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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Metric Cycles

Music of all kinds, styles, and genres uses such metric cycles. They are as important to the sense of rhythm in your music as a musical scale is to your melodies and harmonies. Consequently, the study of meter is vital if your music is going to make any rhythmic sense to your listener. So what is a metric cycle (or measure)? The simplest way to understand this is to consider the action of playing a hand drum, such as a conga. Some of the beats will be louder, and some will be softer. A metric cycle is a pattern of these stresses that makes sense to and satisfies the ear. As the word “cycle” implies, this tends to be repeated over and over again, establishing for the listener a clear framework for understanding and feeling the beats ...

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