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Author David Luebbert
Posted 1/6/11; 11:57:16 PM
Msg# 5790 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next 5789/5791
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Advantages of using the SongTrellis playRhythm specification language to notate rhythms

Extremely quick feedback to hear what a rhythm idea sounds like

The rhythm submitted is translated into a downloadable MIDI sequence within a fraction of a second by the SongTrellis playRhythm service. Such MIDI sequences will be performed automatically by properly configured web browsers as the playRhythm reply page loads.

Music score and box notation is produced and viewable in the web page that performs the rhythm.

In the same instant that the MIDI performance is generated, a music score for the rhythm is rendered as a downloadable and printable JPG format image.

Also, if the rhythm notation is in a simple enough format (without bracketed patterns that subdivide or scale a tick), the rhythm box notation that hand drummers in America and Europe use to notate a rhythm is produced. The procedure to interpret box notation is so easily taught, experience shows that musical neophytes can quickly be taught to read and perform rhythms notated in this manner.

Rhythms from printed musical scores and those expressed in box notation can be quickly transcribed into playRhythm notation

Extremely easy to vary an idea and quickly audition the variation

A rest tick within a rhythm can be changed to cause a sound to be produced, by changing a 0 symbol in its description to a 1. A hit in a given rhythm can be silenced by changing a 1 symbol in its description to a 0.

Adding or removing a 1 or 0 symbol from a rhythm description, changes the way that a beat or sub-tick subdivides implicitly and immediately varies the meaning of the rhythm to the listener.

Inserting a bracketed description at some point in a rhythm, causes a burst of rhythmic activity to take place at that instant in the rhythm. Removing a bracketed subexpression simplifies a rhythm and reduces the perception of intensified activity at that point in the rhythm. Moving a bracket to new beats or new tick positions, varies the sensation produced by the rhythm.

Applying a scaling factor to a bracketed sub-pattern stretches that sub-pattern over a specified number of beats or sub-ticks, which makes it very easy to produce polyrhythmic effects, where differently subdivided rhythm cycles play against one another.

Easy to produce, vary and experience polyrhythmic ideas

Many find that learning to hear and perform music that uses such ideas is difficult. Since a playRhythm interpreter can perform such ideas immediately, listeners and performers can improve their understanding of and intuition for these kinds of rhythm ideas.

Varying the scaling factor in front of a bracketed sub-pattern in the notation, produces and varies these kinds of effects.

Easy to produce hand drummer's box notation, when a rhythm is expressed using the simpler forms of the notation. Easy to resolve nested, bracketed notation into simple form via software.

The more complex, bracketed notation (possibly nested) can be resolved by software into simpler notation that is box notation expressible, at the cost of increasing the number of subdivisions that must be used to accurately express a complicated rhythm.

The bookkeeping necessary to vary a rhythm on paper using music notation or using a music editor is expensive in time and mental calculation and is prone to error.

If a performer or composer wishes to experiment with rhythms that use varied subdivisions of beats or sub-beats or different levels of subdivision within the same pattern, they have to mentally do a large amount of fractional arithmetic for each note in the pattern to properly represent it notationally. It's extremely easy to count incorrectly, so that the rhythm that they have in mind is misstated. This can easily take several minutes to write down, even with software assistance.

Producing more instances of a complicated rhythm, can require a prodigious feat of memory to reproduce the proper sequence of durations, or more frequently requires using the first notation of the idea as a model, which can be difficult to follow visually.

Scaling a rhythm to stretch or shrink an idea's total duration using normal music notation also requires lots of mental calculation, that can be accomplished in the playRhythm notation by changing an integer scaling factor to a new value.

Many characteristics of a rhythm or rhythm ensemble are immediately apparent and easily extractable by examination of the notation.

It becomes easy to notice the similarity and differences between rhythm patterns. Noticing the location and density of 1 or 0's immediately gives a reader some idea of the activity and complexity of a rhythm. Once one becomes aware of common motifs that occur in specifications, these ideas become memorable, a kind of rhythm alphabet, which suggests related or contrasting ideas that could be added to a rhythm.

When such notation is available, it's much easier to mentally picture how a rhythm goes

The playRhythm notation expresses an idea in a much smaller visual space, than when it is spread across an inch or two of music notation. It becomes possible to recognize common motifs that can be recognized as blocks within playRhythm notation, that are easier to memorize.

A rhythm's notation can itself be used to name and index a rhythm automatically.

Many more rhythms can be invented, than can easily be named. It's true that some patterns become known as parts of well-known ensemble rhythms or as the basis of particular performance styles and acquire independent names, but its laborious work to coin an adequate name for a rhythm that is newly discovered.

Listing a rhythm as a sequence of durations is lengthy, redundant, tedious to read, hard to mentally interpret, and hard to memorize. Also, such an expression can be scaled to fit different duration schemes in any number of ways, which makes it difficult to canonically identify when a particular rhythm idea has been invoked.

The playRhythm notation is compact, suitable for display within a web form or the user interface of music editing software. Characteristics of the rhythm can be noticed by easy inspection of the notation, and it is much easier to recognize motifs within such notation, which aids memorization and mental or computer assisted recall.

A particular orchestration of a rhythm can easily be translated into canonical format using 1 and 0 symbols, so that different ways of orchestrating a rhythm don't obscure its underlying identity.

Since the expression of a rhythm is expressed textually, it becomes easy to search via search engines and using text search within application programs

When music is only represented is music notation or as a musical performance it's difficult, quite expensive, and frequently impossible for software to reach inside those representations to detect features within a piece. It's extremely valuable to have a parallel expression of a piece in the text domain and manipulable using the extensive text search and transformation software facilities that are available via the web and on personal computers.

Such rhythm specifications can easily be zipped together with sequences of rules that specify pitch sequences or pre-listed pitch sequences via software to produce new melodies

This kind of capability to zip pitch sequences with a collection of rhythmic ideas increases the number of ideas a composer or performer can audition per unit time as they invent new musical compositions, increasing the flow of ideas that they consider for inclusion in their piece.

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Last update: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:00 AM.