I’m now feeling the beat at 20 BPMs

Noisy

Well-known member
I'm glad a free discussion is going on! I'll try to address some of them in a bit but first I'd like to post this reference from Britannica.

I did a search for an article on the subject and this is what I found:
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When a metronome tics two or three times a second, one perceives an integral sequence, becoming aware of a rhythmic auditory series characterized by a perceptually distinct frequency. When the ticks come less often, however—at intervals of three seconds, say—the frequency or sequence no longer is perceived. Each physically discrete sound impulse remains an isolated perceptual event; each tick is no longer perceived as belonging to the same temporal field as the one that follows. Similar effects can be achieved by playing a recording of music or speech at a very slow rate. Music or spoken sentences are recognizable only when their elements (melody, rhythmic patterns, phrase) are presented at an optimal speed that permits significant perceptual unity; that is, only when they belong to the relative simultaneity of the psychological present.
===

The observational science community recognizes that around 3 seconds, people in general don't "connect" the sound impulses. 20 BPMs is 3 second intervals.

Some pioneers at Drummerworld perceived that there is something about that 20 BPM time zone that is "different," independent of scientists. They also received many attacks over the years for discussing it. Those pioneer drummers knew something was going on!!!

So, to expand one's "perception" zone (if one chooses to), one MUST NOT SUBDIVIDE. If you subdivide, you do not challenge the 3 second zone! You get to the three second mark but you have not challenged your brain and trained it go beyond its current comfort zone.

I didn't know about this article before I made my original post and followups. You can see that I referenced how I felt the beat/rhythm of 20 BPMs, where before they were very random.

So, if you have a metronome at 20 BPMs, how do you perceive the sequence of beeps? I currently sense it as a "slowed down techno music dance beat." Before, I had no feeling of any connection between beats. In fact, at 30 BPMs I was forcing myself to try to keep time and didn't have any rhythmic sense. I didn't use a simple rhythm to get close.

I'll continue in a following post shortly...
 
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Noisy

Well-known member
Continuing...

So I have seen a post/web link that says the pursuit of 20 BPMs without subdividing is inane (silly or stupid). I think such personal attacks discourage free discussion on this board.

Free discussion is good. If people don't see a personal benefit, I see nothing wrong with them saying it doesn't apply to them.

So, the context is that some who actually worked at 20 BPMs reported various benefits. I am not burying the click at 20 BPMs without subdividing. But, when working toward that goal, I started to recognize a rhythm in the 20 BPM pulse. So, I concluded that I expanded my perception.

So in general, somewhere around the 20 BPM zone (3 second pulses), there is a drop-off in the perception of rhythm. I didn't subdivide at 20 BPMs and started to recognize it.

As drummers, why all the hate for those who want to expand their rhythmic perception zone?
 
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Noisy

Well-known member
Thanks man! I love reading about what people feel when learning stuff. I remember the 20 bpm thread. the example was on youtube so it had a timer on it. I think I messed with it for like fifty some minutes after reading about it and had the inkling of the feel you describe.
I don't see how anything we learn correctly- as in accurately- can be anything but good.

So, here's a question for you:
having internalized this tempo, have you noticed it in life? And if so, do tell.
Because I know we are capable of internalizing long stretches intuitively. I can walk away from processes at work that take like ten and a half minutes and be back right on time every time with no effort at all just having practiced it for years.
Thanks for reporting your prior experience. How long ago did you try it? You may just need to keep it up. I worked on it for six hours over two days. Maybe overkill but that is what I did. The metronome app that I mentioned in a prior post may help you as it goes down to 10 BPMs. Working with 15 BPMs may be a good way to support the 20 BPMs practice. I find 15 BPMs to be closer to rhythmic, where 10 BPMs is currently out of my zone. I try 10 BPMs anyway.

I don't have any "real life" experience differences to tell. I just recognized the situation three days ago. My slow beat timing is getting pretty good (especially compared to before) but it isn't consistent like I want it to be. It's going to be a process.
 
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Noisy

Well-known member
I'm actually working through Dave's book with him and you are right.
Learning to tap at 20-40 bpm without subdividing doesn't really take you where you want to go. You need to be able to subdivide every permutation of the particular rhythmic grid you are playing and develop the ability to move from one to another easily and gracefully.
Tapping along at 20 BPM won't point out to you that you tend to rush the "e" in a 16th note grid after ending the previous measure on the "and" of 4, for example.
We play music and that music is rhythmically subdivided. Any counting type exercise should acknowledge that fact.
I agree for practical music applications, subdividing is good. I was practicing triplets and essentially was subdividing.

