Try an online Rhythmicon!

Posted: 10/6/2009 9:30:48 AM

From: Asheville, NC

Joined: 1/25/2008

I've heard of the Rhythmicon before but just discovered this the other day.

Grand fun. Block rocking beats circa 1930!

From Wikipedia:

The Rhythmicon—also known as the Polyrhythmophone—was the world's first electronic drum machine (or "rhythm machine," the original term for devices of the type).
In 1930, the avant-garde American composer and musical theorist Henry Cowell commissioned Russian inventor Léon Theremin to create the remarkably innovative Rhythmicon. Cowell wanted an instrument with which to play compositions involving multiple rhythmic patterns impossible for one person to perform simultaneously on acoustic keyboard or percussion instruments. The invention, completed by Theremin in 1931, can produce up to sixteen different rhythms—a periodic base rhythm on a selected fundamental pitch and fifteen progressively more rapid rhythms, each associated with one of the ascending notes of the fundamental pitch's overtone series. Like the overtone series itself, the rhythms follow an arithmetic progression, so that for every single beat of the fundamental, the first overtone (if played) beats twice, the second overtone beats three times, and so forth. Using the device's keyboard, each of the sixteen rhythms can be produced individually or in any combination. A seventeenth key permits optional syncopation. The instrument produces its percussion-like sound using a system, proposed by Cowell, that involves light being passed through radially indexed holes in a series of spinning discs before arriving at electric photo receptors."

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