Author Topic: [Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"  (Read 15579 times)

Offline Sam_Zen

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« on: January 08, 2006, 01:42:45 »
I have done some pasting from my archive of 'forum zero' of MPC.
It was a nice discussion, so maybe it has potential to continue.
Here is the data :
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
General Music - new topic :
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Sam_Zen
The use of 'odd' rhythms
Quote

Sam_Zen
With 'odd' I mean like 5/4 or the 'semi-odd' 12/8.
(I prefer to call this a cycle of 5 or 12 steps like in indian music, but that's personal)
I'm sad to see that they are rarely used, while e.g. in games they could add an extra dimension to certain scenes.

I have often made compo's like that and my advice about implementing some odd rhythm :
1) The number of steps in a pattern always should be even. (MPT's default is 64, so 2^6).
2) Most of the times a pattern contains more bars of the song than one. So the pattern is divided into 'blocks' of 4, 8, 16 or 32 steps.
3) To keep the same kind of division for editing the steps within a bar, while using an 'odd basenumber', one should set the patternlength (after choosing the max one likes it to be) to : basenumber x blocknumber.

So, if you want to write something 'in 7', while the max is the default 64 steps, the patternlength should be set to 56, which is 7 x 8. In this way each bar still has the edit-resolution of 2^n steps.
A second option to achieve this would be of course to keep the patternlength at 64 and place a 'D00' at step 55.
(a bit of wasting space, but in the ole days it was the only option possible)

I uploaded an example, written 'in eleven' (so according to those rules with a pattern-jump at 44)
here
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BooT-SectoR-ViruZ
i often wonder how people can use "odd" rhythms and make it sound nice to the normal peoples ears
i'd really like to be able to track musik in such ways, but unfortunately i'm just a dumbass 4/4 only
fukker
P.S.: are your samples public?
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "BooT-SectoR-ViruZ"
i often wonder how people can use "odd" rhythms and make it sound nice to the normal peoples ears
i'd really like to be able to track musik in such ways, but unfortunately i'm just a dumbass 4/4 only fukker

There are millions of 'normal' people who have no problem whatsoever with those rhythms, they even dance on it.
Nothing against 4/4, I use it a lot too, but it stays in fact just a piece of the potential cake.
If you are meaning the samples of the included example-tracker :
If I publish a tracker on the net, all samples are free to use.
If they are used commercially : Naming the source is a civilized thing to do.
The same conditions are valid for the song or patterns.
If you are working for a multinational : No Way.
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skilletaudio
5/4 is a fun signature to work in, 6/8 is oft noticed for being "different" but a lot of average listeners cant quite put down why.
One of my favorite electronic artists is TaQ from the DDR series of games. Some of his best tunnes even work in alternating time signatures, like 6/8-3/8. Very fun.
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "skilletaudio"
time signatures

Thanks a lot. I was looking for that expression.
Another example (not a tracker) can be found in track 14 - Oude Tijd .
Here the 'oddness' is kind of hidden, because I doubled the basic cycle of 9 into 18.
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Snu
if you want 'odd' time signatures, try listening to my song 'rant' (the module is on modplug.com or my website)... if you are going for a moody piece, its nice to fiddle with extra beats, or extra half beats.
other than that tho, ive experimented with time signatures some, but never used anything more 'odd' than 3/4.

one nice rhythmic addition is the fermata, or a held beat, which often is added at a cadence or just before it for some extra emotion. this is easy to implement with an SE4 for instance.
also, if you are going to write in a different metre than 4/4, dont forget about modplug's new feature to set the beat and measure length on a per-song basis (should be very helpful the next time i write a waltz).
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Wong_Chung_Bang
Recently I've experimented with writing in 7/4, but only for a brief introduction and mid-section.
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "Wong_Chung_Bang"
experimented with writing in 7/4, but only for a brief introduction and mid-section

