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Polyrhythmic Acoustic Technique

Jake Lizzio (985) · [archive]
Style: Experimental · Level: Expert · Tempo: 150
Pages: 1 2

This is a tune I wrote to help practice my polyrhythmic skills.

You can hear the song at my myspace page- www.myspace.com/snakehouse. The song is called "Cinqo Verde- Polyrhythmic Etude"

A polyrhyhthm is basically two meters in the same measure. Theres much more to them than that, but thats the basic philosophy. This song has a 5/4 measure played at the same time as a 4/4 measure. You can count "1 2 3 4 5" when the song starts, and once the bass comes in you can also count a slightly slower "1 2 3 4".

Playing these are pretty tough, I definitely recommend practicing on your hands before you practice on your guitar. Your lap and your hands are all you need to practice complex rhythms. If you've got a drumset, even better. Check out my lesson, "Learn Polyrhythms on Your Lunch Break" to get the basics down.

5 to 4 is surprisingly easy. Start off counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Now count 16th notes. 1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a5e+a.

Repeat. Keep counting until you can count and feel it naturally. You are naturally accenting the 1 2 3 4 5 with your voice probably. If not, try to. Keep counting, but count the 1 2 3 4 5 louder than the e+a.

Now if we also accent every 5th note, we will end up with 1...2e..3.+.4..a5.... Recite it over and over, make sure its exact.


Have your right hand play 1 2 3 4 5, have your left hand only play the 1, e, +, a in their respective place. So your hands will play 1 together, then they only come together at the next one beat.

Now play this on the guitar- the main melody here is 5 (1 2 3 4 5), your bass notes come in between in an EVEN FOUR BEAT (1.....e......+......a......) on your thumb. Practice counting both beats out loud. Try it over this piece- hold the steady 5 count that introduces the piece, then try again holding the steady 4 count that comes after two measures. Practice slow! Then to the next page. BTW, if you didn't notice, the chords are just G Cadd9 D. Simple chords, complex rhythm.
Polyrhythmic Acoustic Technique