Alex McLean

Making music with text

Rhythm space

by Alex on April 18, 2008

I’m working with Jamie Forth on ideas around spaces of rhythm. Here’s a demo (which might not work in feed readers):

[kml_flashembed movie="" height="300" width="400" bgcolor="#000000" /]

The space has two quality dimensions, “intensity” (X) and “disorder” (Y). Drum patterns are arranged along these dimensions, so more intense ones are towards the left and more ordered ones towards the top.

Draw a line from a high hat to a kick drum. If you draw a short line the rhythms will be more homogenous. Certain angles have certain feels to them. Maybe. It seems a nice way of playing with polymetric rhythms as vectors anyway.

The demo by the way is coded in haxe and compiled to flash. The source code is here.

10 thoughts on “Rhythm space

  1. Gustaf says:


    Could polyrhytms (irrational rhytms) fit into this? Perhaps a “snap to grid” functionality that you can turn of if you want more “non western” rhytms? Just a suggestion.. :)

  2. Alex says:

    Yes, good thought! Pattern duration could be an extra dimension, allowing you to mix and match patterns of different durations. Or you could make a pattern out of pulses out of different lengths, and arrange all the possible polyrhythmic patterns along a single dimension.

  3. deafbybeheading says:

    No workee in Firefox / Ubuntu 7.10 / Flash v9.0.115.0 (debug, but that shouldn’t matter)… All I see is a black screen.

  4. Alex says:

    Strange, that’s about the same as me, although I have an earlier flash ( I’ll do some more testing…

  5. Peej says:

    Same here, nothing. I get a black box, I draw a red line on it, and that is it.

    Firefox 3 beta 4, Windows XP, Flash 9.

  6. troels says:

    jQuery is not defined
    [Break on this error] jQuery(document).ready(function() {
    contact-form-7.js (line 1)

  7. Shae Erisson says:

    Yeah, same for me. Black box where I can draw a red line, but no sound.

    FireBug says jQuery is not defined.

  8. Shae Erisson says:

    The flash applet works once I post a comment.

    Nifty! Now I just want to be able to download these beats into a tracker or something so I can actually layer stuff on top of them.

  9. Anonymouse says:

    Same here, a black box and a red line but no sound on FF3b5, latest Flash 9

  10. krio says:

    first: Well it works perfectly in Safari (3.1.1) on mac os leapard.

    second: this is truly great stuff! I love it. if you could hook a sampler onto this with all kind of sounds… unlimited possibilities..

    I wonder if you know about the multi-touch screens a lot of peaple are working on. It woud be a great way for people to make music together… with just drawing lines!


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