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Topic Options
#411413 - 12/11/01 03:50 PM Polyrhythms
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
Polyrhythm Primer: three against four

For those of you (like me) who don't pull off 3-against-4 with the greatest of ease, please check out the above site.

They also show some measures of different polyrhythm drum patterns that you can click on to hear. The first one (3-against-4) really illustrates the mnemonic "Eat - your go*damn spinach" (sorry) that I'd heard awhile back but never understood how it helps. But you can actually say these words to yourself as the pattern is playing and it makes sense.

For a real challenge, listen to the second bar (this one alternates between a couple measures with the 4 by itself with a couple measures of the 3-against-4 pattern.) Try drumming out the 3-against-4 pattern during those measures when the 4 is playing alone. It took me a long time to convince myself that the tempo isn't slowing down dramatically when the 3-against-4 pattern starts up! But (for me, unbelievably) it's not!

Anyway, I found it very interesting (and enlightening) and you might too.
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wgh

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#411414 - 12/11/01 08:38 PM Re: Polyrhythms
Amy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 433
Loc: Upstate New York
I find that it helps to play the rhythms with your hands on your thighs before you play it on the piano. Clapping is also good.
_________________________
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*Visit my page! http://www.expage.com/pianopalace

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#411415 - 12/13/01 08:06 AM Re: Polyrhythms
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19917
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Amy:
I find that it helps to play the rhythms with your hands on your thighs before you play it on the piano. Clapping is also good.[/b]


Now, Amy, how do you "clap" two against three, or three against four? As for me - perhaps I'm a freak - but I have only two hands, so I can only "clap" one rhythm at a time, not two different rhythms simultaneously. As for the thighs, that one I can do, although I've often heard that "thighs isn't important."

Just wondering ...

Cheers!
_________________________
BruceD
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#411416 - 12/13/01 09:38 AM Re: Polyrhythms
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 643
Loc: Durham, North Carolina
If I have to try to do the "two against three" type rhythm, I use both my hands and my feet, tap out a three-beat with my feet and then clap the two-beat with my hands, for example. (I know, my terminology might be bad, but then again, I never did do Music Theory 101!)
_________________________
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Lyn F.

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#411417 - 12/14/01 05:57 PM Re: Polyrhythms
Joe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 86
Loc: New Jersey
Hey, that was neat, thanks! It's funny, two agin' three was no problem, but I see after going to that page that my three agin' four was not spot-on. It made it so easy and clear though. Now hopefully they'll come out with 9 against 5 and 5 against 3. Our old friend Scriabin was a maniac.

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#411418 - 12/15/01 06:30 AM Re: Polyrhythms
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19917
Loc: Victoria, BC
I don't have too much trouble putting together two against three, and eventually I can do three against four. The particular piece I have trouble with because of cross rhythms (but would really like to be able to master) is the middle section of the Chopin Nocturne Op 15 No 2 in F# major, where the rhythm is five-against-two.

How did others of you who have mastered this Nocturne work on this section?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
closing in on 20,000!
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#411419 - 12/17/01 01:18 AM Re: Polyrhythms
Jerry Maddux Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/01
Posts: 24
Loc: Gulfport, MS
Hi BruceD.

I'm glad there's somebody else out there who's learning this nocturne. \:\) I've been playing it for over a year now and would be glad to give you some help.

In the middle section, marked Doppio movimento, you have a quintuplet pattern in the r.h. set against a syncopated l.h. The most important thing to remember here is to disregard the complicated notation that Chopin has written and study the r.h. as once voice. The basic pattern is this: r.h. & l.h. together, r.h., r.h, l.h, r.h., r.h. One thing to remember is that the "ands" in the l.h. come between notes of the r.h. But this applies only to the first 8 measures. In the 9th measure of this section the quintuplet pattern is replaced by a dotted 16th, a 32nd, and a 16th note triplet, in that order. This causes the rhythm to contract and become more energetic. And from here on to the recap of the first theme the cross-rhythms are eliminated, so that the "ands" in the l.h. come exactly with the 1st note of the triplet in the r.h.

Whew!

A couple more points: when the rhythm is in quintuplets, each of the 5 notes must be rhythmically equal. And the reason for disregarding the notation is because the pedals will catch all the inner voices.

I realize that this explanation is somewhat inadequate and that the subject of polyrhythms is very complex. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Regards,

Jerry

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#411420 - 12/17/01 01:21 AM Re: Polyrhythms
Jerry Maddux Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/01
Posts: 24
Loc: Gulfport, MS
Hi BruceD.

I'm glad there's somebody else out there who's learning this nocturne. \:\) I've been playing it for over a year now and would be glad to give you some help.

In the middle section, marked Doppio movimento, you have a quintuplet pattern in the r.h. set against a syncopated l.h. The most important thing to remember here is to disregard the complicated notation that Chopin has written and study the r.h. as once voice. The basic pattern is this: r.h. & l.h. together, r.h., r.h, l.h, r.h., r.h. One thing to remember is that the "ands" in the l.h. come between notes of the r.h. But this applies only to the first 8 measures. In the 9th measure of this section the quintuplet pattern is replaced by a dotted 16th, a 32nd, and a 16th note triplet, in that order. This causes the rhythm to contract and become more energetic. And from here on to the recap of the first theme the cross-rhythms are eliminated, so that the "ands" in the l.h. come exactly with the 1st note of the triplet in the r.h.

