Rhythm Rhythmic structure in visual art and design are often described in terms borrowed from music vocabulary. The connection between visual rhythms and musical rhythms can be more than simile or metaphor. In some cases the visual rhythms composed by an artist seems to resonate with memories or associations in our senses. With visual experience actually stimulates one of our other senses, this effect is called kinesthetic empathy. Visual rhythm: rhythm as a design principle is based on repetition. Repetition, as an element of visual unity, is exhibited in some manner by almost every work of art. However, rhythm involves a clear repetition of elements that are the same or only slightly modified. Shapes and repetitions We may speak of the rhythmic repetition of colors or textures, but most often we think of rhythm in the context of shapes and their arrangement. In music some rhythms are called legato or connecting and flowing. Legato: a connecting and flowing rhythm. Rhythm is a basic characteristic of nature. The pattern of the seasons, of day and nigh, of the tides and even of the movements of the planets, all exhibits a regular rhythm. This rhythm consists of successive patterns in which the same elements reappear in a regular order. In a design or painting this would be termed an alternating rhythm. Alternating rhythm: A rhythm that consists of successive patterns in which the same elements reappear in a regular order. The motifs alternate consistently with one another to produce a regular sequence. Converging patterns Another type of rhythm is called progression or progressive rhythm. The rhythm involves repetition, but repetition of a shape that changes in a regular manner. There is a feeling of sequential pattern. This type of rhythm is most often achieved with progressive variation of the size of a shape, though its color value, or texture could be varying element. Progressive rhythm: repetition of a shape that changes in a regular pattern. The most complex rhythmic structure we can ascribe to an artwork, or musical piece for that matter, is a polyrhythmic structure. This overlay se rhythmic patterns produces a complex result, even if the parts are simple. Check p 122 Polyrhythmic rhythm: a complex pattern employing more than one rhythm or beat.