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Where, exactly, is my Downbeat here??


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  • Where, exactly, is my Downbeat here??

    Here's an interesting question that verges a bit into "psychoacoustics"...   ie.,  not only what is acoustically heard,  but what is musically intended.

    Take a look at my screencap:   It's a picture of a wave,  of course,  expanded a bit wide for better view.  Specifically it's the sound of me cracking two wooden rulers together on their edges,  for maximum sharpness.    You're looking at one "hit" of the rulers.     My living room is not acoustically treated,  but nor is it especially reverberant.

    ruler hit.JPG

    QUESTION:  Now,  assuming I want to use this sample as an indication on my Timeline of where a specific beat in a 4/4 measure occurs....    Where,  in this "clap" of sound would you consider my "psychoacoustic" beat to be?     Where the first squiggle arises from the midline?     The highest peak above the midline?    Or the lowest extreme below the midline?     (I've turned off the "Snap To" function of the Now-Time  Indicator,  so it can be positioned anywhere along the sample I'd like it).

    Sure,  I know I am splitting hairs here...   but I'm just damned curious is all.    Are there established proper names for these different moments in a sample,  BTW?

    Thanks,    ras

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  • #2
    Assuming I'm reading your timeline correctly it looks like we're talking about a matter of 10 milliseconds. If the markers between :832 and :840 are indeed milliseconds.. That's long that low-level pre attack region is, one 1/100 of a second. So really it's just a matter of how tight your tolerances are. There's always some pre sound commotion happening in the production of an event. Trim it or don't. It really doesn't matter in the end.
    Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
    Dad is great and all but he never could sing -


    • #3

      Psychoacoustically correct placement of this dangerous sound is

      when this sound doesn't drive you to Wahnsinn.


      • joel Oporto
        joel Oporto commented
        Editing a comment

        In my opinion it all has to do with the piece of music you are using it on. Just as a drummer would put a "laid back" feel on a snare or a more "urgent" timing. But Basically (probably because I'm a guitarist) I would put the downbeat on the highest amplitude much as my downbeat on a guitar strum would coincide with the top note meaning the 1st string note.