My point here. These options exist, so they are as valid as 4/4, to use for a certain expression needed.
In your example odd signature is used to emphasize 'odd moments'.
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rncekel
Being myself a percussionist, I can't help saying something about this.
I don't understand why you call this rhythms 'odd'; they are in fact quite common and it is sure that you have heard them a lot of times. For example, all irish jigs are in 6/8, except slip jigs, that are in 9/8. All waltzes are in 3, 6, 9 or 12 (/4 or /Cool. You surely known "Mars", by Gustav Holst, that is a very nice 5/4 (by the way, the obstinato rhythm is a black, two eights, a black, a triplet and a black), have been used in a hundred of war documentals, was versioned in 1970 by King Crimson and in 1986 by Emerson,Lake and Powell, and could have been great for Star Wars or a game. And there are a lot of songs in other signatures, for example, you have "Seven is a jolly good time" by Egg, that has excerpts in 5/8, 7/8, 4/4 and 11/8 (I don't remember if anything else). And, of course, most jazz and "classic" music from the begining of the 20th century are in various signatures; the first 5 bars of The rite of Spring, by Stravinski, haveeach a different signature.
Folk music from south Europe use a lot of this signatures, for example, the greek music. The spanish folk dance "tzortzico" is in 5/8. And you surely know a quite curious flamenco rhythm, that was exported to America and finally got its way into "West side story"; the very famous song America is in a rhytm made by a 6/8 (I-want-to-life-in-A) and a 3/4 (me-ri-ca).
The list can go on forever. Listen carefully to the music you heard (except disco or trance music) and you will find a lot of these rhythms.
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Sam_Zen
2rncekel
You are totally right about this. To me they are common too. I am not a percussionist, but I followed a course of a year by a tabla player.. My analog synth has a logic sequencer with a cycle of max 256 steps. I can program the reset anywhere within that range. This means signatures can be way beyond normal human capabilties to produce.
The highest Tala in indian music has a cycle of 19 steps. The human mind has the need, with such long sequences, to divide it into sub-groups. So eleven will be played as : 3 + 3 + 3 + 2.
A 'beyond' example with this synth is on my site. It has a cycle of 37 steps, so it's called : No Fever .

I used 'odd' here, because of the double meaning. One is the opposite of 'even', so strictly mathematical.
The second meaning is 'strange'. For years I notice that the majority of people already thinks of a waltz as being quite 'exotic'. As you can see in this thread as well.
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rncekel
And what about using rhythms like the famous Bartok's 4/4? It is a apparently normal 4/4, but divided like 3+3+2 (the accents at the beginning of each group). And, once you have the idea, you can extended all you dare (I mean, you can mix different ways of subdividing the bar, producing very nice rhytms). The 3+3+2 is quite usual, I have heard in many songs, even some that were very commercial.
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Led Nero
I fail to see why it's important to have time signatures especially when talking about electronic music.
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Kaiten
In the style of music I come from (metal) there is tons of playing with that kind of rythms,
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "Led Nero"
I fail to see why it's important to have time signatures especially when talking about electronic music.

Quite right. As I only make electronic pieces, analog or digital, I mentioned already that I don't use the classical western time signature expression myself, because it's not very suited for electronic composing.
Dealing with clocks or steps I prefer talking about 'a cycle with a certain number of sequence-steps'.
Inside subdivisions can be a property of that cycle and could be used for certain accents in the cycle.
Quote from: "Kaiten"
In the style of music I come from (metal) there is tons of playing with that kind of rythms,

Good point. I forgot that. Metal is one the very few styles in popular music where odd signatures are frequently used.
So, as a last example I uploaded a piece, made with samples of the band Fear Factory, here .
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PPH
Interesting you people mention this. I was thinking about the subject this week.
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BotB
Try editing the pattern length in your tracker for odd time signatures.
Fit your rythms and melodies into, let's say, 78 length (hex) for a (tataa) 7/8 (7/4) time signature.
Have used a LOT of 7/8 for me broken beats and am currently
experimenting further with jamming broken beats into 3/4.
( http://www.yomirecords.com/music/botb/botb_-_affolement_de_la_lune.mp3 )
Walz a jungle, it's at the same time an excuze to chuck more melody in it, innit.
The funny thing is that even a small difference can have such a huge
impact on your sound.
Everything non-4/4 can easily be considered odd, whilst it's no more than
simple logic to use the entire spectrum of different signatures, as every
small step to the left or right can easily result in tenthousand new tastes.
Electronic music is still in kindergarten, exploring the vast plains of musical
possibilities, which seem next to endless. Time signatures just being
another roughly "undiscovered" aspect in electronic music (with exceptions ofcourse.)
Interesting topic!
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "BotB"
Try editing the pattern length in your tracker for odd time signatures.
Fit your rythms and melodies into, let's say, 78 length (hex) for a (tataa) 7/8 (7/4) time signature.

