Wouter Hisschemöller has released a free Java MIDI sequencer that’s designed to generate polyrhythms based on a mathematical algorithm, also known as Euclidean rhythms.
The basic idea behind Euclidean rhythms is that notes are distributed evenly over time. So 4 notes distributed evenly in 4/4 time would be your basic techno kick pattern.
It gets more interesting, though, with number combinations that don’t distribute beats equally – for example 5 beats in a 4/4 measure, because it creates syncopation. Do this with multiple rhythms and things really start getting interesting.
- Double click anywhere in the lower panel to generate a new pattern. A new pattern is 16 steps with 4 notes by default.
- Click a pattern’s center circle to select the pattern. A selected pattern shows a double center ring and it’s settings are displayed on the panel at the right.
- Drag a pattern’s center circle to move the pattern. So you can visually reorganize your screen when there’s a lot of patterns.
- All patterns with their settings and location can be saved in a file. This is a regular XML text file. The File menu has the familiar New, Open, Save and Save As options. The project tempo is saved in the file as well.
Hisschemöller’s application sends MIDI notes. In the demo video, MIDI is sent to four tracks in Ableton Live, where each track recives on a different MIDI channel.
Here’s an example of Euclidean Rhythms in action:
The app is available as a Mac app, Java file and as Java source files.
If you give the Euclidian MIDI generator a try, let us know what you think of it!