It’s hand jiving time―time to break out your 3-lined white gloves, just like the kind Mickey and Mario wear (the kind Hamburger Helper Helping Hand is). Roll over the three hands below from left to right. Try it slow. Try it fast. Try it backwards. To get a canter rolling, you’ll need to make counterclockwise circles.
This classic hand jive beat consists of a snap on each hand (also called a fillip), followed by a clap using the palm and opisthenar (the front and back of the hand). The snaps are a duplet of 16th notes on the up-beat, and the clap is an 8th note on the down-beat. When carnies and other street performers execute this maneuver, the beat is fast and even, like that of a horse canter.
The Snappy Slap Hand Canter is a staple of hambone, juba, and all manner of habile dance. It even has lyrics set to it, “badda bing badda boom”, a phrase borrowed from Percussionese, making the Hand Canter a kind of song; a song that was once an animal drum beat.
Like whistling, hand jiving helps stave off ennui, sublimate our darkest of Biological F’s, and sounds really good too. Check out this scene from Micmacs to hear how a pro performs the Hand Canter.
Hey, horses wrote that song.