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date: 12 May 2021


  • 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.

Musicians often deliberately manipulate the specific timing of some musical elements to create a groove, notably in funk and jazz. Discussions of groove often center on the performance of the ...

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