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#1924205 - 07/08/12 11:46 AM 3 against 4 polyrhythm question  
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Stargatefan Offline
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Stargatefan  Offline
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hi All,

Can anyone point me to an internet resource on how to play triplets over regular eighths or sixteenths? I am trying to learn how to do this, and am currently working on George Peter Tingley's "Reverie" which is an intermediate level student piece that has one instance of melody in triplet over regular eighths in the left hand.

Is this a technique that you just have to get a "feel" for, or is there a more disciplined way I can learn this on my own? I don't feel like I've got it yet. When I hear good players do this, the triplet seems almost to float over the accompaniment in an ethereal way.

And one more question, can anybody suggest good pieces for me to practice this technique on? Something perhaps of the difficulty level of the Tingley piece?

Thanks in advance everybody,

Dan the Stargatefan

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#1924375 - 07/08/12 08:01 PM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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I learned this with Debussy's arabesque #1 which has many examples of this. It also has that ethereal feeling you were talking about.

There were many ways I got this. Learn both hands separately and completely solidly. Divide into a common rhythm and count really slowly. Mark which notes line up and which don't. Tap with one hand and count out loud in the other rhythm.

The next piece I learned with polyrhythms came soo much easier after that.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#1924489 - 07/09/12 02:42 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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Bobpickle Offline

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Bobpickle  Offline

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obviously not the same piece, but when first learning about the subject, this tutorial on Fantasie Impromptu seemed to nicely address the most approachable way to learning 3 against 4. Would love a second opinion, though

[video:youtube]4YfIJCJPu1w[/video]


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1924504 - 07/09/12 04:19 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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wr Offline
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The way I way shown to do any of those x over y cross-rhythms is to multiply the numeric values of the two parts, and then use that result as the basis for counting out where in the time-line each note falls.

In the case of 3 against 4, you multiply them and that gives you 12. Then you make a measure of 12 beats, and place the notes where they proportionally fit in that measure. The part with 3 notes would be split up across that 12 beat measure at a rate of one note every four beats, and the part with the 4 four notes would be split up across that measure at a rate of one note every three beats. That will give you the exact and precise relationship of the parts to each other. And, since it is in slow motion, you can really see and hear exactly how they fit together.

You take a measure or two and practice them that way, and slowly start increasing the speed. Once you get the hang of how the parts fit together (which really doesn't take that long), you can increase the speed quite rapidly up to the tempo you want, and then start adding expression.

I hope this makes sense - it's harder to describe in words than it is to scribble it out on score paper.

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#1924508 - 07/09/12 04:47 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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bennevis Online content
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Pianists learn to play triplets fairly early on (3 against two), so it seems to me easier just to double the duplets up (i.e. halving their time values) and thus play 3 against 4. That's the way I'd learn them.

The same principle and method can be applied to smaller time values (eights, sixteenths).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#1924595 - 07/09/12 09:20 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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Entheo Offline
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chicago, il
on drums i learned 3 against 4 this way:

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
1---------2-----------3

tap your fingers, then switch to learn both ways. since 3 doesn't go cleanly into 16 ultimately you have to listen for the triplet feel.

#1924631 - 07/09/12 10:55 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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Palindrome Offline
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For English speakers, the 4 against 3 has the same rhythm as "pass the g*d-d*mned spinach"

(Which exemplifies interesting things about how English speakers stress syllables by lengthening them. Thanks to Mark DeVoto for giving me this hint many decades ago.)


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#1924635 - 07/09/12 11:08 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Palindrome]  
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Entheo Offline
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Originally Posted by Palindrome
For English speakers, the 4 against 3 has the same rhythm as "pass the g*d-d*mned spinach"


brilliant!

#1924639 - 07/09/12 11:17 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
The best way to play rhythms, poly- or not, is to learn to count less and less. Learn to play 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to a beat, counting only the beats, not the individual notes. You can practice that with scales or arpeggiated chords, hands separate, hands together, and then eventually you can put different groups together, even 3 against 5 if you want to.


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#1924738 - 07/09/12 04:35 PM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Andy Platt]  
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square-39 Offline
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Debussy's Arabesque #1 has a polyrhythm of 3 against 2.

#1924750 - 07/09/12 05:09 PM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Bobpickle]  
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
obviously not the same piece, but when first learning about the subject, this tutorial on Fantasie Impromptu seemed to nicely address the most approachable way to learning 3 against 4. Would love a second opinion, though

[video:youtube]4YfIJCJPu1w[/video]


What an arduous, painful, unproductive way of learning to play a work that, at the level of pianists at which this video seems to be directed, must be far above their level to ever play. With every note being pointed out, named, and printed on a chart, and with the presenter telling his audience which finger plays which note - one after the other! - why would anyone think s/he could learn the Fantaisie-Impromptu like this? Addressing an audience who finds that "F-double-sharp can be confusing so we'll just call it a G" shows to me that this presenter is not a teacher. At repertoire of this level, if one can't read the notes fluently, one shouldn't be playing the piece.

Moreover, the opening polyrhythm in the Fantaisie-Impromptu is not six against four as stated in the video, but, rather six against eight (or three against four).

After a couple of minutes, the rest was just to painful to watch.

Regards,


BruceD
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#1924795 - 07/09/12 06:53 PM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Bobpickle]  
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PianogrlNW Online content
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
obviously not the same piece, but when first learning about the subject, this tutorial on Fantasie Impromptu seemed to nicely address the most approachable way to learning 3 against 4. Would love a second opinion, though

[video:youtube]4YfIJCJPu1w[/video]


Seriously, is this the way to learn polyrhythms? I thought his teaching method was ridiculous (although I didn't watch the whole video. I got a chuckle from his whiteboard with the ad for online piano lessons for $48.



#1925713 - 07/12/12 04:30 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Stargatefan]  
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Bobpickle Offline

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Bobpickle  Offline

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Cameron Park, California
hah I appreciate the input. When the time comes for such aforementioned polyrhythms to be addressed, how might you, BruceD and/or Pianogrl suggest to not only conceptualize them, but ultimately tackle them?


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1925803 - 07/12/12 10:22 AM Re: 3 against 4 polyrhythm question [Re: Bobpickle]  
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PianogrlNW Online content
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PianogrlNW  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
hah I appreciate the input. When the time comes for such aforementioned polyrhythms to be addressed, how might you, BruceD and/or Pianogrl suggest to not only conceptualize them, but ultimately tackle them?


I think it's a matter of building on acquired skills and technique. Before you can master 3 against 4, you need to master 2 against 3. I don't think a beginner or advanced beginner at the piano can tackle the Fantasie Impromptu, which is who the video seemed to be targeted at.




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