Help understand polyrhythm ( konnakol )

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by TimothyLeary, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. TimothyLeary

    TimothyLeary Tune in, Drop out

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    hi,

    I was walking through youtube and this video came out.

    At 1:44 chapter Polyrhythms in 7 cycle beat, can anyone explain what's going on? I've seen 7 over 2 or 7 over 3 polyrhythm, and I think I finally understand what's going on, at least I hope. But in this video I lost myself again. Can't understand the variations, and what's going on ( 1:1 , 3:2, 2:1, wtf? )

    he's just counting with konnakol, but if you prefer you can explain with normal system. thakadhime = 1 2 3 4, thakita = 1 2 3.

    So, if you have the patient to help a poor man, please help! :idea:




    thank you :bowdown:
     
  2. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    This is interesting.

    So maybe it's because I'm tired, but at 1:44 he seems to be counting out the tala vocally while playing accents according to the grouping. I mean he's counting Ta Ki Ta Ta Ka Di Mi. As you probably know, that not usually how Tal is kept. But what baffles me is that he begins using the traditional method for keeping Tal afterward-- you see the hand waving and clapping during the 8 beat cycle stuff. Perhaps stuff was cut out-- like explaining and sense making, but this would not make it onto my list of "coherent and useful things"-- at least from this section. It might be incredibly lucid and useful though. :shrug:

    Anyway, those ratios (e.g. 1:1, 2:1, etc) show the speed relative to the tala. So basically, we're talking subdivisions. 1:1 are quarter notes, 2:1 are eight notes, 3:2 are eighth note triplets, and so on. Usually these ratios are used to express irrational rhythms-- tuplets-- where 3:2 are triplets (three in the space of two) and 5:4 are quintuplets (five in the space of four). It makes sense when you think of it as "speed relative to the Tala," but isn't quite intuitive as quarter notes (or crotchets) would be for most Western musicians.

    I'm not sure how much experience you have with Indian rhythmic systems, and I don't want to talk down to you, so some of what I'm going to type may be too basic for you.

    Indian polyrhythm is-- as far as I've found-- generated by wierd-ass phrases clashing with the pulse of the tala. So it's more of a metric thing than a subdivision thing, which is what we get in African music.

    As you may know, there are 5 recognized gati (subdivisions) recognized in Carnatic music. Eight note triplets (Tisra), sixteenth notes (Chaturasra), quintuplets (Khanda), Septuplets (Misra), and... um 9 in the space of eight (Sankirna Gati). All things smaller seem to be seem as rests. Note that in Hindustani music, they recognize all kinds of speeds relative to the tala (like whole notes, expressed as 1/4 speed of tala).

    What this dude is doing is moving through a tala while going through these subdivisions, although he sees fit to include quarter notes and eight notes-- which is fine.

    This will only get you so far. A more thorough exercise which will help with mastering the tala and understanding these phrase-based polyrhythms would be to select a Gati (subdivision) and group it in different phrases.

    So let's say it's Tisra Gati-- eigth note triplets. First you'd go through the tala saying "Ta Ki Ta," for triplets. Then, while keeping the subdivision of triplets, phrase them in groups of four, so "Ta Ka Di Mi", and so on, all the way to nine.

    This exercise was shamelessly taken from The book Ancient Traditions-- Future Possibilities. I recommend that you buy this book. It will give you an understanding of basic rhythm of North and South India, and, as a bonus talks about African and Balinese rhythm. Do note though that the sections on India focus primarily on the master of Tala for Carnatic music, and Tihai construction for Hindustani music, then gives some compositions. So it's not made for examining basic rhythm patterns and treatments so much as an understanding of the overarching system. (e.g. don't expect a list of mridangam grooves.)

    As a side note, Balinese kotekans (interlocking rhythms) are freakin' neat.

    Here's the link Ancient Traditions -- Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India
    Buy it.

    Another option (though I haven't got it yet) is Pete Lockett's book on South Indian Rhythm
    Amazon.com: Pete Lockett Indian Rhythms Book: Pete Lockett, Joe Bergamini: Books

    This is probably a more thorough study of basic treatment-- as opposed to only conceptual treatment-- but the book is made for drummer applying this to their kits. Not a bad thing, you'll just have to be prepared for most examples to be kit based.

    Either one is good, I would probably suggest both. Matthew Montfort's book-- the first one-- is a good basic (don't let the word "basic" fool you though) training manual for four rhythmic cultures. And Pete Lockett has studied about every rhythmic tradition known to man, so that's a safe bet for awesome.

    If you have any questions, be sure to ask.

