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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000059.txt from 1996/01

From: Donald Yungkurth <DYungkurth@-----.COM>
Subj: Foot Tapping
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 21:22:31 -0500

Jack Dannenberg <music@-----.COM> writes, in part:

>And finally a topic for discussion and that is foot tapping. >I find that it
helps me in syncopated rythmns but I tend to >try and tap the rythmn itself
instead of the beat in >difficult passages. I have had instructors who
advocated >foot tapping, who threatened to put a brick on my foot to >stop me
and others who were totally apathetic about the
>whole concept.I would like to hear from others and I >would particularly
like to hear from people who are good >at difficult rythmns and have them
explain their process >for playing it correctly. I.E. do you tap your foot,
>subdivide, memorize patterns or what?

My experience sheds little or no light on the questions asked by Jack, but it
points out that the brain operates in strange ways at times. I was at a
chamber music camp and was sight reading woodwind quintets with people I had
barely met. We had just started, and after a few minutes the flutist,
sitting opposite me, stopped us and asked politely if I could stop beating
with my foot. She said my playing was fine, but that my foot was not beating
in any relationship to the music! This was not in music with complex modern
rhythms, but in Reicha. Apparently the different signals she received from
her eyes and her ears created a real problem for her.

I was able to stop the foot and continue for the rest of the session without
a problem. When told this story, others have confirmed the flutist's
observation about me. I've made a real effort to stop using the foot since
that time, even when practicing. If I need help in practice, I use a
metronome or, more likely, just go very slowly until it makes sense. By the
way, I'm *not* good at difficult rhythms!

Don Yungkurth (

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