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Title An ethnographic and technological study of breakbeats in hardcore, jungle and drum & bass
Publication Date
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Schulich School of Music
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher McGill University

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United Kingdom's DJ-oriented electronic music community embraced new technologies and developed innovative techniques to master these technologies, resulting in the development of new genres. Three such genres, Hardcore, Jungle, and Drum & Bass (HJDB), emerged at the critical intersection between computer technology and the consumer market, which allowed computer music to be made through the use of home-based studios. The essential instrument in HJDB was the digital sampler, a device that offered musicians the ability to achieve realistic instrumentation through a "cut-and-paste" method of production. The thread that ties these three genres together was their unique usage of fast-paced sampled drums, derived primarily from breakbeats—samples of short percussion solos typically from 1960s to 1980s Funk and Jazz recordings. This dissertation explores a number of important issues that have not been addressed in prior writing on HJDB, and consists of three main objectives. The first is to provide a written history of the genres from the perspective of those that have made the music. This history catalogues the origins of the United Kingdom's DJ-oriented electronic music genres, the incorporation of breakbeats into this music that created the Hardcore genre, and developments that then resulted in the creation of the Jungle genre and subsequently the Drum & Bass genre. The second objective is to provide an explanation of the main technologies used in the creation of this music (e.g., the digital sampler) and the techniques developed by musicians to harness this technology. The third objective is to provide methods for the computational analysis of HJDB music, through automated determination of the breakbeats being used, detection of downbeat locations, and an estimation of the degree of rhythmic modification. Each of these objectives has been informed by over twenty interviews with musicians and label owners from throughout the history of HJDB. Computational methods based on HJDB-specific knowledge are shown to significantly outperform generalized music analysis techniques, highlighting the importance of style-specific approaches for computational musicology.

Durant la fin des années 80 et le début des années 90 au Royaume Uni, le monde de la musique électronique destinée aux DJ a adopté de nouvelles technologies et développé des techniques innovantes pour les maîtriser, aboutissant ainsi au développement de nouveaux genres. Trois de ces genres, Hardcore, Jungle, et Drum & Bass (HJDB), ont émergé au croisement critique entre la technologie numérique et le marché grand public, permettant la production de musique numérique dans les "home studios". L'instrument clé en HJDB était l'échantillonneur numérique, un appareil offrant aux musiciens la possibilité de réaliser une instrumentation réaliste grâce à une méthode de production "couper-coller". Le point commun entre ces trois genres était l'utilisation d'extraits de batterie au rythme rapide, principalement dérivés des…

Subjects/Keywords Communications And The Arts - Music
Contributors Ichiro Fujinaga (Supervisor)
Language en
Rights All items in [email protected] are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Country of Publication ca
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:digitool.library.mcgill.ca:121313
Other Identifiers TC-QMM-121313
Repository mcgill
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-09
Grantor McGill University

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