Today I will be discussing the history of myself Reinhold Wasserhman, specifically of the events of my childhood, when I was maybe 12 or 13. When I was younger I often attended church The Immaculate Heart of St. Agatha on Calvary Hill, an obscure saint in the church, the saint of nursery rhymes. Whenever we attended which was faithfully every Sunday at 6am my parents would walk me to one of the little Airstream trailers that served as the youth room for 8-15 year olds. This airstream method did not work very well due to the large age difference between the children in attendance and the small amount of space that was allocated to the children who did attend. The group heavily skewed young with nearly 2-3x the number of 8 year olds as there were 13,14 and 15 year old. The young children had the tendency to wander around crying and whining about the nonsense they found mildly bothersome or otherwise. This led to frustration on behalf of the older kids who were often forced into baby sitting rolls which they took on with heavy hears. After about 30 minutes of this chaos it came for the time to sing songs and praises.
The songs that would be sung as to require audience interaction for the benefit of the younger audience, interactions like stomping across the room, call and response phrases, instruments and finally clapping. Whenever the leader of the childrens worship, a tall lanky socially awkward 19yr old girl with auburn hair past her waist would break out the clapping and instruments and pass them around the room, distributing the less technical instruments such as bongos and maracas to the younger audience members, and the more complicated instruments such as the ribbed fish and the tambourine to the elders in the group.
Whenever this part of worship started I always got to worryin.
I have the tendency to count in groups of four. Four steps, four chews, four minutes, four beats. This translated over to music relatively well later in life but when I was younger I did not really understand the the rhythmic implications of a four measure beat. When counting a four beat I often felt an internal emphasis on the 2 & 4. With this in mind when it came to church worship that meant that I would count each beat of the song and rhytmically gravitated toward the 2 and 4. This natural rhythm I found I had did not translate to the simple patterns present in the theological nursery rhymes. When everyone in the class room was clapping and playing their instruments on the 1&3 beat I found myself on the offbeat.
Always on the offbeat. Instead of 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 that the leaders of the group were trying to get the children synced upon i would be stuck on the 2&4. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4. There were a few exceptions to this pattern which I would wildly deviate from every other beat and out of four notes I would treat emphasize each beat on its own in a bar. 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4. None of the naturalistic grooves functioned well in the context of church songs but my natural instinct went with it none the less. This caused a rift between myself and my 1&3 brothers that could not be crossed. And my offbeat groove that i put into the world was countered by the significantly less funky basic beat put forward on a matte brown bass by the majority of those in the room.
This whole story does not ultimately lead to any forgone conclusion on the nature of rhythm or the inherent musical abilities within each of us. I as a person am not overtly musical but do enjoy dabbling in the tones of life and the analog nature of it all. All amounting to nothing, this 2&4 beat is just a story I was thinking about recently and wanted to share.