The pattern inside

Deutsche Version / German Version

Dum. Dum. Dum. The heartbeat of our mother is the first thing we feel and appreciate from this world. Rhythmic. Then the contractions as we get out. Rhythm. Life starts with rhythm and ends with rhythm – as our last heart beat rhythmically ends this existence.

Not yet able to hear, see, or think – but to feel the sensation of rhythm – me, you, once (listening) to rhythmic vibrations in mothers body

When you came into this life, your first felt experience was the sensation of rhythm. Not the sound (initially), but the sensation of rhythm. Before you could hear, see, touch, or think, you were unadulterated physicality—pure instinctual and primal substance, a human animal in its infancy, animated by the spark of life that foretold of a human being. You sensed your being as only slightly distinct from your mother’s body, intimately connected to her physical and emotional rhythms, yet very gradually emerging into a sense of your own self. Take yourself back to those first few weeks in her womb . . . Listen closely . . . Hear the “lub-dub—lub-dub—lub-dub”. . . . It’s your mother’s heartbeat, massaging what is to become you with its consistency and power, accompanied by the steady undulation of her breathing. If you were fortunate, most of the time the sensations generated by her heartbeat and breathing would lull and rock you. So your initiation into life is first sensed completely through rhythm.


But rhythm is not only the first impression – and the last – we get and keep of this world, rhythm seems to be – much – more than that. If one looks at the origins of music, be it in the ancient – traced to 6000 BCE – Ayurvedic tradition or in the pulses of Shamanic rituals , developed a hefty 5000 years ago, the power and significance the attribute to rhythm ecompasses the connection to the infinite, to God, the universe, the very essence of existence.

The Shaman and his community saw the drum to embody universal life force energy that connects everything and everyone. The drum is seen to contain the spirit of this life force energy and therefore has the ability to sustain life itself maintaining wellbeing and balance within a community. When a drum is played in a continuous rhythmic fashion the life force within the drum is released through its vibrations and sound. The rhythm also facilitates the Shaman in journeying to the spirit worlds, the astral level in which our personal over soul lives as well as an immortal being of pure energy. This is the plane of realisation, spiritual consciousness, where perception, knowledge and action can occur simultaneously. 

The Shamanic Drum

Sound pattern, which in themselves include patterns, and the pulse, the rhythms, the structuring beat, are seen be recent science not just as a game changing human invention, but as basic capabilities ingrained in our neuronal circuitry. We have indeed music – and the core of it, rhythm – inside.

Have you ever wondered why a strange piece of music can feel familiar—how it is, for example, that you can predict the next beat even though you’ve never heard the song before? Music everywhere seems to share some “universals,” from the scales it uses to the rhythms it employs. Now, scientists have shown for the first time that people without any musical training also create songs using predictable musical beats, suggesting that humans are hardwired to respond to—and produce—certain features of music.

Rhythm might be hardwired in humans

Those pulses – as everything we touch – transfer the whole range of ’emotions’. From the hypnotic beat of reggae to the sound of rhythmic footsteps as the soldiers march in honor of fascism.

Rhythm, in music, the placement of sounds in time. In its most general sense, rhythm (Greek rhythmos, ῥυθμός, derived from rhein, “to flow”) is an ordered alternation of contrasting elements, “any regular recurring motion, symmetry” (Liddell and Scott 1996)) generally means a “movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions” (Anon. 1971, 2537). This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds (as with the riff in a rock music song); to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years. In poetry Rhythm is the repetition of a pattern of sounds created by the alternation of long and short sounds and stressed and unstressed syllables. In iambic pentameter, each line of poetry has 10 syllables that alternate in an unstressed, stressed rhythmic pattern.
Rhythm, Definition

Rhythmic harp lute

Kora player
Source Wikipedia: Origins of the blues https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_the_blues

Da. Da. Da. While researching rhythm, I stumbled over the Kora and realised how centered on pulse and pattern this in theory melodic instrument in practical play is. While we associate rhythm with beat, melodies would be absolutely nothing without it. Sample some Toumani Kora playing to get the vibe:

Toumani Diabaté (born August 10, 1965) is a Malian kora player. In addition to performing the traditional music of Mali, he has also been involved in cross-cultural collaborations with flamencobluesjazz, and other international styles
Toumani Diabate plays the Kora

Cheesecake, courtship,cohesion – and universal glue

Music and its core, rhythm – passion, attraction and community.

