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poly rhythm and time.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sebm89, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Sebm89


    Apr 30, 2012
    Hey, guys.
    Ive been having alot of fun playing bass.
    And i found the rhythm side of bass being the thing that rly makes me pick up my bass instead of guitar.

    Anyway, ive been trying to get more in to polyrhythm.
    i feel i got an okay sense of time. i can do an okay 6/8 over 4/4 in an blues progression rhythm. But when ive try to apply it to other lines, or use it in a "solo". i cant seem to find it. even Just doing it on one note, i lose the equal spacing I know the theory behind it. But i only seems to have it, when it comes to that blues thing.

    SO, i was wondering if any of u guys have some exercises for these sort of things. not just 6/8. but just polyrhythm and rhythm in gerneral.

    As i said, i feel i have an okay feel of rhythm. i can find my way around odd time signatures, and the use of dotted quarter note. So its more the question on getting some exercises to getting it from my head to the bass(?). and being free to use it when ever i feel like..

    Thank you. hope u can help.

  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    "6/8 over 4/4" is not the typical way one describes poly rhythm.
    It is generally phrased " X against Y"
    So do you mean 6 against 4?

    Since you mentioned blues, I think You are probably thinking of a of 12/8 blues shuffle rhythm, which is quite easy to feel, but not really a polyrhtyhm....
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Check out "Tempo" by Frozen Ape. It's an app for iPad, iPod etc etc. You can set up all kind of polyrthyms.
  4. You can't play in 6/8 when the rest of the band is playing 4/4. I assume you mean playing 6 notes to a bar?

    I agree with you though; I find with bass, the timing of the notes you play is just as important as the choice of notes, as are the notes you leave out. Andy Fraser (the best bass player I ever heard) is a master of rhythmic changes.

  5. If I understand OP, he is playing two rhythms simultaneously -- one 6/8 and one 4/4

    That would be 3 measures of 4/4 in the same time as 4 measures of 6/8. The rhythmic accents interacting the way they do is what usually makes the polyrhythm sound.

    At least, that's how my drummer explained them to me.
  6. I've never heard the term "polyrhythm", but I assume it's the same as cross-rhythm, which has to do with playing different notes within a given metre (e.g., two eighth notes against triplet eighths).

    Time signatures are simple metre: if you're playing in 4/4 you can play an combination of notes (crotchets, quavers, etc) or rests within a bar, but they have to add up to 4. You can't really play one time signature against another.
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Polyrhythms are compound time sigs in over all feel, but can be the blend of playing 4/4 with one hand and 3/4 with the other, so effectively the strong beat where they converge will be 12 ( 3x4 or 4x3 =12 ) for a long feel, or just triplets over duplets for for a short feel.

    They are two different rhythms ( or more if many players are involved ) played at the same time, African music has lots of it, many people's first mainstream introduction to it was Gracelands by Paul Simon.
    Sometimes known as Afrobeat, you will find it in sounds and music by many artists.

    Most Eastern based music is polyrhythmic in origin, so look to there for examples, plus there are some great books on the subject, the Hal Leonard published book by Peter Magadini is a good starting place and as usual has great notation and a CD of examples.

  8. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Well, if you put 2 bars of 6/8 over one bar of 4/4 it works fine... and in fact a good bit of 50's Rock and Roll is just that although most people would call it 12/8 feel in 4/4 time. If you aren't reading music, the bar line is way more subjective.

    The same situation comes up with 3/4 time. At medium fast tempos, some musicians will think of it in '1' and others in '3'.

    I'm wondering if the OP is talking more about sub-division that polyrhythm.
  9. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    Maybe it's just some listening-habits you should reinforce ;)
    Like listening to some Afro Beat tunes, anyway african music generally speaking, and some jazz or funk stuff deriving from those influences.

    Also, you could work with a drum machine after that and config it to play 6/8 grooves, I guess EZ Drummer does that, but there are many more, as the app previously mentioned by Bass Chuck.

    An example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7iDQEJ0Htg&feature=related

    This one is really cool too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7iDQEJ0Htg&feature=related
  10. True, but it's just changing the feel, not the time signature, though if it helps to think of it that way I guess it doesn't really matter.

    Yes, I reckon that's a better description.
  11. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    12/8 is still 4 beat of 3 notes ... so it's easily be a 4/4 with all triplet ...

    Polyrythm as more to do with one instrument play something in 5/8 while another instrument play something in 3/4
  12. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    No, that's polymeter: Simultaneous time signatures with a common unit of subdivision (in the above case, the 8th note) but different bar lengths and different implied strong-weak beats.

    Polyrhythm is a ratio, where a larger common unit of musical (and hence, absolute) time is subdivided into several equally-spaced parts that are not whole-number multiples of one another. Eg, a quarter note quintuplet which divides one measure of 4/4 into five equally spaced units; 5:4.
  13. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011

    Best advice I ever got regarding learning to hear polyrhythms was to learn what the composite sounded like. iow, rather that try to figure out how much "faster" (sic) the n-tuplets have to go against the current pulse, learn what the resultant rhythm of the n-tuplet plus the current pulse sounds like...and then learn which portions of that composite rhythm you would play (and/or omit) in order to just articulate one or the other components of that polyrhythm.

    The advantage of this is that if you know what the composite sounds like you don't wind up restricting yourself to just articulating one or the other components of that polyrhythm; you can create rhythmic phrases that touch on both parts while not necessarily articulating every instance of either part. This allows you to create compelling syncopated figures that infer the polyrhythm without sounding like remedial math exercises.
  14. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL

  15. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Oh oki ! sometime dealing in another language doesn't translate well. Thank for the clarification
  16. This should be of at least some help in clearing up the basics of this concept. Who better to talk about this than Steve Vai himself? :)

  17. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Poly Rhythm = Math Metal....
  18. Fuzzy Dustmite

    Fuzzy Dustmite

    Jan 25, 2005
    Mesa, AZ
  19. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    OP, do you know how to deal with normal metrical music? Simple meter (a bunch of 2's), compound meter (a bunch of 3's), asymmetric meter (a mixture of 2's and 3's), all that? I'd get that down before trying to deal with tuplets, cross rhythm, and polymeter.
  20. I agree. I think your time would be better spent mastering the basics before delving into these sorts of nebulous concepts.