Request: Custom Swing/Groove (Microrhythm) feature--the ability to choose other tuplet phrasings.

• Oct 17, 2021 - 02:22

Currently, Swing settings are fixed to triplet 8th or 16th note phrasing. Adding a feature to define the tuplet phrase would allow users to better capture the microrhythms found in the diaspora of African-influenced music and other regional traditions. Musescore could even go further and implement Professor Malcolm Braff's system of notating "morphing tuplets" for changing microrhythms:

I propose that the Swing Settings dialogue provide the option to select the n-tuplet (triplet, quintuplet, septuplet, etc) and then the divisions to be played. The "Swing" in Brazilian samba rhythms (samba da roda) has more of a septuplet feel than triplet--subdivisions landing on 1-34-6- of a single-beat septuplet. If the user wanted to have the score play this Samba feel in 2/4, for example, the user would set the Swing setting to Septuplet with hits on 1-34-6-. Or, If the user wanted to capture more of the uneven triplet feel of 12/8 Maloya music from the Réunion Island off the East Coast of Africa using the divisions 1--4-6- of a Septuplet (according to Niek Cival's analysis, one would select a Septuplet and then those particular divisions. Alternatively, the Maloya swing/shuffle could be indicated with decuplets in the Swing Settings (the first decuplet, the fifth decuplet and the eighth decuplet, or 4+3+3.) The dialogue box could even include presets, for example, borrowed from Professor Braff's analysis. In essence, this custom swing/groove feature would function similar to the Groove feature in Ableton, which allows the user to set the degree of a custom groove over a midi grid. Additionally, this feature could automatically add a tiny image of the customized swing tuplet next to the "Swing" text in the score (see image below). Being able to easily score and playback microrthyhms would revolutionize music notation software.

Maloya Septuplet Swing:

Alternatively, illustrated as a doted first note triplet swing:


I just posted online "World Swing Microrhythms", a work in progress, examples of different types of "ethnic" swing, which this proposed feature would allow. This score approximates microrhythms found in some African-influenced rhythms using tuplet subdivisions, usually odd (quintuple, septuplet and nonuplet). Out of a desire for simplicity, it is common practice to notate these rhythms as isochronous (equal) subdivisions, even when they aren't, much like how Jazz Swing is notated in binary rather than ternary time signatures. My description to the right of the score goes into more detail.…

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