1.4. Existing relevant software platforms

Many of the software packages dedicated to rhythm production deal with the manual construction of rhythm using electronically created or individually sampled drum kit sounds. This is essentially the same functionality as the traditional drum machine. Preset rhythms are sometimes incorporated in these packages, but these are often very wooden when combined with electronic or over polished drum samples.
A sequencing package combined with a sampler has been the most common method for using break beats within a recording environment. A break beat existing as one sample (lasting anything between 1 and 5 seconds) is traditionally played (triggered) at the start of each musical bar and the accompanying music programmed to play rhythmically along side. One common problem with many break beats is the inaccuracies or the discrepancies in timing of the original rhythm played by the drummer and the timing of the sequencer. This problem was first addressed by an application called "Recycle" (developed by the Propellerheads, manufactured by Steinberg). Recycle takes as its input a sampled break beat which it splits time wise into a number of different samples representing each individual drum hit of the rhythm sequence. These samples are then positioned as adjacent MIDI notes in the sampler. A MIDI file representing the timing of these individual drum samples is then used by the sequencing package to play back the complete break beat in its original form. As each beat of the rhythm is now represented as an individual MIDI note, the timing of the break beat can be corrected by the sequencer to slot into place with all other recorded MIDI events. One useful upshot of this degree of control is that the rhythm of the break beat can also be altered, eg a kick drum hit can be replaced by a high hat or snare, or indeed a completely new rhythm can be programmed using the constituent parts of the original break (in other words the kit).

1.5. A new type of break beat processor

1.5.1. Description

One can regard all break beats as having two fundamental characteristics.

  1. the sound of the drum kit (a combination of the type of kit used and all of the processing devices used in the recording chain)

  1. the rhythm pattern played by the drummer

The logical conclusion of this project is to propose a software application that can take as its input many different break beats and then freely interchange the rhythm of one break with the kit sounds of another.