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The Amen Break and the Golden Ratio


Mathematician Michael S. Schneider saw a wave form of the well-known drum sequence known as the Amen Break. It’s a drum 5.2 second sequence performed by Gregory Cylvester Coleman of The Winstons and has been sampled and used by countless artists since it was recorded in the 60s. Schneider, seeing the waveform through the eyes of a math professor, recognized a pattern, a relationship called the Golden Ratio. So he began to analyze the drum sequence and its deeper meaning.
For more exact visual analysis I examined the wave image in my computer, in which I have a palatte of geometric forms and proportions for quickly identifying an object's ratios. Sure enough, Golden Ratio relationships were indicated among the different peaks. Am I seeing things? You decide. But the appearance of the Golden Ratio may help explain its popularity.

To appreciate this relationship between the Golden Ratio and sound, it's worthwhile to consider some of the ideal, eternal, unchanging principles of Golden relationships which can only be approximated in nature, and byartists, architects and musicians.

Link -via the Presurfer

I published an analysis of a piece of electronic music (The sea darkens... by Joji Yuasa) in which major sections and even individual sonic events are seemingly organized around the Golden Mean. Yuasa says that he wasn't trying to use the GM (or Golden Section) as an organizational tool but there were some remarkable moments.

Poeme electronique by Edgard Varese is reported to have been organized similarly (it was performed inside the Philips Pavilion, designed by Le Corbusier, who is well known to have made use of the GM/GS in his architecture).

It works well for musicians as it is not in the "normal" 1/2 or 1/3 proportion that most metrical music is written in.
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Not to be a hater, but that's some very poor analysis he does on the web page. For one thing, the points he chooses are approximate, not exactly lining up with the onset of the loudness peaks. I think he's really seeing a ratio of 1.625:1. In musical terms, that would be an accent on the downbeat of a 4/4 measure, and another accent on the fifth 8th-note of the measure. Pretty standard stuff in funk music and many other genres.
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Today I had to take care of an intern. She has short legs. She does not fit the graphs in the website.
What does it mean? That she's not good at funk music?

it's all BS.
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thank you review stew. this is guff.

its a wing of the pythagorean 'harmony of the spheres' school of musicology and its numerous descendants (which 99% of the world's music has nothing to do with - can somebody supply some golden section/non golden section statistics for the worlds music please?)
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The article is horrible but the Amen Break is very interesting in itself. I'm going to also recommend the video that Moodindigo posted above.
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I hate to be the bearer of negative news but this beat was alive and well a few years before the Winstons used it in '69. When I played in a garage band in during most of the 60's, our first drummer was using it in '65 or '66. He used to call it the Seattle beat. The northwest bands were using it in the early 60's--like the Wailers and Kingsmen and a local favorite, the Beachcombers.
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This is very very interesting. I am amazed at anything related to the golden ratio. Now this is also a great overview of the "amen break" itself. I found this very well made.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac
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