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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

[Doctor Rhythm]

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 (1983) adds a graphic display showing a step-programming grid for the drum voices, and includes 16 preset patterns plus 16 memory locations for user-programmed 12- or 16-step patterns, plus two ‘song’ memories for up to 128 bars of patterns. Its drum sounds can be programmed or played in from drum pads....

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

David Fuller

(Fr.: ‘unequal notes’)

A rhythmic convention according to which certain divisions of the beat move in alternately long and short values, even if they are written equal.

As it existed in France from the mid-16th century to the late 18th the convention of notes inégales was first of all a way of gracing or enlivening passage-work or diminutions in vocal or instrumental music. As styles changed and the figurations born of diminution entered the essential melodic vocabulary, inequality permeated the musical language. Its application was regulated by metre and note values; it always operated within the beat, never distorting the beat itself. (An anomalous instance of alteration of the beat appears in Gigault; see §2.) The degree of inequality (i.e. the ratio between the lengths of the long and short notes of each pair) could vary from the barely perceptible to the equivalent of double dotting, according to the character of the piece and the taste of the performer. Inequality was considered one of the chief resources of expression, and it varied according to expressive needs within the same piece or even within the same passage; where it was felt to be inappropriate it could be abandoned altogether unless explicitly demanded....