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Old 04-04-2015, 08:02 AM   #1
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Polyrhythms

Lately, I've been practicing polyrhythms using some DAWs. One problem I found was that it sounds either too insipid or too cluttered; not really musical. I tried playing around with the dynamics of the notes, adding syncopation but I'm not getting any success. So, d'you have any tips? Any basic rhythms to start out with?

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Old 04-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: Polyrhythms

Just play your instrument in 5/4 (example) to a 4/4 or something.
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Old 04-04-2015, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Polyrhythms

Cluttered?
Are you playing different tempos? If not, you're probably just trying too hard. There's literally no reason it should sound more cluttered than a single rhythm.
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Old 04-04-2015, 05:00 PM   #4
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Re: Polyrhythms

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Originally Posted by Kvlt O))) View Post
Just play your instrument in 5/4 (example) to a 4/4 or something.
That's actually polyMETER. Polyrhythm is a little different.
To achieve a 5:4 polyrhythm you; play 5 notes in the time it takes to play 4. The bars would would be the same, you'd just play a different amount of equally divided notes in the same amount of time.

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First one is polymeter, second is polyrhythm.

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Old 04-04-2015, 05:30 PM   #5
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Re: Polyrhythms

maybe try playing three against two for a start? get used to the kind of displacement you're looking for

maybe it's gonna sound weird when your different voices don't stick to a simple pulse or short rhythmic pattern ?

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Old 05-04-2015, 02:18 AM   #6
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Re: Polyrhythms

Set your DAW for 12/16 so you can use 3 groups of 4 or 4 groups of three as well as 2 groups of 6, or 6 groups of 2.

In FL Studio set the beat grid up to 48 beats.

as long as the BPM is high enough or low enough, you can get good syncopation with effort.

The mathematical concept is Least Common Multiple. Use this concept in your music.

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Old 05-04-2015, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Polyrhythms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
Set your DAW for 12/16 so you can use 3 groups of 4 or 4 groups of three as well as 2 groups of 6, or 6 groups of 2.

In FL Studio set the beat grid up to 48 beats.

as long as the BPM is high enough or low enough, you can get good syncopation with effort.

The mathematical concept is Least Common Multiple. Use this concept in your music.
Again, this is not polyrhythm. You're describing polymeter.

Kind of.

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Old 05-04-2015, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: Polyrhythms

well no if one voice goes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
and the other
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

that's ployrhythm. Different divisions of the same meter

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Old 06-04-2015, 12:55 AM   #9
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Re: Polyrhythms

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Originally Posted by Lug View Post

that's ployrhythm. Different divisions of the same meter
What you are describing with the accents is NOT poly rhythm. The key concept in differentiating polymeter from poly rhythm is the length of the 'pulse' in the phrases.

In what you described both lines are using the same pulse. In both phrases the length of one pulse is equal. They are just accenting/dividing the phrase in different ways to give a shifting sense of METER.

In order for a phrase to be polyrhythmic the divisions of the bar, and the timing of the pulse, must be different.
For instance, one phrase is playing in 4/4 for one bar, straight quarter notes, so the phrase has 4 beats.
In the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME the other phrase plays 5 equally spaced notes.
The division of the bar, and the concept of the pulse are different, giving a shifting sense of RHYTHM.

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Old 06-04-2015, 04:39 AM   #10
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Re: Polyrhythms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug View Post
maybe try playing three against two for a start? get used to the kind of displacement you're looking for

maybe it's gonna sound weird when your different voices don't stick to a simple pulse or short rhythmic pattern ?
I use this one quite a bit in my doom stuff.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: Polyrhythms

Quickly looking at the [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
all the examples seem to have the same pulse. I always thought Lug's description was right, but I'd be interested in any good examples any of you can post. Salim, too, anything you can upload of your music for feedback or anything?
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:08 PM   #12
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Re: Polyrhythms

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Originally Posted by Dataf1ow View Post
Again, this is not polyrhythm. You're describing polymeter.

Kind of.
No not really. You are needing tuplets, and I told you how to accomplish in a DAW. Time is time; it requires the math to dice it up and use it.

When people start talking about "Polyrhythms" it's just an ethnomusicological term, no so much a music theory term. It's more of a term like "Free Jazz". It doesn't really define much of anything. So this conversation could go on endlessly unless you get down to the maths of the beat groupings.

What I'm describing doesn't require inserting meter changes. I think your'e coming at this from a notation perspective and not a DAW perspective. Music notation is more limited in this regard. I'm talking more about how to match to a piano roll and timeline interface or the beat grid in FL Studio.

But good luck anyhow.

Last edited by Nystagmus; 07-04-2015 at 09:45 AM..

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Old 06-04-2015, 05:31 PM   #13
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Re: Polyrhythms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
No not really. You are needing tuplets, and I told you how to accomplish in a DAW. Time is time; it requires the math to dice it up and use it.
But you didn't tell us how to get tuplets. You told us to put our DAW in 12/16, and then divide those twelve notes into different groups. It's not about the grouping, at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
When people start talking about "Polyrhythms" it's just an ethnomusicological term, no so much a music theory term. It's more of a term like "Free Jazz". It doesn't really define much of anything. So this conversation could go on endlessly unless you get down to the maths of the beat groupings.
No it's not an ethnomusicological term. It's a term used to describe an aspect of musical timing in a piece of music.. Free Jazz is a genre. I've never seend a bin at a record store called 'polyrhythm'. It could go on forever if you keep thinking polymeter == polyrhythm.
Here's some math!
4/4 at 120 BPM, each bar takes .5 seconds. If we play straight quarters, each beat lasts .125 seconds. Now, we play a group of 5 beats in the same amount of time (.5 seconds), each beat is .1 seconds. Play them at the same time. You have a polyrhythm.
What you described, each beat would be the same amount of time.
You can group them however you want, but that is just manipulating the sense of meter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
What I'm describing doesn't require inserting meter changes. I think your'e coming at this from a notation perspective and not a DAW perspective. Music notation is more limited in this regard. I'm talk more about how to match to a piano roll and timeline interface or the beat grid in FL Studio.
What I described (and made a recording of for reference), doesn't involve inserting meter changes either.
I wasn't thinking of it in terms of notation, or a DAW, I was thinking about in terms of musical time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
But good luck anyhow.
Thanks?