Editing the pattern length to a useful number is the point I made at the start of this topic.
But I am afraid we have differnet views on how to solve this. If something should have a broken beat of 7, I want the pattern length to be dividable by that basic number (the 'root'). But your 78 hex is 120 decimal. This cannot be divided by 7.
Let me illustrate this view with my rule to still divide the whole pattern into blocks of 2^n steps while editing. So I set the 'row spacing' on the pattern tab default on values like 4, 8, 16, 32 etc. for adding notes.
Because this is a matter of the available resolution of editing inside a certain cycle.
One can create a beat of 7/8 by using 7 steps in the pattern, but one can also create such a beat with 4x7=28 steps, played 4 times as fast, In this case the resolution in time-moment to place a note is four times higher.
That's why I advise a patternlength of 56 or 112 in this case.
Quote from: "BotB"
Everything non-4/4 can easily be considered odd, whilst it's no more than
simple logic to use the entire spectrum of different signatures, as every
small step to the left or right can easily result in tenthousand new tastes.

Great. Simple logic it is. Why stick to that four one all the time while the system offers millions of other possibilities ?
Quote from: "BotB"
Electronic music is still in kindergarten, exploring the vast plains of musical
possibilities, which seem next to endless.

After 40 years working with it, yes indeed, it's the kindergarten stadium. Only few things has been explored.
An aspect that people working with computers and other machines should be more aware of.
I have come to the conclusion, that the main reason why this exploration is progressing so slow, is because 'electronic music' still has to fit inside the total 'music tree' (with its classical concept of human effort to produce the final sound in the composition). This results in substantial restrictions of development in a lot of areas.
A second 'sound-tree' besides that huge one of 'music', with its own conventions, would be very convenient.
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Category
I really liked 'botb_-_affolement_de_la_lune.mp3', although the pity was the lacking of any ID3 tags info.
I recognize certain common ways of composition here, so I like to give you a view to emphasisize this concept :
here
Electronic compososition should be made free of the limitatations of non-electronoc concepts.
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13/8
Thanks for the kind words..!
Yet, despite your undoubtly good intentions, I'm doing wotever I wanna do with my music, thank you
Quote
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BotB
Thanks !! Made that track in renoise.
Hmmm, a biological explanation sounds very possible .. yeah, now I'm
wondering why it is 4/4 that's most commonly used nowadays ..
What if we were fed 7/6 since day one .. ? Mayhaps we were experimenting
with 4/4 rythms instead .. heh ..!

To Sam-Zen .. I believe that classical western notation are just as suited
for electronic music as anything else. As long as its music, anything should
be equally possible, it's a matter of wot gets you going and thank god
tastes differ. Result is millions and millions pieces of unique, inventive,
interesting, boring, repetitive, chaotic, noisey, terrible, awesome and
whatnot music.
No rules.
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "BotB"
I believe that classical western notation are just as suited
for electronic music as anything else.  

I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing here. Notation is something else as a result. I don't see a proper classical notation for a ringmodulated sound having two sources, or a sample in a bidi-loop. Or an octave divided into 48 notes. Sure, classical notation can cover some things, that can be useful, but the main part of electronic music can't be covered by it, especially if you give it its own field of possibilities. Let alone things made with analog synths.
No rules, you say.You're right of course, but I think every individual sets his or her own rules in the work.
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BotB
Aaah okay I see your point! Yeah I misunderstood you there ..
I guess MIDI could be treated like an electronic musical notation though.
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "BotB"
I guess MIDI could be treated like an electronic musical notation though.  

