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Quantifying microtiming patterning and variability in drum kit recordings: A method and some data
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5366-1169
2015 (English)In: Music perception, ISSN 0730-7829, E-ISSN 1533-8312, Vol. 33, no 2, 147-162 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

HUMAN PERFORMERS INTRODUCE TEMPORAL variability in their performance of music. The variability consists of both long-range tempo changes and micro-timing variability that are note-to-note level deviations from the nominal beat time. In many contexts, micro-timing is important for achieving certain preferred characteristics in a performance, such as hang, drive, or groove; but this variability is also, to some extent, stochastic. In this paper, we present a method for quantifying the microtiming variability. First, we transcribed drum performance audio files into empirical data using a very precise onset detection system. Second, we separated the microtiming variability into two components: systematic variability (SV), defined as recurrent temporal patterns, and residual variability ( RV), defined as the residual, unexplained temporal deviation. The method was evaluated using computer-performed audio drum tracks and the results show a slight overestimation of the variability magnitude, but proportionally correct ratios between SV and RV. Thereafter two data sets were analyzed: drum performances from a MIDI drum kit and real-life drum performances from professional drum recordings. The results from these data sets show that up to 65 percent of the total micro-timing variability can be explained by recurring and consistent patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 33, no 2, 147-162 p.
Keyword [en]
percussion performance, microtiming, timing pattern, groove, timing variability
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-100539DOI: 10.1525/MP.2015.33.2.147ISI: 000369438100002OAI: diva2:792599
Available from: 2015-03-04 Created: 2015-03-04 Last updated: 2016-06-02Bibliographically approved

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Madison, Guy
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Department of Psychology
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Music perception

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