[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: maximum tatum (one tatum, two tata)

Bruno Repp wrote:
> A variety of phenomena have been mentioned in connection with the
> "tatum", but has anyone given a clear definition of the tatum? Who
> coined that term in the first place? I have encountered it only once
> previously, in Vijay Iyer's dissertation. Is he the inventor of the
> term?

I believe the first one to use the term 'tatum' was Bilmes, in his
master's thesis "Timing is of the essence: Perceptual and computational
techniques for representing, learning, and reproducing expressive timing
in percussive music" (MIT, 1993).

p.22, he writes:
"It is the lowest level of the metric musical hierarchy. We use it to
judge the placement of all musical events."
"Often, it is an illusory perception."
"Often, it is defined by the smallest time interval between successive
notes in a rhythmic phrase." This could be compared to a definition given
by Schloss, in his PhD Thesis (p33) refering to Yeston's "attack-point":
"Attack-point: distance (duration) between attacks, in term of the local

Bilmes also writes:
"Other times, however, the tatum is not as apparent; then, it might best
be described as that time division that most highly coincides with all
note onsets."

>From what I've read, there is no study regarding the perception of the
Should it be considered as a property of our perception or as a property
of the signal? Bilmes argues the former by showing that transformations
(i.e. deviations) achieved at that level are expressively relevant.


Fabien Gouyon
Music Technology Group IUA-UPF Barcelona
tel : (00 34) 93 542 28 64