Darwin suggested that human ancestors, before acquiring the power of speech, ”endeavored to charm each other with musical notes and rhythm.” It is because of music’s origin in courtship, Darwin believed, that it is ”firmly associated with some of the strongest passions an animal is capable of feeling.” (…) The rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, for instance, had ”sexual liaisons with hundreds of groupies, maintained parallel long-term relationships with at least two women, and fathered at least three children in the United States, Germany, and Sweden (…) Why on earth would nubile young women choose a rock star as a possible father of their children instead of more literary and reflective professionals such as, say, journalists? Dr. Miller sees music as an excellent indicator of fitness in the Darwinian struggle for survival. Since music draws on so many of the brain’s faculties, it vouches for the health of the organ as a whole (…) Male chimpanzees sometimes chorus in a call known as a pant-hoot, though usually to attract females to a new source of fruit they have found. For human ancestors, musical displays of this kind ”may have formed the evolutionary basis for the musical abilities of modern humans,” Dr. Hagen and Dr. Bryant write. The Pentagon’s vigorous support of military bands — $163 million in 1997 — lends a certain resonance to this view … Whether music is cheesecake, courtship or cohesion, its mystery remains unbreached.

We Got Rhythm; the Mystery Is How and Why

Then there is much, much more to rhythm. For the ancient sages of Ayurveda, vibration are the glue of the universe. And our own bodies are just a manifestation of those vibrations. Our body is sound.

According to Ayurveda, the human body is the manifestation of sound. More specifically, our bodies are expressions of primordial sound, or ancient natural sounds expressing themselves in rhythms and synchronicities and frequencies of vibration. These frequencies of vibration become the energy fields that ultimately become the matter of our bodies. For the ancient sages of Ayurveda, these vibrations were literally the bond that held the universe together.

Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind/Body Programme for Overcoming Insomnia, Author: Deepak Chopra

In music, poetry, language, those pattern expressions use and combine different approaches that include:

  • Random Rhythm.
  • Regular Rhythm.
  • Alternating Rhythm.
  • Flowing Rhythm.
  • Progressive Rhythm.

Universe to introspection

But rhythm is not just outside. Rhythm gives our inner universe flow.

circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It can refer to any biological process that displays an endogenousentrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plantsanimalsfungi, and cyanobacteria.

The term circadian comes from the Latin circa, meaning “around” (or “approximately”), and diēm, meaning “day”. The formal study of biological temporal rhythms, such as daily, tidal, weekly, seasonal, and annual rhythms, is called chronobiology. Processes with 24-hour oscillations are more generally called diurnal rhythms; strictly speaking, they should not be called circadian rhythms unless their endogenous nature is confirmed.[3]

The term circadian comes from the Latin circa, meaning “around” (or “approximately”), and diēm, meaning “day”. The formal study of biological temporal rhythms, such as daily, tidal, weekly, seasonal, and annual rhythms, is called chronobiology. Processes with 24-hour oscillations are more generally called diurnal rhythms; strictly speaking, they should not be called circadian rhythms unless their endogenous nature is confirmed.[3]

Although circadian rhythms are endogenous (“built-in”, self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers (from German, “time giver”), which include light, temperature and redox cycles. In medical science, an abnormal circadian rhythm in humans is known as circadian rhythm disorder.

Universe inside. All timed. All clocked. All rhythmic.

