Polymeter and Mental Toughness


Two play along MP3's and notation. 


This is part two in my polyrhythmic/polymeter and Mental Toughness tutorial. 

The goal of this lesson is to mentally challenge the student/listener in several ways.

Polymeter - different voices/instruments that play different meters that desynchronize themselves (a 9/8 piano part against a 4/4 drum part) or a constant five count vs. a repeating count in three. When the cycles are counted correctly against each other, they will ultimately land back on one.

The entire method is based off of a simple four note rhythm (see notation on right).​ On the notation you will see the words, "Bell and Shk" (shk is abbreviation for shaker). I always use two different sounds when working with people on methods such as this. Keep in mind, you do not need an instrument to get value from this lesson. You just need to clap your hands and count. 


There are two separate play alongs. Each serves its own purpose and each is challenging in its own way. My advice before starting would be to listen to play along #1 first. You will hear me counting several different ways. 1212, 123123, 1234 etc. The goal for the first play along is simple: count along with me and make sure you "clear the section." This means you end up back on "one" when I do.

The hard ones are the groupings of five. In regards to five, there are also two five-based subdivisions, 12312 and 12123. These are the really tough ones. If they don't drive you crazy, just wait until play along #2. 

Play along #2:

In this example, you will hear me clapping in time with the "bell" sound. I would suggest listening to this a few times. Once comfortable, try the clapping part. When you're satisfied with that, add in the counting parts in addition to clapping. 

The ultimate goal is to successfully complete all the counts while capturing the clapping part. 

Breakdown of Counts on play along (both tracks are identical count wise):

12121212 etc

123123123123 etc

123412341234 etc

123451234512345 etc

123456123456 etc

1231212312 etc

1212312123 etc

Larry Salzman is a global percussion teacher with over 20 years of experience. Larry plays over 20 different percussion instruments. In addition, he has over 350 TV and film credits as well as 35 CD credits. Book a lesson with Larry today!


Go to the next tutorials in this 3 part series on polyrhythms:

Hand Drums
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