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Re: gear schmear, music is best

Hi all,

This came down the email pipe two weeks ago.

>jeez, we can be the biggest gear geeks on the planet some days!
>Somebody pleeeeez start an interesting thread about music...anything! I'd
>do it but i'm too busy and exhausted to think at the moment. anything but

I posted the following message to the list when the server was down so I
guess it got stuffed.

After my first round of ramblings about looping/repetition in classical
music I remembered another technique which I thought some of you might find


This technique was common during the medieval and rennaisance and is also
not uncommon in modern classical music.

Isorhythm occurs when you combine rhythmic patterns and pitch patterns of
different lengths.

For example
Pitch pattern is: A B C (3 events)
Rhythm pattern is: Q(quarter note) E(eighth note) E Q (4 events)

By combining these two patterns you get an interesting rhythmic effect,
similar to polyrhythm.

Since there are 3 events in one Pitch pattern and 4 events in one Rhythm
pattern you will get a macro pattern that equals the least common multiple
(LCM) of both patterns.  In this case you get a 12 event macro pattern
which consists of 3 rhythm patterns and 4 pitch patterns.

Pitch:   A B C| A  B C| A B  C| A B C|
Rhythm:  Q E E  Q| Q E  E Q| Q  E E Q|

This technique does not have to be limited to Pitch and Rhythm.  You can
apply it to any or all of the musical parameters (pitch, rhythm, volume,
timbre, position in space)

This technique is blatant looping, but by combining short looped patterns
of different lengths you get a larger more varied structure.

An example of this can be heard in Olivier Messian's orchestral work
"Turangalila Symphony" (1946-48). Messian creates this massive orchestral
work by combining looped patterns of different lengths in the context of
isorhythm and polyrhythm.  It is almost impossible to pick out the looping
patterns in this work because the patterns are rather long and embeded in a
complex polyphonic texture, but they are there.

I am not sure how one would improvise such a structure or how this relates
to looping on echoplex, jamman and the lot, but it is another example of
how looping and repetition can be used in music.

I would be interested in you thoughts about using this technique.


Hayden Porter