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Old 06-04-2015, 11:06 PM   #14
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Re: Polyrhythms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dataf1ow View Post
In order for a phrase to be polyrhythmic the divisions of the bar, and the timing of the pulse, must be different.
For instance, one phrase is playing in 4/4 for one bar, straight quarter notes, so the phrase has 4 beats.
In the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME the other phrase plays 5 equally spaced notes.
The division of the bar, and the concept of the pulse are different, giving a shifting sense of RHYTHM.
the example I wrote down in text is exactly what three against two is about. Are you saying three against two is not polyrhythm? I meant the numbers written in bold to be the moments where the voice made a sound.
maybe shoulda written it like so
1 (2) 3 (4) 5 (6) 7 (8) 9 (10) 11 (12)
1 (2 3) 4 (5 6) 7 (8 9) 10 (11 12)

in the same amount of time = 12 eighth notes, one voice plays six notes and the other plays four.

I think I understand what you're saying about the difference between ployrhythm and polymeter but don't you think any polyrhythmic pattern could be understood as different divisions of the same pulse? At least if we consider a very short unit of time

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Old 07-04-2015, 09:49 AM   #15
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Re: Polyrhythms

Dude, think of it this way...

You can't get 12/4 time from a 16 beat grid. You can though from a 12 beat grid, but the resolution is really bad unless you double the beat grid to 24 or better at 48 so that you can accommodate the fast high-hats or sputterings or whatnot.

If you want something compatible with 5/4 time then it's a different affair, but the issue is that the maths require the least common multiple of whatever two or more simultaneous rhyhtms.

With this in mind, re-read what I wrote above and think about it.

So yeah, it IS all about the grouping.

The specifics depends upon which DAW the person is using. But the math of the parallel beats requires matching durations with timestretching or planning ahead beforehand and starting out with a proper beat grid or piano roll. Anything else is probably going to require a more technical approach.

On the other hand, if you are just jamming on a guitar or something and not using a click track, then yeah, it's notation-worthy.

But for those of us who use MIDI performing with a click track, the click track (metronome) and the DAW's beat resolution needs to have not just enough resolution for beats, but to have them spread across each bar with enough "slots" for syncopation and different groupings (TUPLETS) if you want them.

If you don't want the beats to ever match, then that's something different which implies that perhaps the performer would do better to just ignore the grid entirely and not quantize to anything at all, and sometimes ignore the click track/metronome. Doppler beats are something almost like that.

I did somewhat sidestep the issue of choosing the right ratios between BPM's, but that's only really for when you already selected the sample audio loops from a CD-ROM or collection and you need to get it in sync with your tune no matter what. But again, you might end up using timestretching in a DAW environment unless you chop it up into a REX file or something.

There's a lot of different ways of thinking or talking about this stuff. But it's best just to get into the DAW and see for yourself. Which DAW are you using anyhow?

Anyways, I'm pretty much done talking about this. And yes...

Good luck!

Last edited by Nystagmus; 07-04-2015 at 09:58 AM..

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Old 07-04-2015, 12:00 PM   #16
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Re: Polyrhythms

I want to know what OP was getting at rather than splitting hairs about definitions, though I think Dataf1ow is right.

It's explained here. [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:10 PM   #17
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Re: Polyrhythms

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Originally Posted by deadmau7 View Post
I want to know what OP was getting at rather than splitting hairs about definitions, though I think Dataf1ow is right.

It's explained here. [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
well, then, we should agree that in my example both voices play in 12/8. There's no polymeter

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Old 07-04-2015, 12:16 PM   #18
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Re: Polyrhythms

I don't understand your second written example to be honest, but it looks to me like you're thinking of what I take to be polymeter.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:24 PM   #19
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Re: Polyrhythms

yeah, I think we're in some sort of misunderstanding and the text notation might be the reason
first voice plays 6 notes in the same amount of time the second takes to play 4. Basically, a two-over-three pattern.

Now, if the eighth note is the unit of time we use, we could explain it as the first voice playing a pulse of two eighth notes duration and the second a pulse of three eighth notes duration.

What I'm saying is you may be able to do that with any polyrhythmic pattern and if you zoom in, you might find a common denominator that explains the interplay of the voices

Last edited by Lug; 07-04-2015 at 12:32 PM..

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Old 07-04-2015, 01:18 PM   #20
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Re: Polyrhythms

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Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
Dude, think of it this way...
I refuse to think of it any way but the right way! But now I do see what you were trying to say in a post way back down this thread. You just explained it poorly, "Set your DAW for 12/16 so you can use 3 groups of 4 or 4 groups of three as well as 2 groups of 6, or 6 groups of 2. "

That ain't polyrhythm, dude. All those groups have their perceived pulse being equal. they all play 12 notes in the same amount of time.

Any way I'm over talking about this in terms of fruity loops beat grid resolution.

Lug, I agree with everything you said in that post. And when using simple ratios, it can be easier to get these concepts mixed up. That's why I chose the less easily digestible 5:4.

What was the original question again?

Last edited by Dataf1ow; 09-04-2015 at 01:28 PM..

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