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Rhythmic Oddity

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  • Rhythmic Oddity

    I happened across a book called The Geometry of Musical Rhythm: What Makes a "Good" Rhythm Good? by Godfried T. Toussaint in the last couple of days. In there, chapter 15 is entitled Rhythmic Oddity, defined thus:

    A rhythm with an even number of pulses in its cycle has this property if no two of its onsets divide the rhythmic cycle into two half cycles, i.e., two segments of equal duration.
    The simple "son clave" is an example of such a rhythm... ie there are no pairs of black dots which can be connected by a line passing through the center:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	son clave.png Views:	1 Size:	27.7 KB ID:	126962

    Two further examples are given in figure 15.3:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	rhythmicoddities.png Views:	1 Size:	124.3 KB ID:	126963

    For the left example, simply transcribing the intervals into Alan's bagging notation, one might write something like:

    [FONT=Courier New]0      3      6      9     11     14     17    19     22    0
    FCP''' FCP''' FCP''' FCP'' RSP''' RSP''' RSP'' FCP''' FCP'' RSP''' ...[/FONT]
    The whole pattern would repeat back-front, before then returning front-back next time around. Chose left-right as you see fit.

    Having stumbled across these, I'm now curious... how does the rhythmic oddity of these patterns translate to sound and feel on the bag? I know rhythms can take on different characters when played at speed, which I can't do yet. Are they easy or tricky, interesting or not, is there any flow, or just a total lack of it?

    What do you make of these?
    Last edited by Sambista; 10-15-2021, 02:02 PM.

  • #2
    I have know idea what this represents but I have to say you have my total attention, this is really interesting. Does that mean that you can transfer the numbers into sound "if" you know the language?


    • #3
      I hadn't seen the "polygon notation" before either... it just shows:
      • total number of beats in the pattern (16, or 24, for example)
      • the "onset" beats you play (hit the bag) in black
      • the beats you don't play (let the bag rebound) in white
      A simple translation to Alan's notation might be:
      • Black+White+White+Black - a regular "triplet" front circle punch (or perhaps the same thing from the back of the bag)
      • Black+White+Black - punch from front through to the back and then reverse hit (or same thing but back to front)
      • Black+Black+Black... - fist roll
      Regardless of the notation, I'm getting ahead of myself because I can barely play straightforward rhythms. I just found these "oddities" something of a "curiosity".


      • #4
        This is really interesting. If i understood right, It offers a structure to define the beat. Maybe it’s a random pic, cause I think it might be hard to „hear“ the beat that you create by picking the black ones. After that, there are multiple ways to translate this polygon notation into Bible-style notation. And there can be multiple „correct“ ways to transfer. Really interesting!


        • #5
          There would definitely be many ways in which you could choose to play the accents and therefore many ways to notate.

          I appear unable to upload either .wav or .mp3 to the forum, but it's possible to put the rhythm into a drum sequencer to hear it. I think there is probably sufficiently little in the way of a regular pulse in this particular rhythm that to play it and stay on it might be a bit of a head-scramble! Which might be part of the fun of it...

          (In terms of notation... this is similar, and an interesting presentation in itself...
          Last edited by Sambista; 10-17-2021, 02:13 PM.


          • #6
            This is kind of cool from where "I" stand. What ever you do DO NOT forget to ENJOY the JOURNEY.


            • #7
              Having just found one of Alan's videos on syncopated combinations (, he mentions the "5+1 combo", also in The Speed Bag Bible, p170 as "Five Front Single Punches + one Reverse Single Punch".

              It sounded initially like it might have just been one of many "standard" five-onset, 16-beat claves with a "grace" beat at the end, so I looked it up. While indeed popular, it turns out it doesn't really have a name... I found this video which describes it well:

              I think this five-onset rhythm of our "5+1 combo" may also have been unnamed in Toussaint's first edition, but in the second edition has been given the name (or relevance) as "Samba + EDM" and elsewhere in the book described by him as:

              [3-3-3-3-4], a popular rhythmic pattern used in modern electronic dance music (EDM), which is a rotation of the bossa-nova timeline
              How fitting that it was linked to samba, given my nick And the bossa nova clave (starts at beat 6, don't play 14) is one I have played a lot - common in Samba Reggae for one.

              Anyway, adding to the first "5", the final "+1" grace beat on beat 14, the polygon notation for "5+1 combo" would look like this:

              Click image for larger version

Name:	5-1combo.png
Views:	186
Size:	15.2 KB
ID:	126993
              I have highlighted the line between beats 6 and 14 in red to indicate that the "unnamed" 5-onset rhythm on its own does have the "rhythmic oddity" property, but with the +1 grace beat on beat 14, it no longer does.

