How the beat starts…..

At the site Spiritual Baptist from St. Vincent with Andrez Thomas
you can see and hear the pulse begin with the tapping of the foot of Mr. Thomas. Gradually the drums and other supporting sounds come in. The importance of this for people not of Afro-American heritage is that the tendency is to conceive of the tapping as resulting from the music, as following the music, whereas the music actually follows the tapping, the pulse Gunther Schuler refers to as forward propulsive rhythm.
To me, this conceptualization is similar to Marshall Stearn’s example of giving a clarinet and drum to two Europeans and to two Africans; the Europeans will have the drum accompany the clarinet whereas the Africans will have the clarinet accompany the drum, that is, in the former the melodic instrument dominates, in the latter the rhythm instrument dominates. It must be remembered however that the drum rhythms are also melodic, just as the clarinet can be played rhythmically.

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