What is Rhythm?

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Music “rhythm covers everything pertaining to the time aspect of music”.

Rhythm simply is that musical component which makes us move or tap our foot. It is difficult to define rhythm without considering all of the aspects of it.

Rhythm consists of all the temporal elements in music as oppose to pitch notation and intervals which are the spatial elements of music. Rhythm is how the sounds are organised as they move through time. It deals with the articulation and passing of time in compositions.

The general meaning of rhythm comes from the Greek word rhythmos derived from rhein, to flow, which means “any regular recurring motion, symmetry”.

Rhythm has manifestation in other arts such as architecture, poetry, sculpture and painting. But it is the most indispensable element when it comes to music because rhythm can exist without music but melody cannot exist without rhythm. Unlike the visual art which is composed in space, music is composed in time and rhythm is music’s pattern in time.

Let’s conclude this short with Plato’s definition of rhythm.

Rhythm is “an order of movement”.