Quite right. As does the pattern tab of OMPT.
Notice the difference in concept of notation on a computer instead of on paper in the classical way :
The classical score reads horizontally in time, while on this digital tool it runs vertically, which seems much more logical and suited for its environment.
Another basic difference is the fact, that electronic instruments are autophonic, meaning no need for any human physical effort to produce a sound, the machine does the work. So, writing down all the notes of some sequence being repeated for 128 times becomes quite senseless. The importance of notation of the significant things in a compo shifts more to notation of the points of change in  behaviour, e.g. a speed change, rather than the note-content itself.
Another one : In classical paper notation each staff of the score has a fixed instrument at the beginning to play the song.
As the horizontal paper staff can be compared to the vertical channel of a pattern, another situation appears :
In this case, the current instrument playing can be replaced by another one in the channel during a compo, or be drastcally changed in nature.
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Gopher
Well, you're comparing right with down, human versus computer. I don't think the comparison of something people have been doing for 300+ years with what a computer is programmed to do is really much of a comparison.
Just think of what would have happened if trackers were written so that they scrolled sideways instead of down?
/me shudders
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BotB
Hahahaha!
Real men sequence vertically
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Kcirr3d
I agree, we shouldn't compare classical notation with any form of
digital notation .. simply because electronic music isn't classical ..
and vice versa.. and the other way around.. and so on..
You don't use guitar tabs to play piano either.
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Led Nero
But you could...
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BotB
Led Nero wrote:
But you could...
Exactly my point.
No comparison doesn't mean no fusion.
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Relabsoluness
BotB wrote:
I agree, we shouldn't compare classical notation with any form of digital notation .. simply because electronic music isn't classical ..
and vice versa.. and the other way around.. and so on..
You don't use guitar tabs to play piano either. Wink
But as the question has partly been, at least the way I see it, whether classical notation is good, or even possible, for using with certain (electronic) music styles, the comparison is quite relevant. And one might find problems trying to define reasonably what is 'classical' and what 'electronic' music.
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Sam_Zen
I'm very pleased the way this thread develops in a interesting discussion, I must say.
2Relabsoluness
Nice points. I think of the question about 'classical' and or 'electronic' music this :
If someone make a classical composition, with classical rules involved, by means of electronic instruments, to me it's still 'classical' music. The way of composing is exactly the same, like e.g. pieces of Vangelis or Stockhausen.
My point here : maybe electronic composers should be more aware of the fact that they are working just in another discipline of the music-tree, so with its own conventions.
Analog to the situation in visual art, where nobody demands of a photographer to follow the rules of painting, while still both disciplines result in something to look at. In this case to listen to.
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Led Nero
So what's this free-time? In the end the notes are quantized some way even if the time unit is so small that humans can't understand it.
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Sam_Zen
Quote from: "Led Nero"
So what's this free-time? In the end the notes are quantized some way even if the time unit is so small that humans can't understand it.

I suppose Gopher means, that a piece has no evident rhythmic elements in it. Of course notes are quantized, a tracker runs on constant ticks and steps. Even the patterns are a steady repetition, but sounds can easily pass the transitions.
Maybe this "Dry Dreams" is an example : HTML-version (plugin needed) or, just to DL the plain MOD
Not only that humans can't distinguish single notes any more if things are run too fast, the same brain frontier is also valid if things are too slow. If one pattern has a duration of several minutes, it becomes impossible te recognize any repetition.
Frontiers are getting close with something like this : Fast Air - 5 repetitions, which 1 is different ? (Not a tracker, made with a Fractal Music Generator rendering MIDI).
To me it is not a matter of comparison between classical and electronic, as a match to choose 'the best'.
They exist both and parallel. OMPT still uses as a note-notation the expression E# etc. Fine by me, since the octave consists of twelve notes. But lots of electronic things can't be covered by the classical notation, or only by using inefficient tricks. It just hasn't got enough syntax to describe it properly.
An example starts right next to such a E#-note. There the octave range of the instrument is set.
Most acoustical instruments have quite a limited range of notes. This can easily be covered by 5 hor. lines plus an extra set with a lower key.
Now, in a tracker module, any instrument has a range of 8 octaves .. In this case a simple column for an octave-number is much more relevant, than writing several pieces of line on top of below the existing five.
Another basic difference in properties is the fact, that a classical notation declares the instument of every single staff at the beginning, and you can be sure that the last note of that staff still is played by the same instrument.
Not with trackers. If you translate the hor. staff into the vert. channel, all kind of different instruments could play a role in that channel, only not simultaneously.
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22 - Gopher
Free time as in a passage that has no apparent rhythmic basis.
I'm not sure what the point of this discussion is, unless it's just for the sake of discussion! Wink Standard traditional notation is used in many places because of it's familiarity and flexibility to most cases. It is, also, pretty quick to write manually (which was probably an issue before 1900). So, for most things, especially acoustic instruments like you find in a traditional orchestra, it works fine.
On the other hand, I agree, for a lot of electronic music which must be interpreted much more strictly (esp. w.r.t. modulation, various other things) and involve a lot more data, sure, it's not great. And, on a *computer*, a tracker-style interface is on par with a MIDI keyboard (each one having their own benefits and disadvantages in different places).
It's like discussing why are people using a MIDI keyboard instead of a MIDI guitar to input stuff. I seem to remember reading an editorial about this in an SoS magazine a few months back.
At the end of the day, it's all about suitability. If something isn't suitable, something else is found/made.
Led Zero: On the subject of quantisation, you can argue that digital can be every bit as good as analogue, as long as you have a high enough resolution. I deal with this problem every day (albeit in a different field).


