Dr Naresh Vempala Jamming with Liquid Rhythm

PhD Naresh Vempala Jamming

We have a great research partnership with Ryerson’s SmartLab, where Naresh is a Post Doctorate researcher. Full disclosure, we work closely with Dr Naresh Vempala, as we are collaboratively exploring the relationships between music, emotion and cognition. Hopefully in the near future, the team will publish a unique emotion prediction Max4Live patch (shh… it’s a secret). We were pleasantly surprised when Naresh linked us his first “Jam Session” and we wanted to share with the community. We had forgotten that Naresh’s passion for music research stems from his love of creating music.

A Workflow Example using Liquid Rhythm: Programming the Rhythm for Cissy Strut

“Cissy Strut” is a New Orleans style funk instrumental song with an extremely catchy rhythm. A large part of the funk “feel” comes from the drum pattern used in the song as well as the tempo.

One of the goals here, using Liquid Rhythm (LR), was to create a basic jam track with two specific aims: (a) replicating some of the funk feel while not sounding exactly identical to the original, and (b) leaving room for tonal improvisation by creating variations of rhythm patterns.

The first step involved breaking the rhythm into specific drum parts (i.e. kick drum part, snare drum part, hi-hats). For this particular example, the sequence followed was kick drum -> hi-hats -> snare drum, although this process is dependent both on the user’s preference as well as the rhythmic complexity involved.

A basic pattern was selected for the kick drum from the Barform list in LR’s Beat Builder. The tempo was adjusted to a suitable range (84 bpm in this example) that fell within the satisfactory range for replicating some of the funk feel. Using the Beatform Sequencer, Beatform Palette (part of Molecule Tools), and Note Edit features, the spacing and number of kick drum hits were programmed for one bar. The same process was followed for the snare drum and hi-hats. The entire rhythm was then auditioned. Once this rhythm seemed satisfactory, a basic arrangement was laid out for sequencing the whole piece into separate sections (i.e. 4 bars of intro, 8 bars for Riff 1, 8 bars for Riff 2, 8 bars for Riff 1, 16 bars for Lead, 8 bars for Riff 1). The rhythm was varied between sections for Riff 1, Riff 2, and Lead, using Molecule Tools and Note Edit features of LR.

Once the arrangement felt satisfactory, the entire track was exported as a MIDI file and imported into GarageBand, where the guitar track was recorded.

Dr. Naresh N. Vempala
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (NSERC-CRD)
SMART Lab, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University

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