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Author David Luebbert
Posted 3/28/11; 12:21:02 AM
Msg# 5770 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next 5769/5771
Reads 120755

Premier: A new orchestrated ensemble rhythm. You can watch as it's built a part at a time

Here's a fully orchestrated three part rhythm loop that uses two drummers and a bell player, a five beat cycle which I wrote in about 90 minutes time when it was still Sunday evening a few hours ago.

I liked what I was hearing so I recorded the intermediate stages of the rhythm in the Rhythm Web. If you look in the Sunday night Rhythm Web log starting with the 10:07:27 pm log entry, you can see the rhythm being built a part at a time and then see how I revised the bell part as the last change to the rhythm at 11:22:35 PM to complete the ensemble.

The first part of the loop was invented for me by Play Rhythm. That first pattern was expressed using only 1 and 0 symbols and wasn't logged. The Play Rhythm request that invented that pattern for me, I submitted around 10:03 pm.

After I heard it and decided I liked it, I prepared the rhythm for orchestration by first replacing all 0 characters in the description with asterisks. Then I substituted different combinations of B (for the drum sound that drummers call Bass), O (for the drum sound that drummers call Tone. The symbol used is O because that symbol is a diagram of where you hit the drum outer rim with your fingers to make that sound), and S (for Slap)

Because the default drum pitch assignments for B,O, and S sounded good to my ear, I had the orchestrated version for the first part ready four minutes later.

I invented the second part by ear and by hand, by finding a hit pattern that fit with the first, that was expressed only using 1 and 0 symbols, using only the generic rhythm sound that a 1 symbol causes to play. Then I figured out the specific drum hits I wanted to use.

Finally, I decided to use a 3-2-3 pattern twice during the first four beats of the bell pattern, and then figured out what needed to play in beat 5 to make the bell pattern wrap back to the beginning in a pleasant way.

I wasn't so lucky with the way the second drum part and the bell part sounded using the default drum pitch assignments, so I had to choose the sounds by hand that would be played for those parts. I added inst2 and inst3 parameters to the rhythm URL to explicitly specify drum sounds that would be heard as Bass, Tone, and a bell stroke.

The process of deciding exactly what drum pitches I should use that would be properly interpreted as Bass, Tone and Bell, was the hardest part of writing this loop. That gap in the log between 10:07 and 11:03 was devoted almost entirely to that experimentation to make sure the second rhythm part was properly enunciated by good sounding rhythm instrument pitches.

The MIDI drum kit that's provided in the Standard MIDI instrument sets that web browsers use is a little deficient of sufficient tones to make it seem that separate drums of the right type are playing. It's also a little harder to do because these different kinds of drum sound are assigned to MIDI note names without any apparent pattern, making it necessary to do experiments to figure out the correct MIDI pitch names to use.

As we have more experience with Play Rhythm, we'll eventually settle on default orchestrations for second and third voices that will rarely require tweaking when you want to slap out a new rhythm.

Even after I thought I was finished, I had to exchange the bass and tone assignments of the hits in the second part so that the drum pitches used would be properly identified in the box notation that is produced. I didn't change the sound of the loop, just changed how the rhythm was notated.

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Last update: Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:41 AM.