July 24th 2016
Today I went to a music festival on a farm and noticed a strange phenomenon.
I was sat watching the bands whilst, as i often do, people watching. The people on the rows of chairs in front of me were all tapping their right foot in perfect synchronicity with the beat of the drum. When I noticed it, I looked around and other people were doing it too.
I know that “people tapping feet to music” is not exactly a eureka moment. That happens all the time, but it’s kind of the fact that it’s so common that is the interesting bit to me.
It’s a natural reaction to music, to try and tap or nod or bop along to the beat. But why? Natural reactions, those that your body does instinctively, are usually ways of avoiding danger. Touch a hot pan? Your body pulls your hand away without you telling it to. Bee flies at your face? Close your eyes. Ball flies at your face? Duck. (Or bullet header)
But with music, your body is telling you to tap. And it’s weird, this innate and primal instinct to bounce to the music. I’m rhythmically retarded, so it’s hard for me. I can’t do it with my feet so I do it by tapping the tips of my fingers into my palm like I’m playing some sort of handheld piano.
As I looked around the field I saw everyone doing it. Consciously, subconsciously, and – in the case of the guy asleep in the hay – unconsciously. Everyone tapped along, in Union. In harmony. A metronome of trainers, of heels on grass.
It’s like dancing, but concentrated to a single foot, finger or hand. And I don’t really get why.
Until tomorrow, tap tap tap your toes to the beat.