Why haven’t I heard of this before? Did I sleep through the class in undergrad that talked about Euclidean rhythms? Mark Wilson asked about this during an interview with Figure’s project manager, Kalle Paulson over at Fastco Design:
Over each bar is a knob to tweak each instrument’s rhythm (which are based on Euclidean patterns, a mainstay in simple beat creation). “Behind the scenes, there are algorithms at work that distribute these pulses as evenly as possible over a number of slots, in this case 16 slots,”
Smarter than Smart Drums, in my opinion.
I looked into the app to see if the scale knob obeys these same rules, and it indeed prefers even distribution of tones versus conventional scale/chord logic.
Interestingly, when I first opened Figure I thought I was playing a minor scale, but the song settings indicate major. The default setting for scale is “4”.
The four tones it uses are indeed about as evenly split as 7 divided by 4 can be, which, when put into solfege is:
No leading tones here. Let’s say you’re like me and thought that La was 1 and it’s in minor. To those ears, 1-4 is assigned like this:
In other words, a minor chord with a flat leading tone. So the default setting in this app actually can be perceived as major or minor.