Ray Charles really did have that swing
Musical acousticians reveal precise timing in classic swing songs
Ray Charles was really good at snapping, said musical acoustician Kenneth Lindsay of Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Charles's snaps that open "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" are timed so well that he is never more than 5 milliseconds off the tight beat.
Lindsay studies the physics of the sound of swing music such as Ray Charles' hits, and in a talk last week at the Acoustical Society of America's joint meeting in Honolulu with the Acoustical Society of Japan, he explained how he created a visual analysis of the bouncy, energetic, even lopsided musical style of swing.
"If you're tapping your feet, that's swing," he said. To study swing, he looked at the popular dance music in all cultures -- a loose rhythmic style that's different from syncopation, in which a note is played when a pause is expected or an expected note isn't played. Swing, he said, relies on drama and emotion, and a micro-timing of pulses and meter that aren't found in other styles. Swing uses a lot of triplets, irregular notes that are 2/3 the length of a regular note. Swing is found in American jazz, Caribbean beats, Brazilian swingee, reggae, samba and many other musical styles around the world.
To really see what this universal but mysterious music looked like, Lindsay broke down famous swing songs like "Fever" and "Graceland" in various ways. He measured the song's notes and pulses very finely, to within 3-10 milliseconds per musical event, sometimes even fine-tuning the differences between the sounds to a half a millisecond. This way he could separate out instruments, voices and drums by their pitch and note. He created graphs that separated out the instruments. That's how he noticed Ray Charles' incredibly tight snapping.
Martha Heil | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...