life! Can you think of a rhythm in your life? This TED Talk: Rhythm is everything, everywhere focuses on this question too. Look around your life and find what brings rhythm to it! Is it the tick of the clock on the wall, your windshield wipers or an instrument that you love?

As seen from this TED Ed lesson, different cultures share similar rhythms. Different cultures also share the same musical scales. For fun, check out this TED clip as Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the pentatonic scale, a musical scale found in varied cultures and genres of music. Try this demonstration with a group of friends!

Rhythm and Math are related? Check out this TED-Ed Lesson: A-rhythm-etic. The math behind the beats.

Just love music and want to learn more? Here are some “note-worthy” lessons from TED-Ed:

How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins

Why we love repetition in music - Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Music as a language -Victor Wooten

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator John Varney
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Animator Peyton Skyler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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