Term for randomized offset of clapping type of sounds?


I’m working on a new module and could use some advice for naming a specific parameter.

You know the sound that’s produced when a sample is played multiple times - nearly simultaneously? It often happens by mistake. It happened to me recently in a video game where multiple monsters of the same type were spawned. It has a unique, flange type of effect. This module will emulate that!

But also, imagine 10 people who clap at around the same time. It’ll do that as well. You’ll be able to load a handful of samples (like different clapping sounds) that will be cycled through during playback. For the clapping example, you wouldn’t want to have the timing to be precise. You’d want to be able to add some randomness to the timing. So my question is: If that randomness was controlled by a knob, what should that knob be called? Groove? Swing? Jitter? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Bret

At first I was thinking “ratcheting” but reading further I don’t think that’s it. I don’t really know if there’s an official term for what you’re describing but Groove is more synonymous with “feel”. Swing already has a clear meaning to do with offsetting beats and Jitter is used to mean randomness.

What you’re describing is exactly a flanger. You can implement it in many ways, such as convolving a kernel of several delta functions spread over some duration.

Okay, if they’re different samples, then it’s not flanging. There’s no way around just playing the N different samples at certain times.

I’d call it Spread. Can’t think of a more straightforward term. It would be in time units such as seconds.

I don’t know if it’s exactly that, but when two similar sounds happen almost simuteanously, but are slightly different in pitch, it causes a “beat”. It’s what happens when you play the same note on 2 guitar strings that aren’t perfectly tuned for example.

1 Like

Maybe Latency or Lag…

Stochastic ?

1 Like

From your description I’m thinking flam, and q quick google search led me to this:

“A flam is musical term used to describe two notes played in quick succession (almost simultaneously). It is ​a technique often used to embellish a part of the song because it creates a​n accent in the music .”


Thanks everyone!!

1 Like



I thought “Jitter” mmight be it, but the description from wikipedia says:

“In electronics and telecommunications, jitter is the deviation from true periodicity of a presumably periodic signal, often in relation to a reference clock signal.”

That degree of deviation doesn’t get so great that the number of ticks per minute are not still the same as the intended period. A bit syncopated, but each tick is still boxed into a fixed limit. In the case of clapping or rain dripping, there’s sort of a bell curve of the distribution of times between ticks. I think. :thinking:

Whatever this turns out to be, it sounds like my project of simulating a beaded curtain being moved is related to it. A random flurry (?) of high-pitched “donk” sounds.

Round robin?


1 Like

I have seen this called “humanize”.

1 Like

I was going to say “DQ” for “dequantize”, but that’s still the same as “jitter”.

Bret - Do you intend for the feature to have different tempos for each “clapper” as well? This would be more like applause than, say, drunks attempting to clap in unison to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.

Randomizing or dequantizing each clapper would prevent phase patterns, such as in Steve Reich’s “Clapping”, where the clappers go with slightly different tempos from each other.

At no time could it be confused for applause.

@john_rose That’s a great video! I was envisioning something more like drunks attempting to clap in unison. Actually, “unison” might be a great term to use for the parameter controlling the accuracy of the gouping. I haven’t focused on this idea for a while, but I’ll try to revisit it soon. (I’m putting the final touches on an expander module for Grain Engine MK2 at the moment.) In a lot of pop music, you hear a group of people clapping or stomping (“we will, we will rock you”), and my thought was to create a module to assist with that type of sound.

1 Like