Free App For OS X & Windows, XronoMorph, Lets You Explore New Theory Of Rhythm

Dynamic Tonality has introduced 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).

These principles generalize polyrhythms, additive, and Euclidean rhythms.

Rhythms can be smoothly morphed between, and irrational rhythms with no regular pulse can also be easily constructed.

Each polygon can play an independent sound, and XronoMorph comes with a useful selection of samples to play the rhythms. Alternatively, you can load your own VST or AU plugins, or send MIDI to an external software or hardware synth.

The rhythmic loops can be saved as presets within XronoMorph; they can also be saved as Scala scale tuning files, which means XronoMorph can be also used as a tool for designing well-formed (MOS) and perfectly balanced microtonal scales.

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

Note: On OS X, the legacy version of Java 6 must be installed.

If you’ve used XronoMorph, let us know what you think of it in the comments!

34 thoughts on “Free App For OS X & Windows, XronoMorph, Lets You Explore New Theory Of Rhythm

    1. Are you familiar with Patterning for iOS? That app has a few features in common with this, although much more limited in terms of sound & routing.

  1. OK, good start, but not all the features are available it seems. Only option to save is as a scala file (which doesn’t seem to work either), and no audio or midi file save is an option. Also, the clock is in milliseconds, not exactly intuitive, and since it doesn’t clock to anything external, it’ll be pretty difficult to record into a sequencer. Lastly, I can’t figure out any way to save a preset. You can delete, but not save.

    So… very cool, but very incomplete.

    1. Since output can be routed to MIDI, the sequence can be recorded. The same with the audio output. You just need to route it appropriately.

  2. hmm… not possible to run this app (installed Java6 before) . OS X…says the file is broken. No idea.
    Anyone git the same problem on OS X (Yosemite 10.10.5)?

    1. “..On OS X, on first run, you may need to right click the app and select ‘Open’. If you get a message similar to ”XronoMorph’ is damaged and can’t be opened …’, you will need to adjust OS X’s security settings. Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy and under ‘Allow apps downloaded from:’ check ‘Anywhere’.”

  3. Wow. Just looking at the stuff on their website and I’m thinking, “Why haven’t I heard of these folks before?!” This is intriguing stuff, even a modeling synth for microtones!!!

  4. Based on what I’m seeing in the first tutorial videos, it is capable of approaching rhythm in a new way (for me, anyway).

    I had been accustomed to thinking in terms of beats, dividing beats, creating grids based on any kind of note:beat ratio, and then doing some kind of groupings in that structure.

    This appears to base all rhythms on points that can be placed on a circle (which is for all intents and purposes a measure). The points are then connected (to show a shape). The shape itself only serves to display the distance between the points on the circle in a more graspable form. it also shows the relationships between different structures in a way.

    You can achieve standard kinds of polyrhythms, but new things can be easily and quickly achieved.

    The ability to apply new pitch relationships is also built-in.

    I’d say the only weakness in the demo vids is that velocity can eventually sound pretty static, as there doesn’t appear to be a way to modulate velocities (either in relationship to the circle, or just randomly). It may have this capability, I just didn’t see it.

  5. Using OS 10.8.5. Installed Java 6; changed security setting to allow it to open — then, nada (just the title bar). Force-quit time.

    1. Hi Jim (I’m one of the developers) — the app can take a long time time to open on some systems. If you give it some more time it should appear. Hopefully, I’ll get future updates to open more quickly.

      1. Well, it’s churning away, and the master volume is bouncing , but no sound; I’ve checked the “audio status” window, but nothing seems to be happening. Too bad; I thought I could use Audio Highjack to capture the audio.

    2. It takes a VERY long time to launch on my machine, but it does launch– maybe 2 minutes?

      After it finally launches, everything seems to work perfectly. The included presets are pretty fascinating.

  6. Using Os 10.11. + java 6
    After Download app does not open,
    geting a notice ” File damaged, cannot open” what a pitty!

    1. Hi Claudius — from the website: If you get a message similar to ‘”XronoMorph” is damaged and can’t be opened …’, you will need to adjust OS X’s security settings. Go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy and under “Allow apps downloaded from:” check “Anywhere”.

    2. I got the file damaged warning, but followed instructions above to modify System Preference for Security. It took a while to launch but works well here.

  7. Too bad this guy built this on a Java 6; he must’ve been working on it, since that version was released. Apple has stated that OS 10.11.x will be the last OS to allow Java 6. Better git porting!

  8. This is an inspired design – truly musical.
    Not a massive fan of Java apps but not going to stop me playing around with this thing.


  9. On the latest version of Yosemite, it downloads and opens fine but you do need to follow the directions explicitly regarding Java and your security settings. It also does take a while to open so just be patient, it will open.

    The author is demonstrating a different version than you actually receive – for example, you cannot save the file as a midi or audio file yet from the application – those buttons are not part of the UI.

    You can add plug ins individually to tracks, but need to navigate to folder and add the component individually to the track unless I’m missing something…can’t figure out how you would get it to reference the folder so you could have your plug ins in a default list.

    This is really cool – want a chance to brainstorm how to integrate my other tools like Numerology or Logic….

  10. I work with Java all the time as a software engineer so Java 6 on Mac is a no go for me. Great concept though. Truly. I wonder if they will open source it so contributors could reimplement it to make it compatible with more recent Java SDKs?

  11. WOW! The Robert Fripp app for synth players !!!!!!
    I can now quickly design King Crimson tunes on my Moog !!!!

  12. too bad this is running java 6, not secure and exploit prone.
    I suggest migrating properly to the latest java.

    good luck!

  13. Just a quick note to say that XronoMorph has been updated to version 1.5.0

    A number of improvements all listed below, but worth highlighting that Java is no longer required.

    New features:
    – 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).

    Bug fixes:
    – 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.

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