It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing…. Including Rock.

Here’s a super cool music hack that I came across while perusing BoingBoing from last weekend’s San Francisco’s Music Hack Day. It’s called Swinger from Tristan Jehan, PhD from MIT Media Lab. It effectively takes any song and transforms it into a swing version of the song. For those not familiar, a swung note or shuffle note is a style of playing, mainly in jazz-influenced music, where notes with equal written time values are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short notes. Therefore, a swing or shuffle rhythm is the one produced by playing repeated pairs of notes in this way.

So the magic of The Swinger is it converts any song into a swing song, through a program written with a bit of python code. It does this by taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half (so it takes songs written say in 4/4 time and transforms them into unequal durations – creating a swing rhythm).  The effect is almost magical.  Here are some examples (I’ve included the “straight” version of White Rabbit for comparison):

Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit “Straight”

Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit

Metallica: Sandman “Straight”

Metallica: Sandman

Guns and Roses: Sweet Child O Mine

The Beatles: I Will

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