              But oddity isn't necessarily the point here. I simply picked a rhythm that was already being played on the bag and worked back to a notation, just for fun. But went to find its name and it turns out it doesn't really have one which itself was worthy of a mention, then I depicted the rhythm as a polygon graph and finally considered it's rhythmic oddity.

              I have a sore shoulder. I'd rather be bagging, but some rhythmic analysis will have to do for today.


              • #8
                Out of all the forums you could've walked into you had to pick this one artificial intelligence. Interesting stuff Sambista. I have to read through this a couple more times to wrap my head around it but wow. This forum and the world of speed bagging in general is lucky to have such a bright individual as yourself. Pardon my stupid joke


                • #9
                  Just overthinking out loud. Glad you find it interesting, too.

                  Been stuck inside for nearly two weeks with three kids, all of us in forced covid isolation, but still too sore to bag much.


                  • #10
                    Love to listen to you thinking. Do not push your recovery let it happen, it's like buying extra insurance. Please make sure you and your family stay safe. Safe = come back.....unsafe = ?. You and your family take care.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sambista View Post
                      Just overthinking out loud. Glad you find it interesting, too.

                      Been stuck inside for nearly two weeks with three kids, all of us in forced covid isolation, but still too sore to bag much.
                      Have you tried a double end bag? Might be easier on the shoulder.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pete View Post
                        Have you tried a double end bag? Might be easier on the shoulder.
                        I hadn't thought about that. Lowered the board again, just taking it easy. Trying not to let the head run too far ahead of the hands.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sambista View Post
                          I happened across a book called The Geometry of Musical Rhythm: What Makes a "Good" Rhythm Good? by Godfried T. Toussaint in the last couple of days. In there, chapter 15 is entitled Rhythmic Oddity,
                          Here is a good link for that Book:

                          Actually there is a video of Godried Toussaint talking about this, but sadly it does not show his board, just him mostly as a talking head

                          I have to agree with DAD, in that it is difficult to envision what those drawings indicate. And to be fair it is also difficult to VISUALLY represent SOUNDs. Every "line" in those pictures, and it's thickness, color etc.... represents a sound that the visually reflection does not accurate represent.

                          I'm not sure how you could represent speed bag "sounds" and "rhythms" in that context. We find the same problem trying to show a picture of a glass of wine and represent it's taste.

                          That was THE single biggest challenge in writing the Speed Bag Bible. To "Textually" discuss and represent the sounds of the bag I found the same challenge that Godfried does, to pictorially represent "various" of sounds such as "LOUD, Soft, softer" For the speed bag it there are two variations - the PUNCHED sound, and the UNPUNCHED sound. Each single "movement" or "Speed Bag Technique" (rudiment - in drums) has it's own specific sound. Then comes the challenge to visually represent those sounds and how the mix inside combinations of techniques.

                          I also had to create Names for each "movement/Technique" that accurately reflected what is included in that movement (elbow, fist) and area of the bag being struck for, for any PUNCHED Sound can be recreated from anywhere around the bag, and I decided on a four part division of the bag (Front, Back, Left Side, Right Side) In theory I suppose you could use 8, 12 or 16 divisions (like this mans picture), but that would make creating technique name that also reflects where it connects - more difficult.

                          So for the SOUND and Rhythm element of explaining speed bag sounds I chose to stay with the simplest music counting system using a FOUR beat measure (4/4). Having studied all of the technique sounds ...and the "common" combination sounds (by that I mean very common - used a lot - combinations sounds, such as

                          FCP ' ' ' FCP Single Beat - 3 rebounds inbetween ( * Basic Triplet Rhythm, first beat accented)
                          FCP ' ' RSP Single Beat - 2 rebounds inbetween (Double Bounce Rhythm)

                          FDP ' ' ' FDP Double Beat_3 rebounds inbetween
                          FDP ' ' RDP Double Beat_2 rebounds inbetween

                          O-TES ' ' ' OTES Triple Beat - 3 rebounds inbetween ( * Another Triplet Rhythm, last beat accented)
                          O-TES ' ' RDP Triple Beat - Double Beat - 2 rebounds inbetween

                          4-Way ' ' ' 4-Way Four accented Beats- 3 rebounds inbetween
                          4-Way ' ' RDP Four accented Beats to Double Beat 2 rebounds inbetween

                          Fist Rolling - Repetitive Single Beat (16th notes)

                          The above all can flow repetitively and make a distinct repetitive sound of accented and unaccented sounds. SO, how do you represent that in writing.... I spent many weeks pondering that between 1986-1992, watching and listening to Video of it while count to a 4/4 beat measure, adding click tracks underneath to figure where beats (punches) landed.
                          It is also interesting to note the TWO different "Triplet Rhythms" of Speed Bag sound - the FCP ' ' ' FCP, counted 1-2-3 because the "First" beat (the punch) is accented, and the O-TES ' ' ' O-TES , which "I" hear as having the last punch a bit accented, or 1-2-3

                          And interestingly enough, the O-TES ' ' ' O-TES combination actually had both triplet Patterns together, with the Last punch of the O-TES (3) acting as the First (1) punch of the basic rhythm.

