simply rhythmic


Senior Member
Can one say
a. The piece was simply rhythmic.
instead of
b. The piece was rhythmically simple.
c. The piece was rhythmic in a simple way.

The sentences are mine.

My feeling is that (a) does not mean the same as (b) and (c).

Many thanks.
  • azz

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much Cagey.

    Let us say I listen to a piece of music and I find that it is not rhythmically complex. I want to express that idea using the word 'simple' as opposed to the word 'complex'. If I say it was not rhythmically complex, it might have negative connotations. My feeling is that in such a context I could use (b) and (c) but not (a). Is that correct?

    Many thanks.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    a. The piece was simply rhythmic. -> the piece was absolutely/extremely [and delightfully] rhythmic. In BE at least, the word 'simply' is often used (usually higher register) as an intensifier in the sense of purely, perfectly, solely, etc.

    C: "How was your evening at the concert?"
    D: "Simply perfect - it could not have been better."

    Your examples b and c do still have a small possibility of being seen as negative, and you will need an adjective to set that aside:

    The rhythm had a pleasing (or suitable adjective) simplicity.

    or rephrased
    The rhythm had the advantage of simplicity.

    or (using a negative)
    The rhythm was uncomplicated/ unpretentious/ not overwrought, etc.
    Last edited:
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