Stretching the Beat

February 27th, 2020
contra, jammer, music
Initially when I started playing around with having my rhythm setup subdivide the beat I went with a very simple division of four equal pieces. This works well for some things, but it is also a very rigid sound. When I'm playing on the mandolin I often stretch the beat a bit, pulling subbeats earlier and pushing others later. This is something I learned to do by ear; I just play it.

But what am I actually doing? I took a recording of myself playing mandolin and measured exactly how far through the beat each of the four subbeats fell. I measured three repetitions worth:

1 0.000 0.000 0.000
2 0.154 0.139 0.168
3 0.275 0.253 0.264
4 0.444 0.421 0.420
1 0.574 0.535 0.549

Converting these into percentages, and calculating an average:

1 00.0% 00.0% 00.0% 00.0%
2 26.9% 26.0% 30.6% 27.8%
3 47.9% 47.3% 48.1% 47.8%
4 77.4% 78.7% 76.5% 77.5%

Here's another way of looking at it:

strict stretched delta
2 25.0% 27.8% 11% late
3 50.0% 47.8% 9% early
4 75.0% 77.5% 10% late

Here's a video walking through how this sounds and how it fits into the rest of my setup:


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