Drum Polyrhythms

 

Drum Polyrhythms – Spirit Music Meet-Ups

Drum Polyrhythms – Spirit Music Meet-Ups

 

 

Drum Polyrhythms – Spirit Music Meet-Ups

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A Quick but Non-standard Method for Counting any Polyrhythm

A Quick Method for Counting any Polyrhythm:

 

 

A against/over B (A:B) Polyrhythm:

 

A = number of Notes in the “top” (“A“) Rhythm.  Some consider “A” to be the dominant Cross- or Counter-Rhythm.

B = number of Notes in the “bottom” (“B“) Rhythm.  Some consider “B” to be the “background” or “base” Rhythm.

 

 

Using the example of a 6:4 Polyrhythm where the “top” (“A“) Rhythm has 6 Notes and the “bottom” (“B“) Rhythm has 4 Notes:

 

 

1.  Count the “A” Rhythm’s subdivisions as 6 groups of 4 subdivisions for a total of 24 subdivisions, with the 1st subdivision bolded to show where the Played Notes are and the other subdivision shown as Rests or optionally as a Fill-in by another limb:

 

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4.

 

 

2.  Count the “B” Rhythm’s subdivisions as 4 groups of 6 subdivisions for a total of 24 subdivisions, with the 1st subdivision bolded to show where the Played Notes are and the other subdivisions shown as Rests or optionally as a Fill-in by another limb:

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6.

 

 

3.  Now line the subdivisions up one on top of the other, and you can see the relationship of the Played Notes.

 

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

 

 

4.  Create a middle line of commonly Rested or Fill-in subdivisions. The “top” and “bottom” Rhythms show only the Played Notes.

 

1        1        1          1         1         1             6 Played Notes

2 3 4   2   2   2 3 4    2 3 4    2   2    2 3 4

1              1              1               1                  4 Played Notes

 

 

5.  Re-start the counting where both rhythms have a common Note (i.e., the common “1” from above – the Polyrhythms Cycle’s Resolution):

 

|1          5          9                     |1           5           9                 |

|    2 3 4   6     8   10  11  12  |    2 3 4    6     8     10 11 12  |

|1                7                           |1                7                         |

 

 

6.  Or use other counting methods that are easier to say quickly:

 

|1         3          5            |1        3       5       |1        3       2      |

|  + 2 +    +   +    + 6 +   |     2                6   |     2                3  |

|1                4                  |1            4           |1            1           |

 

 

7.  It may be easier to learn the Feel of the polyrhythm by first reducing the 6:4 by the least common multiple (e.g., 2), resulting in a polyrhythm that’s simpler to Count (e.g, 3:2 Hemiola). Using the above procedure results in:

 

3 groups of 2 subdivisions for a total of 6 subdivisions: 1 2 1 2 1 2

2 groups of 3 subdivisions for a total of 6 subdivisions: 1 2 3 1 2 3

 

But better shown as:

|1  2  1   2   1   2   |    3 Played Notes

|    2                 2   |     common rests

|1  2   3  1    2  3   |    2 Played Notes

 

Or counted differently:

|1    3    5   |1    3   2     |1     a     e   |

|   2         6 |   2          3  |   e            a|

|1      4       |1       1       |1        2       |

 

 

8.  This polyrhythm can be played in variety of ways:

 

a. Play the top line with 1 limb and bottom line with another limb.

b. Do the same but Fill-in  the middle line subdivisions with a 3rd limb.

c.  Do the same but Fill-in  the middle line subdivisions with a 3rd & 4th limb together.

d.  Do the same but Fill-in  the middle line subdivisions with a 3rd & 4th limb alternating.

e. Do a. but assign ostinatos for the other 2 limbs.

f.  Do b. but assign an ostinatos for the 4th limb.

 

 

Video – 2 over 3 or 4 over 6 Polyrhythm – 1/4 note Beat, 1/4-note Triplet Bass-Drum, 2 & 4 Snare Backbeats

 

More coming!

 

 

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