                          In the end I have come to realize that it's best to focus on the PUNCHED rebound, for we have no control over the "unpunched" swing rebounds. But they have to occur and they do add a very definite flavor to the beat of the rhythm.

                          So, a four beat measure of music can be divided into counts of 4, 8 or 16.

                          A "4" beat bar/measure is counted _1, 2, 3, 4 - each count directly on the perceived beat.
                          an "8" beat bar/measure is counted 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and (that's 8 points; the "and" is exactly half way between the perceived beats - called 8th notes )
                          A 16 beat bar/measure is counted 1_e-and-a-2_e-and-a-3_e-and-a_4_e-and-a (for 16 or 16th notes ) ...

                          What I have found that "universally" when punching the speed bag, almost all of PUNCHES will land at two definite points in the four beat bar of music. either (1) directly ON the perceived beat or (2) at the mid-point between two perceived beats.

                          without an external auditory cue, like a metronome or music, we don't have to think about that because it just happens. for everyone that learns to do Bible style bagging, whether they understand it or not.... their brain interprets the "timing" and it happens. Counting the punches of the basic triplet rhythm (just the punches...) will be 1-2-3-4.
                          For passing a Single fist front to back (FCP ' ' RSP ' ' ...) will always be "1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and...repeat"
                          First rolling will "almost" always be 16th notes - but if you can dial it down half speed you can make it 8th notes

                          So, how do you represent those sounds ... "in writing" or on a computerized diagram. ??? I don't know

                          You mention my video on teaching Syncopated Combinations , like the 6-punch combination of 5-1. most baggers might find themselves doing that combo on their own and if they do they would probably begin to "feel" how it flows with the other combinations, no biggie, but the purpose of my video is to help you understand how it is can be used With Music.
                          Obviously 8 notes/Punches in 4 beats make sense but it is a bit more complicated to throw 6 notes/punches in 4 beats. I try to show that fully 5 or those 6 punches actually land either "on" the perceived beat or at "the half way point". only punch #2 is slightly "off" ...sort of at 1-e-and-a .... Punch #3 is at 2-and punch #3 is at 4-and Punch #5 is on beat 4 and Punch #6 is at 4-and ..with Punch #1 on beat 1. The reason this combination sounds "syncopated" is 3 of those 6 punches land at the "half way" between two beats, so they are un-emphasized. Drummers also call this "the back beat".

                          so how would you show that in a graph or picture.... again I have no idea,

                          And remember, when trying to write something for "the common man or woman" to read and learn, the over complication of detailed pictures, graphically trying to replicate sounds, would prove to much for most people to spend a lot of time deciphering. To be sure I've met many a bagger that is pretty good on the bag, praises the book and how it helps them, and has spent very little time with learning to read (or write) speed bag combinations. We here on the forum can delve deeper into the mysteries of all this, but most people desire much less information.

                          Anyway, great topic because trying to replicate the variety of sounds through pictures never goes away. Years ago during my own studies or "rhythm" and sounds - I spent a lot of time reading books like "I Ching: The TAO of Drumming" by Michael Drake. HIs book has a ton of attempted picture representations of rhythms.


                          The Shamanic Drum, A guide to Sacred by Michael Drake

                          He also has a YouTube page:

                          You may find this video interesting:
                          Last edited by Speedbag; 11-19-2021, 12:37 AM.
                          Speed Bag

                          Put a little Rhythm in YOUR workout!
                          *attendee: Every SB gathering so far!
                          The Quest Continues...
                          Hoping for another Gathering...


                          The Art of the Bag


                          • #14
                            Thank you for that, very informative. Just spit balling here but could you use black to white shading to represent the how hard you hit the bag?


                            • #15
                              Here are some interesting video's on Rhythm and rhythmic diagrams

                              Speed Bag

                              Put a little Rhythm in YOUR workout!
                              *attendee: Every SB gathering so far!
                              The Quest Continues...
                              Hoping for another Gathering...


                              The Art of the Bag


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