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Euclidean Rhythm Generator

October 27, 2013

Godfried Toussaint wrote a paper in 2005 “The Euclidean algorithm generates traditional music rhythms” which describes the application of Euclid’s algorithm, and more usefully Bjoklund’s algorithm, to musical rhythms. The Euclidean algorithm is a method for computing the greatest common divisor of two given integers while Bjorklund’s algorithm is a method for evenly distributing a number of pulses in a finite amount of time steps. The details of Bjorklund’s algorithm can be found in his paper “The Theory of Rep-Rate Pattern Generation in the SNS Timing System

I have implemented Bjoklund’s algorithm in a Max/MSP external so one can easily generate Euclidean rhythms of any length and with any amount of pulses. This can be useful for automatically generating rhythms which are complex enough to be interesting while still fitting into typical meters of traditional music.

Here is the GitHub repository for the Euclidean Rhythm Generator Max/MSP object. The GitHub site also has an example Max patch which demonstrates the objects control and function.

Feel free to use this object in your own projects and if you do please share it with me!

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