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Polyrhythmic Playing

Discussion in 'Music Education - Share your knowledge here!' started by DiMarco, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Lately among drummers in the prog scene it is the way to go, and it creates some very nice new type of grooves. I have however not hear many bassists chip in on this style.

    Can we do it? Can a bassist play both 4/4 and 3/4 or even 5/4 at the same time?
    I am going to explore this. My wild guess is this will be hard, my stupid ideas usually are.

    Have a look at this drum video:

     
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  2. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    There is a trick I have, even for simplest songs, I add a different pulse to the original drum beat, by changing the way bassline it moves. It might sound like I am playing straight eights, but inside those eights I put different accents, and create a parallel groove, and sometimes it is not 4/4, and it meets the drum accent from time to time only. I dunno, just a little rant, nevermind me, I am retired :)
     
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  3. jester

    jester Moderator Moderator

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    There's this solo we play with the band at about 145bmp, a straight rock beat. What I do is accent the upbeat of 1 and it gives a very nice effect. I'm looking for places in our repertoire where I can do such things as well cause it's so cool. It's not polyrhythmic of course, just the accent concept.
     
  4. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    I always accentuate upbeat of 4, gives a nice moving forward vibe
     
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  5. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    Check out Ron Carter
    With Tony Wiilams

    On the Wayne Shorter tune "Footprints"
    From Miles Davis "Miles Smiles"
     
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  6. RIP

    RIP California U.S.A. Supporting Member

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    This is pretty interesting.

    @Foal30 and @Bassist4Eris was just teaching me some theory and how to read music so I'm able to kinda get what he's saying

    But yeah, I think it's totally do-able......I think

    I'm going to give it a go :)
     
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Yeah, they do a lot of crazy shit on the turnarounds in that. Very cool stuff.
     
  8. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Am having a careful first go at droning an open string 4/4 and playing a 5/4 melody on another, and vice versa. It sounds weird but cool and I am having trouble staying in both grooves going on.
     
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  9. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Cool challenge, but why not try something simpler for starters?

    For example, here is what happens when we play three evenly spaced notes in 3/4 time. This is obviously easy. It's just three quarter-notes (or crochets).
    upload_2018-1-13_10-14-52.png

    Now, if we want to play four evenly-spaced notes over a measure of 3/4 time, it's a little weirder, but still not that bad. What we get is four dotted eighth-notes (or dotted quavers).
    upload_2018-1-13_10-18-29.png
    This would be counted like 1-e-and-a, 2-e-and-a, 3-e-and-a

    So essentially, if you divide the bar into 12 even sixteenth-notes (semiquavers), you're playing every third one. Just to make it easier to visualize, here it is shown as notes and rests:
    upload_2018-1-13_10-26-25.png
    This is a bit tricky by itself, but when you combine the first and second rhythms into one big rhythm, it actually feels pretty intuitive. I always find it easier to think of these things as one big rhythm, and the drummer in the video seems to conceptualize them that way too. Here I've combined the two rhythms into one big pattern, with the second rhythm moved up to E to make it easier to visualize:
    upload_2018-1-13_10-31-49.png

    Now if you just move those top notes around, you can play very simple melodies of four evenly-spaced notes (essentially 4/4 time), while keeping an even 3/4 pulse on the open A string.

    Or, you can do it the other way around, playing four on the bottom and three on the top:
    upload_2018-1-13_10-40-2.png
     
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    There's a very cool example of this polyrhythm in the intro to XTC's "Wake Up". Listen to the two guitars panned hard left and right. They're essentially playing the polyrhythm I outlined above, but adding a fourth beat to make it 4/4.

     
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  11. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Here's another great example of a polyrhythm in a rock tune. Dig the way the bass player sets up what sounds like 3/4 (at 0:10), but turns out to be a 3-against-2 polyrhythm once the drums enter.

     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  12. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    I like the drummer in that band.

    How about "Black Dog" Led Zepplin?
     
  13. jester

    jester Moderator Moderator

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    To my ears that tune is purely chaotic, can not be written down in time values... might be wrong though.
     
  14. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    Isaac Hayes "Theme from Shaft"

    I'll have to listen to it ... Pretty sure it goes to 5/4 or 12/8 . Regardless worth a go.


    I don't know , I will have a listen later in the week.
     
  15. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    Polyrhtmic-? I can't even spell it- but a guitarist friend once accused me of it in a 4/4 song--

    But all kidding aside, I believe the title track of the first album goes from 5/4 main part to 4/4 chorus in measures but I don't know if I could do it simultaneously-
     
  16. Foal30

    Foal30 Supporting Member

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    It's in 4/4
    The riff (possibly??) isnt the same each time
     
  17. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Just ran across this:

     
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  18. A.G.E.N.T.E.

    A.G.E.N.T.E.

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    Really nice video. Good explanation.
     
  19. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Of course Adam Neely has a great method (go to 11:56)

     
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  20. zomnius

    zomnius Good Vibe Sponsor

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