A useful thing to do with position data (e.g. from a motion capture system) is to calculate the first and second derivatives. These will give you the velocity and acceleration, respectively. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, it is possible to continue calculating derivatives of derivatives. Here are the names for the first 10 ones:

  • original: position
  • velocity (1st)
  • acceleration (2nd)
  • jerk (3rd)
  • snap/jounce (4th)
  • crackle (5th)
  • pop (6th)
  • Lock (7th)
  • Drop (8th)
  • Shot (9th)
  • Put (10th)

Whether these are useful or not is another question…

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.