Polyrhythms – A Simple Exercise

Vince Di Francesco

Playbassnow.com proudly presents a lesson from our guest teacher: Vince Di Francesco


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This exercise is designed to give you a basic understanding of superimposed rhythms known as polyrhythms.

The triplet is the most common polyrhythm- we hear it all the time. So, this exercise is using triplets to illustrate how polyrhythms work.

This particular exercise gives us a 3:2 polyrthythm or 2:3 depending on how you want to feel it. You can also apply this rhythmic application to melodies, solos, lines, and other scales or arpeggios.

If you really want to pursue polyrhythms, tunes like “Eulogy” by Tool or “Frame by Frame” by King Crimson feature some really cool polyrhythmic stuff. However, the undisputed masters of polyrhythms are probably Igor Stravinsky or Frank Zappa. ;)

If the instructions in the video are not clear, leave a comment, to which I will reply.

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LHarmon11123 said,

July 27, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

Not really getting it. I can do the exercise, but I’m not getting the triplet feel. could someone help me out?

Dobbydane said,

January 27, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

This is a solid exercise…it helps with my finger technique also…thanks for the vid.

Pbassred said,

January 10, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

This is tough. I’m having to count out the individual beats – 1,2, move / stay 2,3 / 1,2 move , …. etc. Its really slow. It could take weeks!
Thanks for putting it up though :-)

soporific said,

January 5, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

My guitarteacher once gave me the same exercise, but with the extra challenge of counting along with the beats. It’s still hard:-)
Thanx for this!

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