My post was to report that I am sensing rhythm in slow pulses that I previously did not (could not) recognize after working on 20 BPMs without subdividing. I have posted information from Britannica that gives scientific context to detection of rhythm. The 3 second / 20 BPM zone is approximately where rhythm detection goes away for most people. There is no proof that improvement in this area has any scientific benefit.

The aim for me is to study slow rhythms for a while longer. If I am stronger at slow rhythms, if I choose to subdivide them, I hope to be better at subdividing them. Practicing slow rhythms may also help me overcome "unforced errors" during the timing practice. There may be benefits in the future but I am not there yet. This is an ongoing experiment.

The post is only to say, this is what happened to me during an experiment. There is actually some scientific data to support the lack of rhythm at 20 BPMs for most people. I didn't perceive rhythm at 20 BPM before but now I do. "Not subdividing" is required for this experiment.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
My teacher, who was the timpanist with the Dallas Symphony for 50 years, said that subdividing is a crutch.
I first learnt on timpani, & I got the same messaging. I remember the discussion with my tutor (who also was a very accomplished timpanist), and whilst I appreciated the discipline such a skill imparts, I said something like this at the time - "but unless the score is at that tempo, you're still either counting beats to the bar, or your looking at the conductor, so how does it matter how I get there?"

I suppose if I was 40 years younger and had a burning desire to have the broadest possible repertoire, I could garner the motivation to acquire such a skill, but I'll just keep on using that crutch of subdividing to get me into that super slow & open space - or maybe just rely on the bassist ;)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
As drummers, why all the hate for those who want to expand their rhythmic perception zone?
No hate whatsoever, we're talking about a way of practicing the drums, and fielding some ideas about how useful it is, and hopefully trying to learn something about rhythm, about playing the drums, and playing music.
 

Noisy

Well-known member
No hate whatsoever, we're talking about a way of practicing the drums, and fielding some ideas about how useful it is, and hopefully trying to learn something about rhythm, about playing the drums, and playing music.
Since you specifically replied, your post says forcing to prevent subdividing is “kind of absurd.” If I say such things against your posts, does it encourage free discussion?
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
So are quarter notes at 20 BPM the same as half notes at 40 BPM or full notes at 80 BPM?

Isn't a quarter note itself technically a subdivision and subject to the same discussion as eight note or 16th note subdivisions etc.....

Couldn't I say I'm a half-note guy and that counting by quarter notes are equally problematical as 8th or 16th notes?

I guess the standard measure is quarter notes but some could say this is equally arbitrary.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Since you specifically replied, your post says forcing to prevent subdividing is “kind of absurd.” If I say such things against your posts, does it encourage free discussion?
I gave a full explanation of why I think what I think. Do you want to talk about that, or do you want to fight about my choice of adjectives?

So are quarter notes at 20 BPM the same as half notes at 40 BPM or full notes at 80 BPM?
Other way around: whole note @ 20 = half note @ 40 = quarter note @ 80 = 8th note @ 160

Isn't a quarter note itself technically a subdivision and subject to the same discussion as eight note or 16th note subdivisions etc.....
Technically everything is a division or subdivision of a whole note. It is all kind of arbitrary, but making the usual quarter note, dotted quarter note, or half note "the beat" does make it easier to read music-- the different rates of rhythm you're likely to use all look distinct from each other. If you made 16th notes the beat, and were playing a lot of subdivisions, you'd just be looking at a lot of black note heads with multiple beams. It's really hard to read, like this:

IMG_E0375-small.jpg
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I gave a full explanation of why I think what I think. Do you want to talk about that, or do you want to fight about my choice of adjectives?



Other way around: whole note @ 20 = half note @ 40 = quarter note @ 80 = 8th note @ 160



Technically everything is a division or subdivision of a whole note. It is all kind of arbitrary, but making the usual quarter note, dotted quarter note, or half note "the beat" does make it easier to read music-- the different rates of rhythm you're likely to use all look distinct from each other. If you made 16th notes the beat, and were playing a lot of subdivisions, you'd just be looking at a lot of black note heads with multiple beams. It's really hard to read, like this:

View attachment 92976
Messiaen did that with his notation. He believed it made people play with more intensity, or some such.

What a jerk.
 
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