Yes, I’m having another “ooooh, shiny!” moment, but what a way to start a bittersweet, socially-distanced Tuesday . . .
There is a reason why the music of camel cultures is rhythmically different than the music of horse cultures. (The music of Spain is a blend of the two cultures.) Horses walk by moving the hind foot that is diagonal to the front foot that just stepped — left front, right hind, right front, left hind. This gait produces a steady 1-2-3-4 beat = 4/4 time. It meshes seamlessly with the 1-2-1-2 = 2/4 time of a person walking. You hear this rhythmic pattern all through the music of Western culture. But there are three animals that have a unique walking gait — they walk to the beat of a different drum, if you will. The front and back legs on the same side move instead of on the diagonal — right rear, right front, left rear, left front. Those three animals are the giraffe, the cat*, and — the camel.
Compare the rhythm of the horse:
with the rhythm of the camel:
Horses rock with a front to back motion as they walk (just like a rocking horse); camels sway with a side to side motion as they walk — riding a camel for the first time actually makes some people seasick! But listen to the sway in the deep drum beat.
Compare it to that good-ol’ Human two-step:
*Remember that Henry Mancini Pink Panther theme? That da-dum da-dum figure that keeps repeating throughout -- It's the rhythm that a cat's feet would make if you could hear their silent tread.