Rhythm and Transforms

People commonly respond to music by keeping time, tapping to the beat or swaying to the pulse. Underlying such ordinary motions is an act of cognition that is not easily reproduced in a computer program or automated by machine. The first few chapters of Rhythm and Transforms ask -- and answer -- the question: How can we build a device that can "tap its foot" along with the music?
The second half of Rhythm and Transforms describes the impact of such a "beat finding machine" on music theory and on the design of sound processing electronics such as musical synthesizers, drum machines, and special effects devices. The beat finder provides a concrete basis for a discussion of the relationship between the cognitive processing of temporal information and the mathematical techniques used to describe and understand regularities in data. The book also introduces beat-based signal processing techniques, methods of musical recomposition, and new kinds of musicological analysis.

There is an annotated table of contents along with the complete first chapter in browser-friendly format. Or go directly to a brief description of each of the chapters:

At each stage, numerous sound examples (over 400 minutes in total) provide concrete evidence that the discussion remains grounded in perceptual reality. Jump ahead to the sound teasers for an overview of the kinds of sound manipulations that Rhythm and Transforms enables.

This "photo" of Scott Joplin is a visual collage composed of many small pictures; click on Rag Bag #1 or Rag Bag #2 for an auditory analog: a song made of many small songs. Construction of such sound collages is discussed in detail in Chapter 10: Musical Composition and Recomposition.

Or, perhaps you'd prefer a quick overview of the sound examples currently on the web? Try these. More complete listings are by chapter, though only a small percentage of the contents of Rhythm and Tranforms CD fits here on the website

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Rhythm and Transforms is now available! One place is Amazon.com....

This page has been translated by Laura Mancini into Spanish, by Suzanna Whittle into Ukrainian, by Ashna Bhatt into Thai, by Zlatan Dimitrov into Bulgarian, by Maximilian Neumann into German, by Martin Aus into Estonian, and by Sherali Niyazova into Uzbek.