Free Rhythmic Loop Generator XronoMorph Updated

Dynamic Tonality has updated XronoMorph – a free app for OS X and Windows, that lets you make beats while exploring a new theory of rhythm.

XronoMorph is designed for beat making, using two mathematical principles: perfect balance and well-formedness:

  • Perfect balance is a generalization of the polyrhythms found in many African and jazz musical traditions. A rhythm is perfectly balanced when the mean position (center of gravity) of all its rhythmic events, when arranged on a circle, is the center of that circle.
  • Well-formedness is a generalization of the additive rhythms found in aksak (Balkan), sub-Saharan African, and progressive rock musical traditions. Well-formed rhythms contain no more than two interonset intervals, arranged as evenly as possible. WF rhythm are typically nested by faster WF rhythms, which in combination form complex interlocking rhythmic hierarchies.

These principles are outlined in the papers Perfect balance: A novel principle for the construction of musical scales and meters & Computational Creation and Morphing of Multi-Level Rhythms by Control of Evenness.

In XronoMorph, each rhythmic layer is visualized as a polygon inscribed in a circle, and each polygon can be constructed according to two different mathematical principles: perfect balance and well-formedness (aka MOS).

Here’s what’s new in XronoMorph 1.5.0:

  • Performance enhancements.
  • Numerous user interface enhancements. For example, tempo can now be changed by speed (revolutions per minute) or duration (length of revolution/period); the long/short beat ratio can be displayed for every well-formed level; balanced polygons can be rotated in pulse units (in addition to degrees, radians, or turns).
  • There is no longer any requirement for Java to be installed.
  • Polygon channels can now pass through MIDI tracks unchanged (by selecting the “–” option in the MIDI track channel menu). This is useful when sending MIDI to multitimbral synths.
  • 18 new perfectly balanced but irregular polygons—all possible primitive minimals found in 42 equal divisions of the period. These are great for creating complex polyrhythms mixing 3s, 4s, 6s, and 7s.
  • In addition to the golden ratios, silver and bronze ratios are now available in well-formed mode. These “special” ratios produce deeply non-isochronous rhythms where the beat size ratios of successive levels periodically repeat.
  • MIDI options available in the interface to allow MIDI ports to be disabled.
  • MIDI learn (this feature is still in beta and not yet hooked up to the preset system—that will come).

In addition, these bugs were fixed:

  • Audio, MIDI, and Scala file save now work correctly on all platforms.
  • Startup time is much improved.
  • Switching to PB mode sometimes results in incorrect tempo, now fixed.

Video Introduction:

Pricing and Availability

XronoMorph is available as a free download for Mac OS X & Windows.

13 thoughts on “Free Rhythmic Loop Generator XronoMorph Updated

  1. I just downloaded it. Its fantastic. I love things that seem random and complicated…as long as they produce interesting and unexpected results as this does. Im feeling inspired already.

    1. from the website: “each polygon can be constructed according to two different mathematical principles: perfect balance and well-formedness (aka MOS). These principles generalize polyrhythms, additive, and Euclidean rhythms. Furthermore, rhythms can be smoothly morphed between, and irrational rhythms with no regular pulse can also be easily constructed.”

      so euclidean rhythms i guess are a subset of perfect balance and MOS.

      1. Hi — just to clarify. Euclidean rhythms are a subset of the well-formed (aka MOS) rhythms. When you have entered a given number of large and small steps in WF mode, if you then click on one of the numbers above the “r-slider” to snap the slider to that precise location, the results will usually be a Euclidean rhythm.

        Euclidean rhythms are defined only when there is regular grid into which all of the sounded beats fit. Well-formedness does not have that constraint and can produce irrational rhythms where there is no regular pulse. In this way, it is possible to smoothly morph between different Euclidean rhythms.

        Perfect balance has no relationship with Euclidean — they are a generalization of polyrhythms.

  2. I think the Euclidian thing is more specific. This seems to lean more on the geometric shapes and their “qualities” rather than the pure euclidian math thing.

  3. MIDI learn is a bit tricky – like they said it’s still in beta stage. But it works. You may have to engage and disengage the 14-bit CC button to make a controller (7-bit) work. Some min/max values have to be set to -1/+1, some to 0/227 (not 127).

    I wish they would do OSC with feedback to the controller, or at least MIDI CC feedback, but I’m not complaining. We have now XronoMorph with MIDI control! This is just great. Now the moment has come to make a donation to the developers.

  4. bad news: the MIDI controller mapping is not saved. We’ll have to wait until that feature is properly implemented. I’m sure the developers are working on that, there’s no doubt they want to save and recall mappings themselves too.

    1. Thanks for the comments re MIDI learn — feature requests and bug reports are welcome.

      I am definitely intending to hook MIDI learn into a preset system soon. My initial thought is that the MIDI learn state should be saved and recalled between opening and closing of the app, and not as part of the main preset system. Does that make the most sense? Another option would be to have a small number of MIDI learn presets that are again independent from the main preset system — my concern about that is the additional GUI complexity it would require.

  5. thank you for the reply Andrew. Yes I think the MIDI map should be independent from the preset system. Either only one state that is recalled, or a couple of MIDI map presets. For me, one single map would be sufficient. I just would like to know where it is stored, so I can transfer it to another installation on a different computer. The same with the sound presets. Until now I always have to copy the entire folder, to transfer just some presets.

    XronoMorph has quickly become my main sequencer. And just as a side note, my donation was not the last one. Your software is really very good, and I’m grateful for that.

  6. Thanks Phil — great to hear you’re enjoying it!

    The preset files are called XMPresets.json and XMTrackPresets.json. If on a Mac, right click on the XronoMorph app and “Show Package Contents”. Navigate to Contents -> Resources, and that is where the preset files are stored. The XMPresetNames.json file does not need to be copied, but can be. If on Windows, the path location is similar, possibly exactly the same (I can’t quite remember).

    At some point I will get round to writing a manual!

    1. yes that’s it. On Windows it is located at resources/support. Works great, also between 32-bit and 64-bit installations. Thanks so much.

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