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Transport time note values – can you add more than the basic 1 2 4 8 16 32 etc

Aug 20 2012 | 7:13 pm

Hi All,

Can you put more unusual time note values into max 7nd 15n etc? Working on a generative device and was wondering how far I could push the timings.

Thanks for any help.

Aug 21 2012 | 12:39 am

Do you mean like 7nd would equal 7 dotted quarter notes? Or would that be a dotted septuplet? and 15n would equal 15 quarter notes? or would 15n be one 15th or a beat? I would actually like to know how to do groupings, like how would you notate 2 8nt? or 5 16n? If you could divide a beat into septuplets that would be cool.

Aug 21 2012 | 1:23 am


Notation depends on time signature. 5 16th notes could be notated a variety of ways depending on the time sig. In 4/4 time, it would simply be 4 16th notes per beat. However, once you get into compound time signatures such as 6/8, you have 12 16th notes per bar. Meaning there are 3 16th notes per beat.

2 8th note triplets would be notated simply with the triplet sign over 2 eighth notes. To my ears, though, this doesn’t sound very good rhythmically, and you would have to have the 3rd triplet in that same measure somewhere.

This post could go on and on. All the information above is assuming you mean how the notes would be written on paper.

Unfortunately, OP, I can’t help you much. I’m assuming it’s possible, but I wouldn’t know how to code it. I don’t even know how to time-sync my filter’s LFO. :(

Aug 21 2012 | 12:08 pm

I made a patch based on taking a selected time period …say 1-10 seconds and then dividing it say between 1-19 and then automatically chaging it when it had completed it’s cycle. In that way you could have different numbers of notes running over each other in the same time period. It could sound quite caotic, but also sometimes interesting and always came back to a sync point. However, it was a bit complicated and glitchy and I was wondering if there was an easier way to do it through the transport.

Aug 21 2012 | 2:09 pm

Noisey Parker, Do you think you can upload the patch you mentioned? I would love to take a look at it. Maybe your patch could be used to play 2 rhythms at once that share a common downbeat, say 7 against 5, or 3 against 5. I know this can be done using a common sequencer (5 quarter notes against 3 groupings of 5 triplets would be 3 against 5) but I would love to see how you did it.

Guitar guy, thanks for the comment. I actually know how to notate all that stuff on paper. To me the hard part is how to put those values in a message box to translate them into a max object.


Aug 21 2012 | 2:59 pm

@Noisey Parker

regarding your original question: I think the metrical timing bit in max only understands powers of two plus their triplet and dotted values. However, you can make others by calculating values in ticks.

There are 480 ticks in a quarter note so, to get a non-standard n value you need to divide 1920 (4 x480) by the metrical value your looking for.

e.g. 20n – a fifth of a quarter note would be 1920/20 = 96. (ticks)

I’m not sure how well ticks cope with non-integers so you might have to do some rounding/ quantization if you plan to use numbers like 7, 11, 13 and so on.



Aug 21 2012 | 5:44 pm


Thanks for the advice Richard I will have a good look at ticks tonight. Here is the patch I was talking about previously. It’s not without it’s charms but ultimately doesn’t stay in time with the transport; gradually falling out of time. If anyone has any tips for improving it I would be much obliged. And if any of you come across any interesting musical time patches or ideas please send them my way.

Aug 21 2012 | 6:47 pm

for some reason the code wont upload?

Aug 21 2012 | 6:50 pm

one more try…

  1. genp.maxpat
Aug 21 2012 | 8:23 pm


It seems to me that the math should be the same. Take a whole note and multiply it by the number that the note would represent.

i.e. [1n]>[translate notevalues hz]>[* .2] would get you 5 quarter notes in a measure (I don’t know the proper name for it other than a grouping of 5). Of course, I can’t confirm this because I haven’t tried it myself, but it seems like it would work. How to easily select between these odd note groupings is something I can’t really help you with, unfortunately.

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