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date: 25 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sketches a general history of rhythm quantization as a widespread practice in popular music culture. Quantization—a sound technology that automatically maps microrhythmic fluctuations onto the nearest beat available within a predefined metric grid—challenges traditional notions of musicking as an embodied activity that is grounded in the co-presence of human agents. At the same time, it encapsulates cultural and cognitive processes that are entirely human, fitting into a broader historical shift towards chronometric precision in Western music. Questions arising from this apparent contradiction are taken up in this chapter, which situates rhythm quantization as an emergent technocultural practice, examining its attendant technologies and requisite structures of music-theoretical knowledge, as well as its reception within the context of different musical genres.

Keywords: rhythm quantization, microrhythm, metric grid, technoculture, sound technology, popular music

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