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Digital Expression and Representation of Rhythm

Renney, Nathan; Gaster, Benedict R.


Nathan Renney
Graduate Tutor in Computere Science - Artificial Intelligence

Benedict Gaster
Associate Professor in Physical Computing


Music provides a means to explore time by sequencing musical events in a seemingly endless and expressive way. This potential often far exceeds the ability of digital systems to enable composers and performers to explore musical time, perhaps due to the influence of Western music on implementation or maybe due to the challenges involved in the notation of music itself. In this paper we look at ways to explore time within a musical context, looking to create tangible examples and methods for exploring complex rhythmic relationships using digital systems. We draw on the approach for describing sequences in terms of cycles, inspired by the live coding language Tidal Cycles. A simple Domain Specific Language (DSL) is described, in order to realize a Digital Musical Instrument (DMI) that facilitates performing with polyrhythm in a intuitive and tactile way. This highlights the use of DSLs for the design of DMIs. Further, an abstraction for representing sequences of musical events on a digital system is provided, which facilitates complex rhythmic relationships (namely, polyrhythm and polymeter) and extends to handle modulation of time itself.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Sep 18, 2019
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
APA6 Citation Renney, N., & Gaster, B. R. (2019, September). Digital Expression and Representation of Rhythm. Paper presented at Audio Mostly
Keywords Sequencing; Rhythm; Music; Time; Polyrhythm; Polymeter; DSL; DMI


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