Are there any good exercises for piano polyrhythm playing (5:7, 4:3, 25:35 etc.) beyond Brahms exercises and Chopin music? What you can recommend for technique improvements in little time?

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  • This is precisely not a question about "finding a particular [piece]"; it is about examples of a particular sort of musical element. – Brian Chandler Jun 29 '17 at 12:42

Try Scriabin's etude Op. 8 no. 4 (Score: http://imslp.org/wiki/12_Etudes,Op.8%28Scriabin,_Aleksandr%29). And there are lots more Scriabin works which offer this kind of practice.

  • I don't want to down vote, but it looks like only two of these etudes employ polyrhythms. Also, they seem really challenging, technically difficult in areas beyond polyrhythm. In other words, these aren't really exercises in polyrhythm. – Michael Curtis Apr 12 '17 at 21:22
  • Actually try Scriabin Op. 42 No.5, No.7, and No. 8. – Vivek Kaushik Jun 28 '17 at 6:46

One idea for practicing these: try exaggerating the metrical accent points, possibly with some added arm lift and drop (dropping on the strong beat points). The idea is to "chunk" the playing of each hand's rhythm into the larger common unit, focus on that rather than on controlling the timing of each note as an individual unit. Just make sure the notes are even, and otherwise let them fall wherever they fall (as long as the strong beat points are accurate).

  • I appreciate you give tips for learning the technique. The other answers seem mostly to list compositions with polyrhythms. A specialized set of exercises or method book would be great. I hope someone posts one. – Michael Curtis Apr 12 '17 at 21:13

The American composer Edward MacDowell offers some very simple ones to get started. (Sounds like you are more than just started, but my tip might be useful to others who read the forum.)


If you're looking just at music that feature polyrhythms, you can probably look into minimalism. Most of these composers (john adams, steve reich, philip glass...) wrote at least a piano piece featuring polyrhythm.

If you are really crazy you can look into Ades or Xenakis . There are tons more composers like this if you follow the links on youtube.

  • These players can`t compete with Chopin, though their music is good to someone and it has its rights – KvasDub May 1 '17 at 20:04

You can try Scriabin Etude Op. 42 No.5, No.7, and No. 8. The second is filled with 3 against 4 polyrhythms and some 3 against 5, while the third is filled with 3 against 5.


My usual approach in a case like this is to make up my own exercise--e.g. find a bar of Chopin that exhibits the problem, maybe tweak it a little so it repeats easily, then play it through multiple tempos and keys. Or make it simpler or more complicated as necessary to get the right level of challenge.


You might want to have a look at https://www.reddit.com/r/piano/comments/1z3td5/looking_for_pieces_with_effective_use_of/ There you can find some further suggestions, for example the Saint-Saens Etude op. 52/4 and the Arabeske No.1 by Debussy are perhaps interesting for you.

Apart from these, Rachmaninoff Prelude op. 23/4 and op. 32/1 as well as some of his Etudes-Tableaux do have a lot of 3vs2 rhythms, but they look difficult on other aspects as well... Depending on your will to endure some pain you might be able to do some exercise with these pieces ;-)

  • thanks, however, dont like that music, these players and authors cant compete with Chopin and Bach – KvasDub May 1 '17 at 20:06

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