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Rhythm, Swing and Groove

These terms relate to the placement of percussive instruments that are a representation of the tempo of a composition. Specific placement of elements and the tempo of the rhythm section itself will heavily influence the genre of a musical piece.

Here are a few electronic music genres and their relative tempo ranges:

Hip Hop: 85 – 100BPM

Mid-tempo/Moomba: 100 – 110BPM

Tech-house: 120 – 125BPM

EDM/Big room: 128 – 132BPM

Trance: 130 – 140BPM

Dubstep: 140 – 150BPM

DnB: 155 – 175BPM

As a note; when referring to note increments (1/4, 1/8, 1/16.. etc) it means the division of 1 bar. For example, at 4/4 timing (signature), 1/4 refers to 1 beat, 1/8 refers to a half-beat and 1/16 refers to a quarter-beat.

The bar count "1.2.3" = 1 bar, 2 beats, 3 sub-beats


The rhythm of a song greatly influences is energy. High repetition can create excitement and movement while slow repetition creates emphasis on downbeats and dominant drums. 1/16 notes are fast, 1/8 notes are medium and 1/4 notes are slow.

With a lot of music, low frequency/dominant drums are less repetitive maintaining the fundamental tempo while high frequency drums create the excitement with high repetition and rhythmic variation. However, some genres have flipped this traditional method of drumming and experimented with it to help define sub or hybrid genres of music.


This technique utilizes a method similar to that of quantization. Depending on the swing settings, MIDI notes will be slightly pulled towards particular beat increments. This creates slightly more organic sounding patterns as they aren’t accurately quantized to the grid.

Swing techniques can emphasize particular beat increments providing a different rhythmic sequence.

The Arpeggiator MIDI effect has built in swing settings. Apply this effect to long MIDI notes to generate rhythmic elements. The Beat Repeat audio effect can help with rhythmic sequences in fill in empty spaces, much like a delay. As a rule of thumb, when using 1/8 rate, select 'Swing 8', with a rate of 1/16, select 'Swing 16' and finally with a 1/32 rate, select 'Swing 32'. Keeping the Groove uniform with the rate will have greater effects.


Grooves are entire MIDI clips that contain MIDI notes with programmed velocities and swing, Grooves may be extracted from audio and applied to other MIDI drum kits via the Groove Pool

Any Groove or MIDI clip can be saved into the User Library and used at a later date. This will also translate velocity information along with the MIDI notes themselves.


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