The iPhone PolyRhythm app I’ve written about in recent posts has some really cool teaching uses. One of them is letting you visualize how the polyrhythms occur against each other.

Here’s an example of 5-note groupings against 2, 3, and 4 notes. They are played in the context of 5/4 so that you can see and hear them a little easier.

If you have the Polyrhythm app, try setting it to 5:2 to play the first measure, then 5:3 to play the second measure, and finally, 5:4 to play the third measure.

 

If you play the 5:2, 5:3 and 5:4 examples at a slow tempo, you will not only hear but be able to play the pattern in time.

Polyrhythms are an aural illusion. If you can learn to play the basic patterns listed above, you will open amazing doors for yourself. Take your time, go slow, and really get them under your belt.

Good luck and have fun!