Moving in Time: Computational Analysis of Microtiming in Maracatu De Baque Solto

Matthew Edward Price Davies, Magdalena Fuentes, João Fonseca, Luís Aly, Filippo Bonini Baraldi, Marco Jerónimo

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


"Maracatu de baque solto" is a Carnival performance combining music, poetry, and dance, occurring in the Zona da Mata Norte region of Pernambuco (Northeast Brazil). Maracatu percussive music is strongly repetitive, and is played as loud and as fast as possible. Both from an MIR and ethnomusicological perspective this makes a complex musical scene to analyse and interpret. In this paper we focus on the extraction of microtiming profiles towards the longer term goal of understanding how rhythmic performance in Maracatu is used to promote health and well-being. To conduct this analysis we use a set of recordings acquired with contact microphones which minimise the interference between performers. Our analysis reveals that the microtiming profiles differ substantially from those observed in more widely studied South American music. In particular, we highlight the presence of dynamic microtiming profiles as well as the importance of the choice of time-keeper instrument, which dictates how the performances can be understood. Throughout this work, we emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in which MIR, audio engineering, and ethnomusicology must interact to provide meaningful insight about this music.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020
EventInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference - Montréal, Canada
Duration: 11 Oct 202016 Oct 2020
Conference number: 21


ConferenceInternational Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference
Abbreviated titleISMIR 2020
Internet address


  • Musical features and properties
  • Expression and performative aspects of music
  • Applications
  • Music and health, well-being, and therapy
  • Rhythm, beat, tempo


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