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Re: Microrhythm

From: Han-Wen Nienhuys
Subject: Re: Microrhythm
Date: Wed, 23 May 2018 22:47:11 +0200

On Tue, May 22, 2018 at 6:01 AM, metachromatic <address@hidden> wrote:
>   Different percentages of microrhythm will require correspondingly
> larger tuplets, and, due to the bad design decision to represent
> rhythms internally in Lilypond as integers, you'll soon run out of
> fraction changes. This is a fatal flaw in Lilypond's design which of
> course no one has ever bothered to fix and never will lift a finger to
> fix.
>   The solution from the point of view of the progammers is to hurl
> insults at people like me who point out the design flaw. The
> this is a major bug, naturally it has never been addressed, and
> obviously it never will be addressed by any of the Lilypond
> programmers. Standard, usual, typical, and quotidian.


I am the person who made the decision ("fatal flaw") to use simple
integers for the rational numbers. This decision predates GUILE by a
long time, and for the sake of simplicity (the manual memory
management is a PITA) and performance, this type was never moved to

I have never corresponded with you, much less hurled insults, and to
be frank, I find your attitude disconcerting. But, if you wish to
complain to the guilty, stop bothering David and the good folks from
the list, and send your complaints directly to me, so I can hurl the
insults back properly.

If you really need more resolution for the rational numbers, you could
try to express rationals as int128 fractions, and see how far that
brings you. It should be relatively easy to write (this is a typical
Google interview question), and has no implications for memory

> from the point of view of users is to abandon Lilypond and use a MIDI
> editor to change the number of MIDI ticks in each microrhythm note,
> bypassing Lilypond's limitation of integer internal representation of

MIDI ticks are 384 to the quarter note, ie. they give you a precision
roughly equivalent to an int16 fraction. My mind boggles why you write
"microrhythm" music, only to have it represented in such a "lossy"
medium as MIDI.

Come to think of it, our hearing goes to 20kHz, so a whole note at a
typical quarter = 60 tempo has 80,000 oscillations at max. The timing
of these you could comfortably express in int32 fractions.

It seems to me that you should not ever convert this microrhythmic
music to sound so as to not do a disservice to its carefully construed
rhythmic finesse.

Han-Wen Nienhuys - address@hidden -

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