3

I assume this is some sort of polyrhythm but my brain refuses to be able to count it. Can someone shed some light on whats going on?

The song in question:

  • 1
    it would aid the answering of this question greatly if you could source a sheet for this, answering by ear is hard and may scare of potential answers. – Neil Meyer Oct 7 '18 at 2:41
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    Try slowing it down. YouTube has a 1/2 or 3/4 speed playback. That may help you hear what is happening. – b3ko Oct 7 '18 at 4:11
  • @Meyer I wish I had sheet music for this but as far as i can tell its nowhere online – Zaya Oct 7 '18 at 6:40
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The beat of the track is a straightforward 4/4, with chord changes and drum loop repeats every bar of 16 sixteenth notes. However, the synth riff or bass line that begins around 0'31" and sounds like a Roland TB-303, repeats after 9 sixteenth notes.

Therefore the bass line shifts around relative to the beat; the note that plays on the first beat will come a sixteenth note after the third beat, and then 2 sixteenth notes after the first beat of the next bar, and so on... After four and a half bars (i.e. 18 beats) the same note in the bass line will be back on the first beat.

So it's not a polyrhythm as such, just several repeated elements of different length sounding together. You'll hear this technique often in electronic pop music, because it's easy to create and interesting to listen to, and makes the listener pay attention.

Its use is not limited to electronic music, of course; e.g. it's the basic idea behind Steve Reich's Violin Phase from 1967.

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