Through the music of guitar wizard george bellas, and drum virtuoso virgil donati, I began getting really into different rhythms and stuff lately. I remember how confusing polyrhythms were when I first started out on bass. So, since I've learned so much from people here I decided to give back to the community and post a lesson of sorts. I am by no means an expert on polyrhythms, so if anyone has anything to add then feel free to do so. Polyrhythm itself sounds like an intimidating word. It just sounds complex, with all those letters and syllables and stuff. However, the reality is that it isn't very complex at all. Polyrhythm simply means, more than one rhythm. That's the most basic definition. However, it usually implies a rhythm being played against another rhythm, creating unusual cross-pulses. Chances are you've already played polyrhythms even if you don't know it. Anyone that has done any kind of study on the style of iron maiden's steve harris is no doubt familiar with the triplet. The triplet is a very basic polyrhythm. It's a 3:1 rhythm, with three notes being played evenly in the space of one note. Here's a cool and logical way to think of polyrhythms. Let's take a 3:2 polyrhythm. The bottom number (2) is the pulse that is naturally felt when the groove is played. The top number (3) is the rhythm being superimposed on the groove. That may be all good and well you say, but how can I play a 3:2 polyrhythm? Well, the first step is to find the smallest number that both 3 and 2 can go into...with some simple math we find that 6 is the smallest number that is divisible by both 3 and 2. So, let's break the bar of music into six sections. The top number, 3, is the rhythm on top that needs to be superimposed. We can divide our 6 sections into three equal beats by playing every other section. The bottom number, 2, is the natural pulse. We can divide our 6 sections into two equal beats by playing once every third section. Let's say we're playing the 3:2 polyrhythm with the 3 being an F and the 2 being a low E. Here are the six sections with a display of what should be played during each section. Each section has an equally long duration time wise. 1 2 3 4 5 6 [ F ] [ ] [ F ] [ ] [ F ] [ ] [ E ] [ ] [ ] [ E ] [ ] [ ] If you were playing the F notes with your right hand and the E notes with your left hand, the 3:2 polyrhythm could be described by this pattern, both, right, left, right Hopefully this has been a helpful introduction into the world of polyrhtyhms for some people. Please feel free to add or ask questions if something wasn't clear. edit- the visual blocks with the sections and the notes aren't really lining up right. So don't get confused by that, I just haven't figured out how to space it on this posting screen so it comes out right on the final screen yet.