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-   -   Rushed Honor Beats (http://forums.powwows.com/f19/rushed-honor-beats-3211/)

SouthernDrumSinger 04-22-2002 08:23 PM

Rushed Honor Beats
I have noticed from various drum groups that during the third and fourth push ups, they hit the honor beats very loud. This is good but they tend to be very fast. I listened to Yellowhammer's new cd and they didn't rush their honor beats. The difference was that they hit the honor beats hard but they also put a skip beat in to keep their timing. And trust me, rushed honor beats really really can trip up a dancer. What do some of you head singers and other singers do about trying not to rush honor beats when the song gets really pumped up????

loves southern singn' 04-22-2002 09:23 PM

Well SDS, as far as the Honor Beats go, its one of those things where you have to have the energy, yet be relaxed. The best way I can think to describe it is like taming a wild animal. You want the kicking energy, yet you want to have control over it. Basically, what it all boils down to is discipline. I hope this helps. If not PM me and we can discuss this in more detail.


loves southern singn' 04-23-2002 01:21 AM

I've been waiting to see if anyone else would reply to this as it seems like this could possibly help more than one person. I've merely added my two cents worth to it. What does others have to say about it?


powwowbum49 04-23-2002 02:24 AM

All I can add is practice, practice, practice.

Tom Iron Eagle 04-23-2002 09:09 PM

There are two views to this subject.

First, some drums are really rushing the honor beats and the song itself - meaning they are having a hard time with the tempo and rhythm. In this case the song is compromised and the only fix is practice, practice, and practice.

Second, in some Southern songs and especially in some Southeastern songs the honor beats or heavy beats as they are called by some Southeastern People are rushed on purpose as part of the way things are done. And this is done in different ways:

1. The rhythm and tempo for the song during the honor beats is rushed, yet the tempo returns to the previous speed afterwards (western musical terms would be "accellerando" and " a tempo" respectively). One cultural reason is to just have fun and show happiness in the song.

2. The beats are not really rushed at all. Instead there is a completely different rhythm for them that does not fall into the normal feel of the song (referred to as a "hemiola" in western musical terms). One cultural reason is that this creates a phenomenon in sound showing respect for the phenomenons of the spirit world.

Both of these cases can be heard across the country. You can distinquish one from the other by listening closely to the words instead of the beats. In example #1 everything rushes just a bit but in example #2 the words seem to stay the same tempo as the beats seem to speed up thus creating the sound phenomenon.

One must remember that most songs in general do gradually speed up - but there is a big difference between this gradual feel that naturally happens as the push-ups go along and just plain rushing the song.

Any drums that just plain rush need to practice more.

BrownHornet 04-24-2002 01:43 AM

Its called skill. If you rush the honor beats, then its a good indication that you dont have any. Listen to old music and notice this new fad of hitting the drum hard as hell 5 or 6 beats before honor beats is not present. Anyway, just my thoughts. Anybody else?


CHEROSAGE 04-24-2002 02:29 AM

Not all southern songs have the honor beats, though they do speed up parts of the sets. I don't know what they call these things. I know that at times the song gets to the singers and the good singers will keep the steady beat. The good head singers will control the beat and volume. More than once i've seen this happen, Just glad those times it wasn't me.

I probably got off beat with this comment.


southernsky 04-24-2002 06:34 PM

I don't know but maybe because most of the singers haven't tried dancing..cuz if they did then they would know that rushing through those three beats is awfully hard to stay in step with while dancing. Especially on a contest song, like mens straight for example...when it comes to the middle of the song where these beats are, most drums do rush though them..and u can really tell by the sounds of the dancers bells that they have to get back into step after this happens. But hey nobody is perfect, and it is hard to break bad habits, lot of drums have done this all their lives and will probably never be able to stop doing it, but it is something to think about when it comes to drum contests.
As far as honor beats at the beginning of southern songs goes, I use to think it sounded pretty good back in the day when the cozads were strong, I think they kind of made doing this a little famous. Although nowadays it seems like someone is hitting these beats on almost every single song. It is getting a little carried away I guess. Sometimes it does sound good to get those beats in when the song is a good song and everyone is singing along and enjoying the song, guess you could say when that spirit is there...but c'mon there is no need for it on every song u sing. I think it is one of those monkey see monkey do sort of things. I am not against these beats at the beginning of songs but not every song. Just my little opinions...laters!

Kool Breeze 04-25-2002 11:42 AM

Hey BrownHornet, when you say hitting the drum 5 or 6 times really hard before the honor beats, are you referring to honor beats put in by one person in the first verse or are you referring to the whole drum group hitting the drum hard leading up to the three honor beats between the first and second verse?

-Kool B

BrownHornet 04-25-2002 12:08 PM

I am making reference to when the entire drum starts beating the drum harder and faster. It speeds up and throws the dancers off. There is a point in the song when the beat picks up. This does not mean the beats speeds up. Most talented singers will be able to sing with a constant tempo throughout the entire song. Of course, he has to be surrounded by competent singers. If not, everyone else may speed the song and he lose control. You have probably heard drums do this and the lead try to get control of the beat. They generally do this by placing their stick out further than everyone elses and slowing the beat down. It really sounds like crap when this happens and generally only works for a moment. Someone mentioned Yellowhammer earlier. If you ever get to see them sing, watch how Jimmy keeps control of the drum. He rarely hits the drum that hard. They dont rush the beat leading up to the "honor beats". It just plain smooth, the way it should be.