Biological rhythms are the natural cycle of change in our body’s chemicals or functions. It’s like an internal master “clock” that coordinates the other clocks in your body. The “clock” is located in the brain, right above the nerves where the eyes cross. It’s made up of thousands of nerve cells that help sync your body’s functions and activities. There are four biological rhythms: circadian rhythms: the 24-hour cycle that includes physiological and behavioral rhythms like sleeping; diurnal rhythms: the circadian rhythm synced with day and night; ultradian rhythms: biological rhythms with a shorter period and higher frequency than circadian rhythms; infradian rhythms: biological rhythms that last more than 24 hours, such as a menstrual cycle

What Are Biological Rhythms?

But why not ‘deturn’ some. To our source.

Going primitive

Grunt, chortle, smack, hoot, waah, squeal, peep, bark, laugh. Back to origin.

“After a training to tap illuminated keys on an electric keyboard, one chimpanzee spontaneously aligned her tapping with the sound when she heard an isochronous distractor sound. This result indicates that sensitivity to and tendency toward synchronous movement with an auditory rhythm exist in chimpanzees, although humans may have expanded it to unique forms of auditory and visual communication during the course of human evolution.”

Spontaneous synchronized tapping to an auditory rhythm in a chimpanzee

Rhythm is glue of universe, ingrained in our neurons and in our genes. And part of our native identity.

When researchers reported recently that they had managed to get captive bonobo apes to pick up a beat and play along briefly on a drum, it was merely the latest entry in what has begun to look like a multi­species musical extravaganza. Just in the past year or so, scientists have given us a California sea lion bobbing its head to “Boogie Wonderland” and a chimp in Japan spontaneously playing a keyboard in time with a simple beat. Before that, there were romantically inclined mosquitoes harmonizing their whining wing beats. The study of animal musicality goes back at least to Charles Darwin. He noted that rhythm is everywhere in the biological world, leading naturally, he thought, to the rise of music. Scientific interest got a boost with recordings of whale song in the 1960s and has grown dramatically in this century, thanks in part to new technologies for viewing how brains respond to music.

Do Animals Have Rhythm?

A beautiful example I found of apes aptitude with rhythm is ‘Chimp sound music Experiment/2018’:

What an impressive reaction and deep knowledge of rhythm apes have…

Rhythm is in practically any action possible in our existence here. One could say that rhythm is actually life.

“We now define our proposed sub-components. First, motor periodicity is simply the quasi-periodic execution of any repetitive action and is ubiquitous in biology including heartbeat, breathing, running, swimming, chewing, the wake/sleep cycle, and numerous other rhythmic activities. Any of these actions can be characterized by a time-varying frequency and phase, but they need not be synchronized. Second, beat extraction involves the perceptual inference of a pulse given a repetitive stimulus, often acoustic. This is a cognitive phenomenon that presumably involves the entrainment of endogenous neural oscillators with some external time-giver. Third, we can optionally synchronize motor actions with this inferred beat (as when tapping a finger to a metronome), a phenomenon we term audiomotor entrainment (potentially the most biologically unusual feature of human rhythmic behavior). The final element, meter, involves higher-level groupings of single events (or beats) into a hierarchical structure in which some events are stressed (‘strong’) and others are not (‘weak’). Meter is a core element of speech rhythm and metrical phonology and also plays an important role in music.”

The Evolution of Rhythm Processing


From the apes to rap, there is no gap. The drums of deep forests echo in blues, gospel, jazz, swing, funk – you name it. Music evolution is one tightly interlinked patchwork of influences. And deep in the core of all this melodic activity there is – encompassing, universal, connected to the one, as prehistoric as avantgarde, as inner universe as outer universe, as in everything as encompassing everything – rhythm.

From native tribes, shamanic drums, to slave survival rhythms to Hip-Hop and rap – rhythm is the essential connection through centuries of music expression
Source: 1992, Portia K. Maultsby

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