Mingus

Mingus (2016- ) is a digital metronome designed to meet several goals (Mermikides/Faia 2016):

  • Real-time feedback of a live performance relative to a given rhythmic template (somewhat analogous to a singer using a tuner)
  • An intuitive visualization of the beat or rhythmic cycle
  • The engagement with micro-rhythmic information up to and beyond the limits of human perception rather than limited by the economies of standard notation
  • The ability to engage with any recorded material so that time-feel may be extracted, analysed and practised.
  • Engagement with not just micro-timing onsets but also micro-rhythmic components such as duration and relative velocity

Mingus meets these aims with a circular representation of the beat cycle as in Mingus’s ‘rotary perception’ (see Mermikides 2020a), which can be subdivided into practically any number of slices. Rhythmic templates (‘grooves’) can be manually inputted, recalled or extracted from recorded material. Audio files are wrapped into a circular form revealing the shape of onsets, offsets and dynamics. Once a groove is selected (which can be anything from a single click to a complex rhythmic cycle) it can be replayed at any tempo and used as a reference for live performance (through MIDI, audio or keyboard input). Matching can be monitored visually or aurally with ‘click suppression’ or through a beat difference translation system. A video demonstration of its function is included here for reference.

Mingus explanatory video
Mingus demonstration at the 2016 International Guitar Research Centre conference.

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