Ensemble Swing

T his example demonstrates the effect of the ensemble-swing rule which applies long-short patterns on conseqecutive eighth notes for the soloist and the drummer and delays the onsets of the soloist's downbeat. The amount of swing ratio (ratio between long and short note) and delay for each instrument is taken from average values of measurements of classical jazz group recordings, such as Miles Davis Quintet from '64, Wynton Marsalis group, Live at the Blues Alley, and Keith Jarrett Trio.

Swing ratios

Figure 1. Measured swing ratios in an jazz ensemble. The blue dots are the drummers' swing ratio and the red dots the solists' swing ratio. Note that in medium tempi, the drummers swing ratio is always higher than 2 (triple feel) and the soloists' swing ratio is always lower than 2.

Ensemble swing sound examples

Nominal Figure 2. Measured delays of soloist relatively drummer. The blue dots marks the downbeat delay of the soloist and the red dots the offbeat delays. Note that in medium tempi, all soloists are delayed relatively the drummer on the downbeat and synchronized on the upbeat.

The music examples are synthesized with timing according to the regression lines in the figures at the specified tempo.

More information about the measurements is found in:

Friberg, A. and Sundström, A. (2002). Swing ratios and ensemble timing in jazz performance: Evidence for a common rhythmic pattern. Music Perception 19(3), 333-349

Hamer, M. (2000) All that jazz . New Scientist 23/30 December 2000, 48-51.

Friberg, A. and Sundström, A. (1997) Preferred swing ratio in jazz as a function of tempo, Speech Music and Hearing Quarterly Progress and Status Report, 4/1997, pp. 19-28.

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