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domingo, 27 de abril de 2008

what is Polyrhythms? fruity loops tutorials

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Polyrhythms are basically described as note divisions of one time signature being played over another. They are very common place in traditional west african and indian music, Babatunde Olatunji being one of the most well known percussionists to first use complex polyrhythmic ideas in the west in his 1959 album Drums of Passion(a collection of traditional Nigerian drum/chant music). More recent bands well known to use polyrhythms in their music are Meshuggah, Dream Theatre, Tool, and Frank Zappa's late work.


Thats enough history, lets get to how to use them.

Since rhythmic notation cant really be used in this text form, quarter notes are separated by two "-"s, eighths separated by one, and sixteenths arent separated at all.

All Examples Given Are In 4/4

The most common polyrhythm used is three notes used in the place of one quarter note, the example used are straight 8th note triplets, which are the equivalent of 12/8 time sig




1 2 3 4
E--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-----|
B------------------------------|
G------------------------------|
D------------------------------|
A------------------------------|
E------------------------------|

The numbers above the tab represent the beat in the bar.

Triplets shouldnt be confused with:

1 2 3 4
E--000-000-000-000-------------|
B------------------------------|
G------------------------------|
D------------------------------|
A------------------------------|
E------------------------------|

Which are two sixteenth notes followed by one eighth note(they sound cool, i know, but they arent triplets)

As always start out slow with a metronome and make sure the triplet is even within the beat, the easiest way to make sure your playing it evenly is to say a three syllable word along with playing, like banana:

1 2 3 4
ba na na ba na na ba na na ba na na

This method should be pretty entertaining for you and anyone listening to you practice :).

The next polyrhythm we'l look at are divisions of five:

1 2 3 5
E-00000 00000 00000 00000------|
B------------------------------|
G------------------------------|
D------------------------------|
A------------------------------|
E------------------------------|

thses are pretty difficult to get comfortable with at first, but using the method before can help a lot, the five syllable word I was given back when i first got into polyrhythms was hippopotamus:

1 2 3 3
hip po pot a mus hip po pot a mus hip po pot a mus hip po pot a mus

These may take longer than the triplets to get down, but once you practice them for a while theyl become familliar.

the next one is divisions of 7:

1 2 3 4
E-0000000 0000000 0000000 0000000--|
B----------------------------------|
G----------------------------------|
D----------------------------------|
A----------------------------------|
E----------------------------------|

Since seven syllable words arent really common to those of us that didnt pay attention in english class, we'l take one 3-syllable word and one 4-syllable word and say them one after the other to the metronome in order to familiarise with the "7 feel" (for this one it'l be: banana polyrhythm), after your comfortable with the rhythm, increase speed with the guitar:

1 2 3
ba na na po ly rhy thm ba na na po ly rhy thm ba na na po ly rhy thm

4
ba na na po ly rhy thm

After that, it can keep going on to divisions of 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and so on.
So this is my introduction to basic polyrhythms for anyone that isnt familiar with them.

Ill have another article along soon that'l dig into more complex polyrhythms, basic division required :)

 
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