Thinking in numbers, figures and systems plays a central part in our - at least scientific – understanding of musical matters. The kind of pre-order that the numbers - and also the systemic thinking - bring along seem to facilitate the access to and dealings with what we understand as fundamental musical conditions. The number stands out as constituent of understanding in our views upon and dealings with frequency and relations between frequencies. The number as such becomes the lifeless agent of movement that without further notice is allowed to include - and systematise - the 'slow' frequencies, we arithmetically acknowledge as rhythms. However, the complex - but mostly unquestioned – figure bound systematism that hereby emerges - in which different or alternating regularities and irregularities are organised in apparently homogeneous regularities - appears to define the objects it claims to reflect. By means of a critical resume of an earlier analysis of rhythmical implications in Michael Jackson's "Give In To Me" this paper discusses these matters further and reflects upon arithmetic's influences and relevance for our understanding of music.
Main Research Area:
Rhythm and Micro-rhythm: Investigating musical and cultural aspects of groove-oriented music, 2005