Poly Rhythm Fun!

ottog1979

Senior Member
2 over 4 is not a polyrhytm.
You would be correct! Neither is 1:4.

5's & 7's is where the real fun begins! I'm not significantly into 7's yet, but I learned a 3, 4, 5 combination that is really fun. Quarter notes in the HH, every third 16th in the BD and every 5th 16th on the SD (left hand). Right hand ride cymbal on 8th notes. Play until it all comes back around again to everything on the 1. Took me a month but I got there. I think Gavin Harrison has a vid on this.
 

SVBJECT

Active Member
Me and my band have been working on a 4s over 7s groove.
Obviously that's mostly me being the drummer, the guitar is following the kick pattern in 7.
But now the guitarist is adding the vocals while playing and he's starting to understand what we all go through :ROFLMAO:

However, the question is this, we were struggling to fit the vocals over all the 4s over 7s unless they basically adopted a 1/8 kinda feel with a few rhythmic changes following the content of the vocals, not the rhythm. So the guitarist is singing in 1 and playing in 7, but the 1s are not ostinatos in any way shape or form.
Polyrythm or not?
 

RichFaulk

Active Member
Self-taught amateur/intermediate drummer chiming in with a question: are the terms "ostinato" and "polyrhythm" synonymous? Or is one a special case of the other? Two totally different things? The way I've been trying to teach myself ostinato is to play a rhythm, say in 4/4, with alternating lead hand strokes on say, three different toms. The result is the pattern constantly shifts around. So if you were on the 10" tom on the 1 count for bar one, you'll be on the 12" tom on the 1 count for bar 2, floor tom on beat 1 one of bar 3 etc. So its in 4/4, not a polyrhythm, but the ostinato (if that's what I'm actually describing) gives it a poly feel.

Edit: what prompted this question is the fact that the dictionary definition of "ostinato" is meaningless to me as it relates to drums because everything on drums is a "repeated phrase" (to my thinking.)
 
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SVBJECT

Active Member
Self-taught amateur/intermediate drummer chiming in with a question: are the terms "ostinato" and "polyrhythm" synonymous? Or is one a special case of the other? Two totally different things? The way I've been trying to teach myself ostinato is to play a rhythm, say in 4/4, with alternating lead hand strokes on say, three different toms. The result is the pattern constantly shifts around. So if you were on the 10" tom on the 1 count for bar one, you'll be on the 12" tom on the 1 count for bar 2, floor tom on beat 1 one of bar 3 etc. So its in 4/4, not a polyrhythm, but the ostinato (if that's what I'm actually describing) gives it a poly feel.

Edit: what prompted this question is the fact that the dictionary definition of "ostinato" is meaningless to me as it relates to drums because everything on drums is a "repeated phrase" (to my thinking.)
I don't entirely follow you but sure, if your playing 1 pattern in 3s and 1 in 4s that's a polyrythm.
However sounds a little forced, your audio output will be polyrythmic but your playing itself doesn't do much to exercise your abilities, I'd I understand you right!

I used to spend a long time playing:
RF LF RH LH pn loop, but:
RF kick, LF hat and then RH and LH circling in DIFFERENT patterns, so eg RH would do snare Tom 3, tom 4, ride and China (loop of 5) whilst the LH does snare, hat, crash (loop of 3)
. Again all your doing is rf, lf, rh, lf but you'll come out with a boom chick rest rest 4 pattern going under a pattern of 3s and a pattern of 5s. Good for independence, but again it sounds very polyrythmic whilst not being overtly hard to play.

Used to find it very therapeutic/meditative.

And to answer the question, polyrhythm and ostinato are not synonymous.
 

Multijd

Active Member
Self-taught amateur/intermediate drummer chiming in with a question: are the terms "ostinato" and "polyrhythm" synonymous? Or is one a special case of the other? Two totally different things? The way I've been trying to teach myself ostinato is to play a rhythm, say in 4/4, with alternating lead hand strokes on say, three different toms. The result is the pattern constantly shifts around. So if you were on the 10" tom on the 1 count for bar one, you'll be on the 12" tom on the 1 count for bar 2, floor tom on beat 1 one of bar 3 etc. So its in 4/4, not a polyrhythm, but the ostinato (if that's what I'm actually describing) gives it a poly feel.

Edit: what prompted this question is the fact that the dictionary definition of "ostinato" is meaningless to me as it relates to drums because everything on drums is a "repeated phrase" (to my thinking.)
What you are describing could be an ostinato if you repeat it over and over possibly while other things are happening ie.a guitar solo, vocals, dogs barking etc. the fact that you are doing a three note melody in quarter notes against a four beat meter makes it a polymeter rather than a polyrhythm. You are suggesting a three best meter through the tom melody over a four beat meter in the feet (I assume). A polyrhythm would be playing those three Tom’s on the same amount of time as the four beat bass drum. In other words beat 1 of the toms and beat 1 of the bass drum are in unison but the other beats are not although they are evenly spaced through the bar.
 
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