Polyrhythmus is the machine generator of notes and rhythms many of us have long dreamt of.

It does Euclidean rhythms – symmetrical divisions of time that beautifully produce common polyrhythms (not just for nerds, but modeling a lot of popular rhythms – see the research of Godfried Toussaint). It’s also capable of making other rhythms. It can be polymetrical or polyrhythmic. It’s … also an arpeggiator. It also automates parameters and MIDI Control Change messages. It has loads of modes. It’s modular. It’s dynamic. It’s amazing. It’s a music making nerd’s dream, friendly to anyone who loves rhythms, notes, and patterns.

It’s, for now, a convenient Max for Live module for Ableton Live. But the creator wants to know if we’d want a standalone version. Answer: yes.

Watch, as creator Benniy C. Bascom demonstrates:

So, in review:

  • Rhythms
  • Arpeggiators
  • Automation of MIDI CC and parameters
  • Live arpeggiation and pattern sequencing
  • Sequences that trigger other sequences
  • Skip steps
  • Randomize parameters
  • May open wormholes to other dimensions (he told you to watch the whole video tutorial – consider yourself warned)

It’s not the first to do these things, but it’s certainly one of the craziest. And it’s impressive how much he’s fit into a tiny rack space – and how efficiently he provides access to rhythmic pattern creation.

This is the latest of Benniy’s creations, but it’s not alone – think more sequencers and parameter playback via clip names.

I could say more, but … no, sorry, I’m off to play with this.

And you can also look at this pretty picture (click for a Tumblr-friendly animated GIF):


In fact, if there’s any complaint about it, it’s the license – it’s fantastic that it’s free. But it’s marked Creative Commons Non-Commercial and No Derivatives – the latter meaning that people can’t modify it and share what they’ve made, which would seem to open up some possibilities. I’d actually rather pay some money for it, but get a CC license that let you make some derivative works based on the same idea. Still, I’m glad as always to see an explicit license, I understand the reason not to allow derivatives (clones and mods distracting from the original), and it’s too good to complain.

Updated: The creator has generously removed the No Derivatives restriction. That means you are free to modify it and share those modifications, so long as you don’t receive any commercial gain (it’s still marked Non-Commercial). Thanks!

Thanks, Jesse Engel, for the tip!

POLYRHYTHMUS – a modular euclidean rhythm builder 1.0 [that description, while true, is about 25% of what it does]