Sometimes I wonder if certain singers think that the dancers cant hear the drum. They seem to try to hit it as hard as possible. I guess they compensate poor singing with loud drumming. It does'nt even out:)


Beth 04-25-2002 05:44 PM

Thanks Brown Hornet. You hit a pet peeve. My teachers never beat the drum like they do now. You think they are trying to kill that hide again. Was good to see you at FIHAHAHA. You all sounded good. Sorry the sound system wasn't better.

CHEROSAGE 04-28-2002 03:08 AM

I would like to echo the idea that these drummers and the SINGERS Should try to dance to some of these baddly sung(drummed) songs. I Remember dancing to songs I Know well and have sung but was thrown by the bad miss beats. The problem could stem from beginning singers(drummers) sitting in on an open drum. Sometimes these guys can get carried away with the moment. They mistake the up tempo with a rush and real loud pickup. I remember when I was a youngun allowed to sit in and learn. I was instructed sometimes subtlely and othertimes not so subtlely. This was good education in the long run, though maybe not at the moment. I was taught that the honor beats were or should be rendered by the lead while the rest kept the constant beat.

Good topic and conversation. Hope the right people will see this topic and learn something from it.

Follows The Bear 04-28-2002 10:06 PM

More on rushed honor beats
I must agree with the comments made on this subject. One in particular said, to the effect, that the singers should try dancing to some of these songs. I agree wholeheartedly. Singing has made me a better dancer, and dancing has made me a better singer (note: "better" is a relative term....LOL). And never overlook the benefit of practice, practice and more practice.

SouthernDrumSinger 04-29-2002 12:26 AM

Thanks to everyone for their input. It has given me a lot to look at and think about when I listen to and sing and dance to southern drums including the one I sing with. Keep the posts coming.......this is interesting conversation as previously stated by someone who posted.

I think also when dancers are allowed to choose their drums at certain powwows they choose the northern drums because they have a more even beat......the honor beats go right with the song.....and if you don't have a good southern drum there or a good head singer, the honor beats we have been talking about trip up those dancers and they don't take well to it

but keep the replies coming.


Lumbee Pride 04-29-2002 11:01 AM

My 2 cents....

Excuse my ignorance..I am not a southern singer...but...during ladies traditional competition we are given a southern and northern song. I think thats fair, wonderful, etc..etc... I am a new Northern dancer and it is really hard during the end of a southen song to make each honor beat. This doesn't happen every time or with every drum. In fact, I first noticed this in Hollister, NC. The song was beautiful, but the honor beats were difficult...even for the southern ladies. This is just a observation from a dancer...not a "slam" or negative comment in any way. Thank you all for your songs....but please go easy on us. :)

SouthernDrumSinger 04-29-2002 02:02 PM

TO keep control of the song, I always face the arena so I can see the dancers and their reactions to the song whether it is too fast or too slow and I control the song accordingly and it still can get carried away......which I think Brown Hornet and the others are absolutely correct. It is skill and practice that fixes this problem.

Tom Iron Eagle 05-01-2002 01:11 PM

There are some wonderful responses to this subject.

Just wanted to make sure that some people do not get the wrong impression when it comes to some Southern Songs and some Southeastern Songs.

If a drum rushes or messes up the tempo and rhythm then it is a problem and needs immediate attention - we seem to be all in agreement with that.

As mentioned before though not all Southern and for that matter even Southeastern Songs have what one would call honor beats -and if they do have them, they are done differently than with Northern Songs.

Pretty much most of us can tell when a drum has good tempo and rhythm. Just because the syle of how the honor beats may be different in a Southern Song may not mean that drum has a problem with rushing or tempo or rhythm. At alot of Southern or Southeastern dances I see many Northern dancers having a hard time getting used to the difference in some of these honor beats and even some endings. Sometimes the dancers complain saying the drum is bad (and that is very possible). But at times the compliants are not warranted - the dancers is just not aquainted with a different style.

If you do alot of traveling and attend events with all kinds of drums then make sure you get aquainted with the various styles of singing and drumming. And if a drum is really rushing or if a drum is really bad then you have to make some decisions about dancing to that drum. And if you think a drum needs help or speaking to then make sure you do everything correctly or find the correct way to approach the issue.

Lumbee Pride 05-01-2002 01:43 PM

Very well said Tom! :)

Follows The Bear 05-04-2002 11:08 AM

Excellent point.
We are all there for the same reason but honor and respect are vital.
Though what I have been taught might differ from another person, I TRY to learn as much as possible about the Host's traditions and to honor them to the best of my ability. (Did that make sense?)

Gledanh Zhinga 09-17-2006 11:59 AM

On southern songs where there are three accented beats between the main and secondary verses and there is no singing at that time, some drums speed up and rush the beat.
For a dancer, this is "sucky". Period.

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