I just did my music math and this shows how hip hop and math are connected.

In this program I am fixing up the beat, because some samples and instrumentals in the beat are off tempo and I have to get it back on tempo. So I have to figure out how many beats does the instrumental have, and I  have to fraction it  because each beat has 4 beats that repeat. So you have to count how many times it repeats so you  have to count how many beats per second it’s repeating. And it’s depending on how long the song or beat is so you have to really do your math and put the beat back on tempo.

http://www.thirteen.org/get-the-math/the-challenges/math-in-music/try-other-music-challenges/23/

1 Comment
1. Alex 2 years ago

Dear Randy,

I was intrigued by your short writing because the beats, tempos, and samples in hip hop is an incredible and, of course, dire part of the equation, which dictates a predominant amount of critical reception, whether positive or negative. It is an age old argument, beats vs. bars, and personally, I believe there is no true answer. Both are as crucial as the other. It is truly incredible how, to put it frankly, idiotic it is for people to put down artists and producers for creating sample based hip hop, claiming it is lazy or stealing, and I’m sure you feel the same way. The process of creating a 4/4 beat and altering, for instance, a sample of a Pink Floyd song in 7/4 and a gospel sample in 3/4 time into an instrumentation that flows well and doesn’t sound amateurish is one that can be tedious and make for quite an impressive outcome.

Aside from crafting the time signature of a song, aligning the tempo of a song is also an incredibly difficult process. Take, for instance, though it may be an obvious or amateurish example, Kanye West’s Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1, coincidentally a prime example of the importance of bars vs. beats, with sub par, if not terrible lyrics with an incredible beat. The use and very subtle altering of the gospel song “Do Not Pass Me By’ by Pastor T.L Barrett shows that it is possible to take a sample inconsistent in tempo and either slow it down or speed it up prior to the point of the pitch being altered to a comedic extent.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.