Whew!

A couple more points: when the rhythm is in quintuplets, each of the 5 notes must be rhythmically equal. And the reason for disregarding the notation is because the pedals will catch all the inner voices.

I realize that this explanation is somewhat inadequate and that the subject of polyrhythms is very complex. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Regards,

Jerry

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#411421 - 12/23/01 09:06 PM Re: Polyrhythms
pepper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 171
Loc: SF CA
Simply put, BruceD, the LH comes in between the 3rd and 4th RH notes. If you have to go really slow, count the RH notes as 1 and 2 and 3 and, and play that LH note on 3 AND. Or go fast and play LH right after the 3rd RH note.

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#411422 - 12/24/01 06:01 AM Re: Polyrhythms
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19917
Loc: Victoria, BC
Jerry Maddux and Pepper:

Thank you for your posts in reference to the Chopin Nocturne. I've put it aside for the moment, as a couple of the Etudes have me working hard and showing some progress in other areas.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
closing in on 20,000!
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Estonia 190

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#2468236 - 10/09/15 02:09 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: wghornsby]
RCasse Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/15
Posts: 19
Loc: California
I realize this is a super old thread that I've reviving here but does anyone have any tips on practicing 5 over 4 or 6 over 4 or 7 over 4? I'm okay with 3 over 4. I'm trying to get some help on quintuplets, sextuplets, and septuplets over say an 8th note rhythm.

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#2468527 - 10/10/15 10:20 AM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: wghornsby]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2486
Loc: NYC
For those more complex ones, I use graph paper. Take the number both values divide into (20 for 5 and 4, 28 for 7 and 4). 6 over 4 is just like two sets of 3 over 2.

Mark them out on the paper so you can see where the beats come. You'll find there's a point in the middle where a beat in one part is exactly halfway between two beats in the other. The two get closer to each other at either end and further away from each other in the middle.

I tap out a measure in 4 (using my open hands on knees, or on a table; left for 4 and right for the odd number). Do them each separately a good number of times before trying to combine them. It's absolutely important to make sure the overall length of the two figures is the same for each hand.

It isn't easy, but it works.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#2468542 - 10/10/15 11:16 AM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: wghornsby]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24320
Loc: Oakland
I play each rhythm separately until they become a subdivision of the one common beat. Then I put them together. The only real difficulty is when there are two rhythms in the same hand.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2468641 - 10/10/15 05:06 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: wghornsby]
RCasse Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/15
Posts: 19
Loc: California
Okay, I will give it a shot. Thanks for the tips. I just started to make sure I can play odd numbers correctly with one hand. Then I'll try to combine it with the 4 beats.

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#2468688 - 10/10/15 08:02 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: wghornsby]
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9293
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
When I was learning the Beethoven 10/3 as a teen, this passage took a while to grasp. Don't know why, but for some reason my hands were initially reluctant to work together.

_________________________
Jason

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#2468737 - 10/10/15 11:16 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: RealPlayer]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8736
Originally Posted By RealPlayer
For those more complex ones, I use graph paper. Take the number both values divide into (20 for 5 and 4, 28 for 7 and 4). 6 over 4 is just like two sets of 3 over 2.

Mark them out on the paper so you can see where the beats come. You'll find there's a point in the middle where a beat in one part is exactly halfway between two beats in the other. The two get closer to each other at either end and further away from each other in the middle.

I tap out a measure in 4 (using my open hands on knees, or on a table; left for 4 and right for the odd number). Do them each separately a good number of times before trying to combine them. It's absolutely important to make sure the overall length of the two figures is the same for each hand.

It isn't easy, but it works.


I learned something like the method you describe, but instead of graph paper, it is on a music staff, using regular notation. You use the large number that resulted from multiplying the two values as the number of beats in a measure in the time signature (the lower number indicating the beat can be whatever you want), and then write out where the notes would fall within that measure. Just like using the graph paper, it is easy to see exactly where notes are on the timeline, in relation to each other.

If you are trying to work out a specific figure, you can write out the actual pitches, too, which can help.

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#2468939 - 10/11/15 01:54 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: argerichfan]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6629
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By argerichfan
When I was learning the Beethoven 10/3 as a teen, this passage took a while to grasp. Don't know why, but for some reason my hands were initially reluctant to work together.



I've heard that passage played poorly many times, haha.

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#2468979 - 10/11/15 03:42 PM Re: Polyrhythms [Re: BruceD]
BruceD Online   content

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19917
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By BruceD
Jerry Maddux and Pepper:

Thank you for your posts in reference to the Chopin Nocturne. I've put it aside for the moment, as a couple of the Etudes have me working hard and showing some progress in other areas.

Regards,


My goodness! I was a mere lad when I last posted on this thread!

Cheers!
_________________________
BruceD
closing in on 20,000!
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Estonia 190

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