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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Developing and Composing Rhythms

Note values show how musical time is divided up into beats and the various symbols and proportions that express those divisions. Your knowledge of these enables you to work out and express any rhythmic idea. In practice, as you have seen, most musical rhythms tend to occur within the framework of a metric cycle. Exceptions to this do occur, although they are not common: Christian plainchant is a rare example, its rhythms being more or less in free time with no sense of meter. Its gentle melodies simply meander from one note to another with no sense of beat, stress, or fixed pulse.

Most music is metric, and for a good reason. Many important rhythmic techniques depend upon the presence of such a cycle. A brilliant ...

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