The beat of the washing machine

One of the hallmarks – no, the sine qua nons – of the music of West Africa and the African Diaspora is what is popularly called “the beat” but more accurately by Gunther Schuller’s term “forward propulsive rhythm”. It is timing that few people outside the culture can match; just watch a crowd of people clapping to Black music. Not all Black people can do it either and many non-Black people can, esp these days.
So it was with pleasure that sitting here in the laundry room at home, I noticed our new-used washing machine ‘has the beat’. This phenomenon has not been explored so much I think b/c people who have it just don’t see why it has to be explored – just clap on time. Those who don’t have it don’t hear and think they are doing fine.

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