[linux-audio-dev] XAP: a polemic

David Gerard Matthews dgm4+ at pitt.edu
Wed Dec 18 19:10:00 UTC 2002

Tim Goetze wrote:

>>>please, please, please, ask your favourite musician friends.
>>>read good books about it. listen to indian, jazz, techno,
>>>blues, classical western, classical indian, japanese, rap,
>>>whatever music: rhythmn is integral.
Except when it isn't.

>>Well, which ones qualify?
>all of them. 
>rhythmn is always based on one integral periodic 'pulse'. if 
>time is not divisible by this atom, there is no musical time.
Which is sometimes the case in recent music of many genres.

>the float meter proposal is like using floats to count your
>>If you really *want* a bar that's shortened by a fractional beat 
>>(which is not all that unusual, even in pop music), what do you 
>>do...? How do you ensure that plugins that beat sync don't freak out 
>>when you multiply the meter to get integers?
>if you shorten, for example, 4/4 by 1/16, it's 15/16. if you
>shorten it by 1/32, it's 31/32 etc.
>if you want to shorten 4/4 by, say, 1/16 + 0.00212266328763,
>you're violating the very principle of the organization of
>musical time.
Which people do on a regular basis.  Are you familiar with the music
of Brian Ferneyhough?  Or Tristan Murail?  Or Richard Barrett?  
Or Gerard Grisey?  Or, from a completely different angle, Steve
Given the following metric pattern:
In this case, many people continue to experience the quarter note
as the pulse, both as listeners and performers.  I would teach my
music theory students to think of this as a 4-beat bar, followed
by a 1.5 beat bar, followed by a 2 beat bar, followed by a 1.75
beat bar.  I realize that some people do think of passages like
this in terms of a constantly-changing counting unit, but I
believe the majority of people out there would agree with me
on this one.

> you're better off simply inserting a new meter 
>where the shortened measure ends.
>and what seems to be the problem with beat sync? the relation 
>of the meter to TIMEBASE is part of the tempo information, so 
>all info you need, you have.
>again, i strongly recommend you do some research on music and 
>its theory and then round off your studies with some sequencer
>implementation reading, or even better, writing.
I don't know about anyone else contributing to this discussion,
but I have an M.A. in music composition and have taught
music theory on the university level.  I'll freely admit to being
ignorant about things like DSP programming, but I like to think
I know something about music theory.

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