Rhythm in the Age of Digital Reproduction - micro-rhythmic relationships in computer based, groove oriented music (completed)
The project was aimed at exploring changes in rhythm and sound in groove oriented popular music of the 1990s and ran from Oct. 2004 until autumn 2010.
The objective of the project was twofold:
- to investigate micro-rhythmic relationships.
- to reach new insights into the relation between contemporary popular music and the new technological means.
A main question was to what extent and in what ways changes in rhythm and sound in computer based, groove oriented music are related to developments in digital music technology.
About the project
During the past twenty years, the field of popular music has seen a remarkable increase in computer based, groove oriented music. It seems plausible to assume that characteristic features in the sound of these styles, which to a great extent dominated popular music in the 1990s, can be linked with the possibilities provided by developments in music technology in the same period. For example, it seems that the combination of sampling and audio- and MIDI-sequencing prepare for a collage-like repetitive form.
The interplay of new music technology and African-American musical traditions seem to have been particularly fertile in producing new styles and new sounds. Not least did rap in the early 1990s present completely new soundscapes to the popular music scene.
Another striking aspect of the musical development within this field has been the increasing experimentation and manipulation on a micro-rhythmic level, that is, the level of rhythm that in performed music is usually understood in terms of phrasing and timing. This development has been especially noticeable within African-American dominated styles such as rap, neo-soul and modern rhythm and blues.
New music technology
The objective of the project was twofold. On the one hand it had a special focus on investigating micro-rhythmic relationships. On the other, one aimed at reaching new insights into the relation between contemporary popular music and the new technological means.
A main question was to what extent and in what ways changes in rhythm and sound in computer based, groove oriented music are related to developments in digital music technology. The empirical focus was on the African-American popular music styles neo-soul and contemporary R&B, as well as electronic dancemusic and trip-hop.
The host institution of the project group was Department of Musicology, Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo. where one finds expertise in research on groove, a good professional milieu for research and studies in popular music, and an expanding research activity in the field of contemporary music technology.
The project was jointly funded by The Research Council of Norway under the program for Outstanding Young Investigators and the University of Oslo.