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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Rhythmic Motives

Another rhythmic technique that depends upon the presence of a clear metric cycle is the use of rhythmic motives. A rhythmic motive is a short, identifiable unit of rhythm. Figure 7.14 shows a simple example that occurs in the context of quadruple time. This particular motive is extremely popular with dance-music writers.

Figure 7.14. Rhythmic motive.

The same motive—consisting of two sixteenths followed by an eighth—is simply repeated throughout the bar. This creates a strong, driving rhythmic energy.

Often a rhythmic motive will be transformed into other related motives to create rhythmic variety. In ...

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