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Extracting a part of one piece of music and combining it within a context of a rhythmically different piece.


Xenochrony was devised by Frank Zappa in the 60's as a studio-only technique. It was an experimental technique used in a much a more approachable, rock-influenced style. Zappa is responsible for coining the name, but similar effects were explored at around that time by other artists both in pop (The Beatles) and by those of classical lineage (Steve Reich).

Constellation — A line-up for a single performance of improvised music.

When applied to acoustic music, xenochrony is a virtuosic technique. Steve Reich moved with his phasing method from studio to percussion performance; in popular music it is used notably by modern jazz drummers like Chris Dave and there is a strong similarity with complex rhythms of traditions akin to carnatic music. But today, sampling is much more commonly accepted as a form of live music-making and when a constellation involves samples, xenochrony may easily appear also in a music game played by non-professionals.

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