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Re: Polymeter - Polyrhythm - Changing meter

  Mark asked:
"Nearly too much, but not quite... can someone explain to me what 4:4 is 
in comparison to 4:8? I always thought that the second number denoted a 
crotchet, or a "beat". so I understand that 4:8 is quicker beats (er.. 

My understanding is that time signatures do not denote tempo.  So, 
you could have a 4/4 where the quarter note equals 120 bpm write next to a
4/8 measure where the eight note equals 120 bpm (as long as the tempi 
are indicated
over each bar)  but in practise it
is common to to juxtapose a 4/4 measure with a 7/8 measure and assume
that the 8th note retains the same speed in each measure.


Mark also asked:
"And what of when people write 16:5.. ist there such a thing as a 5 as 
the second number.. what the f*** is that?"

Technically speaking, in western music, there is no such time signature 
as 16/5.
To write something like this,  you would have to write it in 16/4  but 
use quintuplets
(a group of five 1/2,1/4, 1/8 , 1/16 or 1/32 notes with a 5 bracketing 
on which subdivision you want divided into 5 equal notes.

This is a common mistake made in notation.


Mark also asked:
"Also, is the meter a descriptor of how the notes loop?"

Technically speaking (and I had this definition wrong for AGES!!!!!
Meter merely refers to the time signature.

There is, astonishingly,   no technical music term in western notation 
that I've
ever run into that refers to the  pulses that define a 'groove'

I finally have settle on the term 'sub pulses'  to explain this rhythmic 

And when I say 'sub pulses' I don't necessarily mean the lowest common 
note value either,  because you can have a fast ska tune that has 8th 
notes as a 'sub pulse'   but has embellishments in 16th notes that don't 
effect the movement or the feel of the 'groove' of the tune.

This is probably because the whole notion of 'groove' came into Western 
Classical music
with the music of the African Diaspora (blues, swing, rock, various 
Caribbean styles) in
the early 20th century.
(and, later,  with musics from Africa and the Middle East (other musics 
have this sensibility too but either they didn't impact Western musical 
culture very deeply or they were, themselves, influenced by the spread 
of African rhythms, notably, through the rapid spread of Islam on the 


Mark said:
" In polyrhythm 2  or more musical lines are superimposed, and indeed 
the clicks in you video are also poly rhythmic, but is that RHYTHM?

Of course, it's rhythm.   It may just not be a rhythm that you are 
sophisticated enough
to hear, and, by this, I mean that anyone can hear as a human being.

I, myself,  am fascinated by the concept of 'smears' of 
notes.............numerous notes that are so close together that they 
'read'  as a single rhythmic event.


Mark also asked:
" I can play a 5 note looping riff, OVER a 4:4 beat, and that track is 
in 4:4, the fact that the notes revolve and dont come back the same way 
round for a few bars is just a melody played in a 4:4 song is it not? "

Well, yes and no, really.      When one plays the polyrhythm 4 against 
5,  one can
listen to the 5 pulse (with the 4 pulse as a 'syncopation' against it)  
or the 4 pulse (with
the 5 pulse as a syncopation against it--- a much easier thing for us to 
hear due to
the commonality of 4/4 rhythms)  or one can hear what I refer to as
the Linear Rhythm.............the combined syncopative of both rhythms 
it's 'melody',   if you will.

All three auditory phenomena are occurring simultaneously,  but we are 
only able ,
as human beings to hear one of the three at a time.


Whew!!!   That took a while to type.   I wonder if anyone read this