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Boy  

Generic term for drum, used by the Dogon people of Mali. The term also refers to the rhythm beaten for the dance and to the dancing place itself (boy yala). The large and small double-headed cylindrical drums, boy na and boy dagi, respectively, have laced skins; they are played in a slanting position (the ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Electronic percussion instrument released in 1980 and manufactured by the BOSS division of Roland. Very popular, small, inexpensive and easy to use, the Dr Rhythm model DR-55 was one of the first drum machines to use ‘step-write’ programming, where in ‘write’ mode the user can select a sound and use buttons to move incrementally (‘step’) through each beat of the beat pattern and select a choice of sounds. It can store up to six 16-step drum patterns and two 12-step patterns, the latter for triple-metre rhythms. Its four (analogue) voice-circuit sounds are snare, kick drum, rim-shot, and hi-hat. The pattern can be switched during playing, and volume, tempo (45 to 300 beats per minute), tone, and accent can be globally adjusted. The DR-110 Graphic (...

Article

Groove  

Geoffrey Whittall

Groove is the result of a musical process that is often identified as a vital drive or rhythmic propulsion. It involves the creation of rhythmic intensity appropriate to the musical style or genre being performed. Groove is created within a piece of music by shifting timing and dynamic elements away from the expected pulse or dynamic level. A musician’s sense of pulse is subjective, not objective; musicians interpret and perform the passage of time and the presence of the pulse in slightly different ways. As musicians perform, the push and pull of those subjective interpretations adds tension to a performance and produces a sense of groove. Much modern audio recording and production software has a “humanizing” function to replicate that feeling of subjectivity, which helps subdue the otherwise robotic, or mechanical sounds of computer-generated music....

Article

Laurence Libin

Digital electronic percussion device. Multi-pads normally incorporate four to 16 velocity- and force- sensitive pads that are struck with conventional drum sticks, and two pedals that operate hi-hat cymbal and bass drum effects. The pads may simulate the response of real drum heads. Components of some models can be arrayed like a conventional drum set’s. Usually, manual controls allow selection among a variety of sampled drum, other percussion, and special effect sounds, as well as preset rhythm patterns, metronome speeds, reverberation levels, MIDI interfaces, and other capabilities. Recording and electronic-music studios often employ multi-pads and similar digital percussion controllers because of their portability, versatility, and relatively low cost, but their technique lacks the visual impact and athleticism of performance on a real drum set. However, multi-pads do allow for some performance techniques that are impossible on a conventional drum set....

Article

Hugh Davies and Andrei Smirnov

Electronic percussion instrument constructed for the composer Henry Cowell by Lev Termen (Leon Theremin) in 1931; two examples were built. It was the earliest electronic rhythm machine. A series of rotating wheels interrupted beams of light to produce very complex rhythms with precision. The polyphonic keyboard had 17 keys, each of which, except the 17th, produced a single note repeated in a periodic rhythm for as long as it was held down; the 17th key inserted an extra beat in the middle of each bar. Each of the 16 rhythms could be produced individually or in combination, requiring 455 days, 2 hours, and 30 minutes to play all possible combinations, assuming a duration of 10 seconds for each....