August is supposed to be a summer month, at least here there I live. But this year autumn seems to come early. And since it’s raining day after day, the sky is so much darken blue and cloudy that it also darkens early evening. So gloomy and boring! Well, there are few glimpses of the sun during a day at times, but not enough to cheer one up. About every morning I meet the same sight outside my window panes, rain pouring or rain drizzling. Then a few minutes break giving me a hope to get my balcony flowers back on the balustrade without being drowning in their boxes of the pouring rain. And I hardly get more than that intention for my plants but then hastily it began to rain again – and I make a turnaround and off and on the floor against the wall, this is there the flower boxes go back to.
I can’t stand this weather! But there is no choice around. I’m here and here I am. Looking at the laptop screen. No one to talk to and nothing to do, just listen to music, meanwhile this “nothing” proceed. Let the time flow, thinking of you, wherever you are…
“You don’t love me this I know
Don’t need a bible to tell me so…”
It got me to listening to romantic songs on YouTube those idle lonely hours, about rain and sad hearts, first easy choice was Ann Peebles “I can’t stand the rain” and then I got stuck by that old song: “The rhythm of the heart”.
The original of this particular song was produced by The Cascades in 1962 and since then countless covers have been made for countless years.
During the evening I must had listened to at least hundred versions of that old hit. (That’s what I often do when I get stuck with a music video on YouTube, it’s a kind of a hobby I have). And time flowed away and late in night almost morning it sudden hit me what’s obvious: rain has no rhythm!
Of course it hasn’t, rain is just a sound with not a rhythm. Rain is just water flowing in a steady stream – in varying intensity and length in time, but not in a rhythmic way. Still this sentimental love songs claims rain has a rhythm! And we, the audiences, have “bought it”, this false expression for sad romantic feelings of lost love.
And is there really any logical connection between an individual’s emotions and pouring rain? None! It’s just stiffen cemented conventions and parables in the writing of lyrics. Or as I read at an online site about this song:
“A symbol of sadness and release which has become a cornerstone in popular music, it’s a cathartic theme that helps songwriters craft excellent melodies and evoke the power of nature in their songs.”
Such a bullshit, written. What it is, it’s a cultural phenomenon that shows the western world face of power over the world, that what reigns over our thinking how to portray human emotions. But if you live in Africa, with a heat of 30 – 40 degrees C in the shadow, the rain coming may release your mind and body and water your soul and maybe you just want to walk in the rain for hours to soothe your overheated dried body, feeling strong and hopeful and positive again. Happy!
Well, rain can become sadness and tears – i. e. if you’re on your own and stay home waiting for “better” weather to come, because you become restless not to have someone close to talk to. Then the blues comes walking in through your back door and soon enough you will recall some wounds from past shortcomings or losses to start cry over. Oh, yes!
But mourn a lost love in a fantastic sunny weather is worse, in my experience. You don’t want to hide indoors and feel lousy but go out and enjoy the nice day, but you can’t enforce you into a better mood and doing.
But “you and me and rain on the roof”, that’s happiness. No doubt!
Culture tied images are tools to use to create identification in the collective mind of listener or reader. If you want to create something new and genuine and not culture tied you have to find other phenomena to picturize your feelings and avoid archaic images who have lost their credit rating. But for the popular culture production such as the music industry, focused on winning fame and money, stiffened but easily recognizable images are of course to prefer.
But again, what is a rhythm? There I got some hours more pastime while it kept on raining outdoors. (Feeling a bit guilty as if I waste my life on silly things in late nights, do I?)
But it was interesting searches, though I after a while began to feel childishly ignorant. It’s my embarrassment this: I have never been able to learn music notes or keep a rhythm neither distinguish between false and pure tone. Because of my imagined experienced shortcomings in this area I have come to make the conclusion that I am un-musical. This, even as music is important to me.
(But it’s the lyrics that’s my primary interest, because words I am good at. Though I don’t get how to write song lyrics either. And as reading lyrics it’s hard to understand the sense in some lines. Sometimes it seems to be too much and too complicated text to remember to sing, it’s more poetry than song texts. Sometimes the lines are short and as been read, just silly. Though those lyrics works well performed in song and with music. It’s a mystery it all to me.)
In a video on YouTube “What is Rhythm”, a woman say she has google the word “rhythm” and got the definition “a strong, regular repeated pattern of movement or sound”. And “What!” she say surprised – and then she declares “Rhytm is sounds and silences”.
Then a thunder may be a rhythm? Or a dog barking? No.
But the beat of a heart is a rhythm, no doubt… lub-dub lub-dub lub-dub…..
Actually the woman in this YouTube clip illustrate “rhythm” with clapping her hands with a variation strength in the sounds, repeatedly. So she say one thing and illustrate her statement with another doing. But she adds “rhythm is also a “pattern”.
Thus, repeated sounds and silences in a pattern.
So what do encyclopedias say?
ne.se (a Swedish encyclopedia used in schools)
”regelbunden växling mellan starkare och svagare moment i återkommande förlopp av olika slag; i synnerhet upplevelsen av denna växling.”
(“regular alternation between stronger and weaker moments in recurrent course of various kinds; in particular the experience of this shift”.)
“Rhythm, in music, the placement of sounds in time. In its most general sense, rhythm (Greek rhythmos, derived from rhein, “to flow”) is an ordered alternation of contrasting elements. The notion of rhythm also occurs in other arts (e.g., poetry, painting, sculpture, and architecture) as well as in nature (e.g., biological rhythms).”
And “By definition, the rhythm is the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the presence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats.” That last is a definition from a British Song Academy site which recommended a YouTube video for better understanding. But I was only able to listen to it for 45 seconds and then I was completely bored to death.
My conclusion (before I lose my sense in abstractions over the most elemental and simple in human life: sounds): Rhythm is repetitive sounds of different volumes in a recognizable pattern.
And without (creating) recognizable pattern, a human can’t grasp her environment and the world in which she lives.
Rain is ongoing sound, it can vary in intensity but not in a recognizable pattern. Thus, the sound of the rain has no rhythm and no pattern. It’s boring, it’s depressing. Or relaxing.
The sound of rain is not a mood either. The weather outdoors has actually nothing to do with your moods in you.
But what about using the more correct phrase “The sound of the rain”? It has no rhythm! But the phrase “The rhythm of the rain” has a good sounding rhythm for the voice. Further for the joy of the eye it has also both consonant rhyme and vowels rhyme (alliteration and assonance).
We live in rhythms, from our fetal time until our deathbed, it is the own heartbeat and the heartbeat of a loved one, the mother, the child or the lover…
Now with rain and water, we all know what it is but we can’t fully know what it is until we get our bodies wet.
In the residence there I lived in before (until about a year ago) there were several planted rowan trees at the yard outside my bedroom window. Here now, I have to take a walk to see any rowan trees. And one day I discovered all those berries on the rowans glowed redder than ever. Not light orange red as I’ve seen earlier years, but a deep crimson red color.
Even if the rowan berries tells the summer is soon over, I love them for their intense colorful gaiety.
I don’t know what I would do without colors and music. I don’t know now what to do without you either, but I feel strongly what “to do without you” is: it is a piercing pain to suffer.
Every late night, I take a short walk around the block, an unknown woman in a dark night, yet guided safe by the street lighting. Mostly the rain gods take a paus during my short walk and pour on again from the clouds when I put the key in the front door to my home.
There is an end to everything. And good news, the weather reporters tells the summer and heat will return for a short time during this coming weekend and will stay a few days more. Short or not, it will cheer me up and I need it.
Whatever rain or sun, some you meet you never forget, they stay close under your skin and in the rhythm of you heart.