10 Oct 2013: Microtiming in African Rhythm

Prof. Justin London (Carleton College, Minnesota / Research Associate, Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge) led the discussion, with reading based on his latest research on cross-cultural perspectives on microtiming.

The group read two short papers by Justin London and Rainer Polak written for the International Symposium on Performance Science: ‘Mande ensemble drumming – an introduction to Ngòn’; and ‘Microtiming in Ngòn: Categorical production and perception of a non-isochronous meter.’

Metrical implications in this Malian emsemble drumming style are interesting from a rhythm cognition perspective. These point to a non-isochronous basic subdivision, but one which leads to a very stable, unambiguous eight-beat metre (composed of two half-cycles).

Matching the cross-cultural research interests of several EMPRes members, we were particularly interested in the audio data collection and analysis methods for this research.

Page 3 of the circulated draft: “Author RP made field audio and video recordings of these performances with each drum separately miked. Vegas Pro 11 (Sony) was used for video and audio editing, and Soundforge Pro 10 (Sony) and Wavelab 6 (Steinberg) were used for additional audio editing and onset detection. Timings were checked and markers for each onset inserted by hand. Marker timepoints (running milliseconds) were then converted to text files and then imported into Excel for data cleanup and organization, and then into  PASW Statistics (18.0) for analysis.”

About Nikki

Nikki is Senior Lecturer in Music at Edinburgh University.
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