Timing Is Everything . . . Or Is It? Investigating Timing and Sound Interactions in the Performance of Groove-Based Microrhythm
AbstractThis thesis investigates the expressive means through which musicians well versed in groove-based music shape the timing of a rhythmic event, with a focus on the interaction between produced timing and sound features. In three performance experiments with guitarists, bassists, and drummers, I tested whether musicians systematically manipulate acoustic factors such as duration, intensity, and volume when they want to play with a specific microrhythmic style (pushed, on-the-beat, or laid-back). The results show that all three groups of instrumentalists indeed played pushed, on-the-beat, or laid-back relative to the reference pulse and in line with the instructed microrhythmic styles, and that there were systematic and consequential sound differences. Guitarists played backbeats with a longer duration and darker sound in relation to pushed and laid-back strokes. Bassists played pushed beats with higher intensity than on-the-beat and laid-back strokes. For the drummers, we uncovered different timing–sound combinations, including the use of longer duration (snare drum) and higher intensity (snare drum and hi-hat), to distinguish both laid-back and pushed from on-the-beat strokes. The metronome as a reference pulse led to less marked timing profiles than the use of instruments as a reference, and it led in general to earlier onset positions as well, which can perhaps be related to the phenomenon of “negative mean asynchrony.” We also conducted an in-depth study of the individual drummers’ onset and intensity profiles using hierarchical cluster analyses and phylogenetic tree visualizations and uncovered a diverse range of strategies. The results support the research hypothesis that both temporal and sound-related properties contribute to how we perceive the location of a rhythmic event in time. I discuss these results in light of theories and findings from other studies of the perception and performance of groove, as well as research into rhythm and microrhythmic phenomena such as perceptual centers and onset asynchrony/anisochrony.
List of papers
|Paper I Guilherme Schmidt Câmara, Kristian Nymoen, Olivier Lartillot, and Anne Danielsen, Effects of instructed timing on electric guitar and bass sound in groove performance, in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 147(2), 1028–1041 (2020). The paper is included in the thesis in DUO, and also available at: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0000724|
|Paper II Guilherme Schmidt Câmara, Kristian Nymoen, Olivier Lartillot, and Anne Danielsen, Timing Is Everything . . . or Is It? Effects of Instructed Timing Style, Reference, and Pattern on Drum Kit Sound in Groove-Based Performance, in Music Perception 38(1), 1–26 (2020). The paper is included in the thesis in DUO, and also available at: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2020.38.1.1|
|Paper III Guilherme Schmidt Câmara, Georgios Sioros, and Anne Danielsen, Mapping Timing and Intensity Strategies in Drum-Kit Performance of a Simple Back-Beat Pattern, submitted to Journal of New Music Research. To be published. The paper is removed from the thesis in DUO awaiting publishing.|