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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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4. Rhythm, Tempo, and Note Lengths

It is time now to take a break from pitch values and to look at a parameter of musical sound we haven’t explored so far—duration. Every sound used in a musical composition has a particular duration or length. This duration represents its value in the dimension of musical time. The succession of such values or events occurring in and through musical time is called the rhythm. In this sense, the parameter of duration is of great importance because it provides the building blocks upon which rhythm is based. Rhythm, of course, is and always has been an absolutely essential ingredient of music of all kinds. In fact, without rhythm there probably could not be any music.

A deep understanding of rhythm is essential ...

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