Scientists uncover the secret of swing in jazz

(ORDO NEWS) — German physicists and psychologists have come to the conclusion that the famous swing effect in jazz music is created by tiny deviations in rhythm. Musicians achieve this without realizing it.

Swing is a special jazz rhythmic pattern in which the first of each pair of notes is extended, and the second is shortened.

However, even the musicians themselves still do not understand what exactly swing is. For a long time it was believed that this rhythm can be “felt”, but not fully explained.

The simple alternation of certain notes of different lengths is an easily perceived component of swing and can be played, for example, using a computer program.

But this is not enough to accurately simulate swing.

Some believe that this effect is created by temporal deviations between the inclusion of various instruments in a musical composition, while others, on the contrary, believe that rhythmic accuracy is responsible for everything.

To resolve the dispute, physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and psychologists from the Georg-August University (Germany) set up an experiment, the results of which were published in the journal Communications Physics.

The researchers analyzed 456 jazz compositions by manipulating the time in the pianists’ original computer recordings in various ways.

It turned out that many jazz musicians create tiny systematic deviations in the rhythm of the music in order to get swing. According to scientists, this is the key component of such a rhythmic pattern.

Researchers believe that musicians use such a subtle method of creating swing unconsciously, unaware of what, in fact, they are achieving.


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