35 votes

Tapping 3 times on one leg and 4 times on another leg in 4 beats. What is it called and how to do it?

Polyrhythm. It's good thing to learn to do. 4 against 3 is nice, before that you should normally try 3 against 2. Normally it's hard to do at the start. I had to break it down, splitting the beats. ...
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  • 3,421
19 votes

Tapping 3 times on one leg and 4 times on another leg in 4 beats. What is it called and how to do it?

There is a common mnemonic for learning the 3:4 poly-rhythm. Apologies for the minor profanity, but it goes like so: Get two people, call them "3" and "4" and give them the following instructions: ...
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13 votes
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How to play this passage precisely?

Where did you find this? It is notated extremely poorly and the division of the beats is not intuitive by looking at it. I am not surprised you are having trouble with it. I would, too, and I am an ...
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  • 5,484
9 votes
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What is the difference between syncopation and poly-rhythm?

It's a bit simpler than that. Syncopation is accenting the off beat, especially accenting in between beats. For example, "Superbad" or "Mother Popcorn" by James Brown. A single rhythm can be ...
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  • 50.9k
9 votes

What is it called when a sequence of notes lands on a different beat every measure?

If you want a hyper-fancy academic term, this falls under the umbrella of what Harald Krebs calls "metrical dissonance." Specifically, this is what is called a "grouping dissonance,&...
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  • 78.7k
8 votes

How can I develop mastery of polyrhythms in playing guitar?

Do the math. Practice by tapping your hands on your legs. Start with 3 against 2. Move on to 4 against 3. You do this one by breaking it up into 12, so: | | | | . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
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  • 8,936
8 votes

How would you derive accurate tempos if you have a clock with a second hand but no metronome?

Well, this is a fun math problem. If you clap n times for every m ticks of your clock, then this corresponds to 60*(n/m) beats per minute. It's not too hard to assemble a list of values between 30 ...
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8 votes

Counting 2+3 and 4 over a beat of 4 at the same time

Three against two is really easy for any experienced musician. If you were going to write seven against five, most people would have trouble playing it accurately.
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  • 15.2k
7 votes
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Triplets against twos in Bach's music

It appears that there is not consensus on how these polyrhythms should be played. I have not yet found anything on your (a) case, but have some information about your (b) case. The quotes are long, ...
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  • 2,457
7 votes

Is "Polyrhythm" a melodic principle?

Is “Polyrhythm” a melodic principle? Not specifically, but as melodies have rhythm, any rhythmic considerations can apply to melodies. What is a polyrhythmic melody? It could mean a couple of ...
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7 votes
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How can I count 17 against 3 polyrhythm?

Polyrhythms, especially more complex ones like this, make much more sense if you chart it out. Find the least common multiple. In this case, its 51. List out all numbers between 1 and 51. Circle ...
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6 votes

How to play this rhythm in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata? as a 4/3 polyrythm or as 6/16?

This is a notorious question, and has been asked many times in the last 2 centuries - you are not alone! You're right in suggesting a polyrhythm - 4 against 3. The difficulty is to play it musically....
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  • 508
6 votes
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What is the name of this rhythm? (embedded 4:3 polyrhythm)

I personally call rhythmic patterns like that systematically according to the number of rhythmic pulses in each note. This one would be 3-3-3-3-4. Other examples are 3-3-2 and 3-1, which are common ...
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6 votes

What is it called when a sequence of notes lands on a different beat every measure?

This is an example of 5:4 polyrhythm. The melodic phrase creates a dynamic accent every five beats, and the primary pulse has a metric accent every four beats. The composite of the two accent patterns ...
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  • 54.9k
5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

Fantasie Impromptu contains polyrythms. A "Polyrythm"is the use of two different rythms playing together, and the Fantasie Impromptu also has a Polyrythm. The right hand plays semiquavers, while the ...
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5 votes
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Learn music with odd rhythms

The way I approach polyrhythms is this: I break them down much as you do, in terms of their lowest common denominator, but I try to memorize the sound of the pattern right away and not rely on seeing ...
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5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

I am doing this piece, and have "finished" the piece within 5 months (1h/day) and am right now polishing it. This is how I attempt most pieces. Note that this post is not a "for dummies" guide. (Note ...
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  • 103
5 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

I am just now wrapping up this piece, and have my recital in a month. I am not a professional musician by any means, and I have a day job, so I can only get a few hours of practice per week. I've ...
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  • 151
5 votes

How to play this passage precisely?

Bars 1 through 5 are identical rhythmically. I suggest just playing the 1st (or 3rd) bar over and over until you get it. then move to bar 2 (or 4). This will remove one thing to think about making it ...
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  • 6,990
5 votes

Tapping 3 times on one leg and 4 times on another leg in 4 beats. What is it called and how to do it?

The late drum teacher Charles Dowd called this the Rhythm of Life. [I assumed this was in reference to a song utilizing this rhythm.] He taught it in the context of an Afro-Cuban-style pattern on drum ...
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4 votes
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How does one analyze tricky time shifts?

What is happening is that they change the interpretation of the rhythm of the repeating melodic figure. First you have a triplet or 12/8 feel, where each note of the melodic figure is interpreted as ...
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  • 19.5k
4 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

I had a teacher tell me to use "this is very easy". I would say that as I slowly played the section with the 4 against 3 rhythm. As you learn the notes and get used to the pattern eventually it should ...
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  • 41
4 votes

How to count odd tuplets?

Sadly, I can't answer your question in whole. In fact, I would love to see a good, definite answer on this myself. But I think I can address at least some parts: Am I missing any special tuplets? ...
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  • 4,528
4 votes
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How do 'meter' and 'rhythm' affect the choice of 'Polymeter' and 'Polyrhythm'?

I worry that your quoted source isn't the best; "meter is the rhythmic structure of the music" is not a very good definition. Here, for instance, is a better and more concise definition: Meter ...
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  • 78.7k
4 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

As addition to the other answers, this is how I learned to play those polyrythms on the piano: Nr.1a You focus on the triplets in the left hand and start with only two 16th in the right hand: Nr.2a ...
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  • 1,707
4 votes

How should I practice the piano piece Fantaisie-Impromptu?

The first thing you should do is practice each hand separately and begin trying to feel the "pulse" of the half notes. Then I would try to split up the tempo. Notice that the time signature is ...
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4 votes
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How to play this rhythm in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata? as a 4/3 polyrythm or as 6/16?

The root of the question comes from the incorrect assumption that in Beethoven's time (and earlier) the notation for dotted rhythms was performed strictly according to the math. The math was certainly ...
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