This is all I managed to save.
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Offline LPChip

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 14:29:09 »
Nice. I've changed your post a bit, putting all the messages in quotes. It was barelly readable with a ++ as seperation, so I've searched and replaced all ++ with [/quote]
Quote
and fixed the beginning and end. :)
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Sam_Zen

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2006, 01:32:03 »
2LPChip
Thanks. I added the ++ consistent and intentionally, to give the opportunity to find / replace the string to fit into the normal forum format.
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Offline LPChip

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2006, 05:22:23 »
Quote from: "Sam_Zen"
2LPChip
Thanks. I added the ++ consistent and intentionally, to give the opportunity to find / replace the string to fit into the normal forum format.


I guess you were succesfull then? :P
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline apple-joe

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2006, 10:50:44 »
One of the best and most interesting discussions I've read in a long time. I've just downloaded the song examples and I'll listen any minute.

Offline DavidN

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2006, 18:16:12 »
I'd forgotten about this. If you're interested in one more example, the song I mentioned as having brief 7/4 sections was eventually completed, but is languishing here in the Newdir of ModArchive.

(Edited about four times to get the URL code right, and to reword to make it look as little like spam as possible)

Offline Sam_Zen

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2006, 02:39:01 »
2 apple-joe
Thanks for the nice reaction. And, as I see with your new topic "Mods/interesting time signature", I guess you like to continue this thread..
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Offline apple-joe

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2006, 13:17:39 »
Definately. I've become obsessed with time signatures lately. However, this does by NO means imply that I know what I should know already.

I've read about the most common information ie. how 3/4 differ from 4/4 etc., but when in Modplug I tend to forget about the rhythm theory.

Offline LPChip

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2006, 15:18:35 »
Quote from: "apple-joe"
Definately. I've become obsessed with time signatures lately. However, this does by NO means imply that I know what I should know already.

I've read about the most common information ie. how 3/4 differ from 4/4 etc., but when in Modplug I tend to forget about the rhythm theory.


It helps to configure modplug tracker to suit the needs for a particular style.

For instance, a 3/4 time signature can easilly be tracked if you set the number of rows to 48, and set the row highlighting to 4, 12.  Try it, and you'll see that trackign a 3/4 time signature becomes relativelly easy. You're kinda forced to track 3/4 that way.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline apple-joe

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2006, 15:27:17 »
OK, thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it.

Offline Sam_Zen

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2006, 00:24:55 »
2 LPChip
Exactly my point. 3/4 means setting 48 rows, and dividing the pattern vertically into elements of powers of two.
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Offline LPChip

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2006, 12:25:35 »
Quote from: "Sam_Zen"
2 LPChip
Exactly my point. 3/4 means setting 48 rows, and dividing the pattern vertically into elements of powers of two.


Yes, but to make it even easier, setting the highlight on rows really does the job.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline apple-joe

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2006, 13:57:00 »
Quote from: "Sam_Zen"
2 LPChip
Exactly my point. 3/4 means setting 48 rows, and dividing the pattern vertically into elements of powers of two.


Elements of two? How come? I thought 3/4 was all about the even dam-ta-ta!
feel, in other words elements of THREE?

Offline Sam_Zen

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2006, 02:11:28 »
Basically you're right, but then you wouldn't have space to put six following notes in those three steps/rows.

It's more a matter of resolution. How many subdivisions you create inside each of those three steps.

So, if you create 2 rows for each of the three steps of the basic bar, you have 6 rows to edit (thus introducing the 'powers of two').

Important aspect here : if you want a song with, in this case a double resolution, is the fact, that you have to set the playback speed of the song double too, to get the same result, while having a higher resolution of note-editing.
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Offline apple-joe

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[Recap] Music dept - "The use of 'odd' rhythms"
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2006, 11:05:42 »
Sam Zen - you seem to have a good understanding of music. You don't happen to have a blues shuffle mod laying around, do you? It'd surely be an interesting listen.