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Open Set Seminar Session #6 - Traces of Rhythms: Tuning and Friction

12 January 2019, 10.00–13.00 | Location: NoLIMIT (Geldershoofd 80, 1103 BG Amsterdam)

This session examines traces of rhythms from another perspective, while looking at the relationship between different rhythms. In music we can hear multiple rhythms either in harmony, when we enjoy the perfect tuning, or in dissonance, when the confrontation of rhythms becomes obvious. For instance, in tabla music and many improvisational practices, any rhythm can be combined with another, as long as there is a clear recognition of ‘the one’ (the main, or shared rhythm). While in such a sonic example all rhythmic patterns come back to ‘the one’, creating the possibility of engagement in the collective performance, in human interactions ‘the one’—commonly agreed working days, for instance—facilitates participation in everyday life, thereby maintaining variety and urban complexities.

However, in a situation when ‘the one’ does not exist or is still being negotiated, can we find other forms and metaphors for relationships between differences? Other strategies that allow different patterns not to tune into one, but to still coexist? Can we see a productive agency of friction that can be a solution to melt not into ‘the one’, but into something new and symbiotic? What happens in situations when it is not possible to come to ‘one’? What other forms of rhythmic cooperation, transformation and friction we can observe? Do they influence the quality of rhythms, or give us information about the relationships between different patterns and rhythms?

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