April 30, 2004

Rhythm and melody

It's method on the edge of madness
It's a balance on the edge of a knife
It's a smile on the edge of sadness
It's a dance on the edge of life

--Rush, "Out of the Cradle" (2002)


Most of the best pieces of music are symbiotic unions of rhythm and melody--the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts.

Lying underneath and tying everything together is the rhythm, which moves the piece inexorably forward without letting anything fall off the wagon to lose itself on its own. Tethered by the rhythm and drawing energy from its momentum, the melody plays on the surface and makes everything beautiful. The rhythm provides the inexorable; the melody provides the surprise. Rhythm is the power; melody is the play. Rhythm is the depths and melody the heights.

Music isn't the only thing uniting rhythm and melody. Good relationships do this too. One person can play riffs off the other one if it's working right. Then they can trade roles, to show each other what they can do. The whole damned dozen adds up to thirteen.

Does anything else partake of both? I think good arguments do. The best ones are unions of hard-driving power and agile maneuvering. Dazzle them with speed and then flatten them with power.

(Take that, bitchez!)

Posted by Carey at April 30, 2004 08:12 PM
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