    Hope that helped. :)
     
  3. TimothyLeary

    TimothyLeary Tune in, Drop out

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    maybe i need learn to walk before run. because I read your post three times, and don't understand shit. lol nothing wrong with you believe me., but i need to learn the vocabulary first. I thought it was more simple to explain what he's doing, without the indian vocabulary, and tala stuff.

    I don't even get why is accent the 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 .

    Although, i understand this part:

    "So let's say it's Tisra Gati-- eigth note triplets. First you'd go through the tala saying "Ta Ki Ta," for triplets. Then, while keeping the subdivision of triplets, phrase them in groups of four, so "Ta Ka Di Mi", and so on, all the way to nine.!

    but not the "all the way to nine" part. why to nine?

    Ta Ki ta
    takadimi takadimi takadimi

    or

    Ta ki ta ta ki ta
    Takadimi takadimi

    am I making any sense? lol

    Anyway, thanks for put me in this long path I need to walk. i will try to get those books, i want to apply this to my music, but special to my drum playing.

    cheers.
     
  4. Sang-Drax

    Sang-Drax SS.org Regular

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    Unfortunately I'm at work, where youtube is blocked... you have no idea of curious I am to watch this thing :lol:
     
  5. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Don't worry if this takes a while to understand. At first I was baffled. It's pretty much the terminology. The concepts themselves aren't so scary, but I find that just having the Indian words there makes it much more difficult to understand. They basically give you all terms that you already know, except they're literally in a different language. :lol:

    It's easy to get bogged down in the terminology. If you want, I could give isolated definitions of most of what you need to know right now.

    Without watching the video again, I would say that's because the pulse of the Tala is 2 beats, 2 beats, one beat, two beats.

    You probably know that Tala are the equivalent of time signatures. That's true, but they're not exactly the same thing. They're called rhythmic cycles for a reason: they are a collection of beats in which certain beats are accented. Because of this, they are often irregular-- not every two notes are accented, for example. So when you put them together, you get a cycle of rhythm.

    Think of it like rock. Most rock is in 4/4, and almost always the second and fourth beats are accented. 1 2 1 2. It's the same thing with the Tala, except that the accents are more complex, as you saw with the 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 example.

    So the reason the accents are 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 are because that is the structure of the tala he is demonstrating.

    Now luckily Indian music is pretty logical, especially Carnatic music (the kind in that video) is extremely systemized and logical. Each of those accents is seen as a separate component and they all have terrifying Indian names.

    There are tons of different Talas, and, on top of that, there are about four different systems that are fairly common. Don't worry about knowing them all, or even mastering every tala in one system, since usually only a few are used commonly.

    Again, if you want, I could write a post explaining the most common system of Talas. It's easier than it seems.

    The reason is that nine is usually the maximum number of subdivisions per beat in Indian Classical music. As for why it's the maximum, remember that in traditional Indian music the players stay within one subdivision for a bit before going to another. They won't usually change to another for a run or roll-- like you sometimes see in Progressive music when they switch between quintuplets, sextuplets, and 11-notes per beat in a crazy solo of doom.

    So basically if they select 9 notes per beat, then they'd have to keep playing nine notes per beat until it's been thoroughly explored, which is difficult because it's, well, really damn fast. Improvising at that rate for an extended period would be difficult. For playing and to make something musical that's not just endless whirlwinds of notes.

    It's just a matter of practicality.

    Now it's usually the upper limit given for phrase counting. I have seen more, though. For an eleven note phrase, the counting might be: Ta Ki Ta Ta Ka Di Mi Ta Ki Ta so 3+4+3.

    So that's why he goes to nine; it's the common upper limit for divisions per beat.

    No problem :yesway:

    Then definitely get those books, particularly Mr. Lockett's.

    In the mean time, Pete Lockett has a lot of free lessons at his site. No registration or anything.

    Here's a page on Indian rhythms :Lessons -. Pete Lockett Percussion

    And here are 27(!) articles applying Indian rhythms to the drum set: Lessons -. Pete Lockett Percussion

    But you might want to get some of the terminology down before checking those out too much. And the Drum set articles look at specific examples, not a huge overview of the whole system.
     
  6. TimothyLeary

    TimothyLeary Tune in, Drop out

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    Hi man.. I don't this, but I've to study this subject before asking more questions. I bought the Lockett book, but is NOT EASY!! Damn.. I'm dumb, and logical thinking kill me! :D

    I wish had Lockett near me so he can explain me this like for a 5 year old boy. lol

    THanks for your help, i'm really interested in this thing, but it takes time!

    ps: it's me, or meshuggah seems to like this indian rhythms too? it reminds me their crazy cycle beats and subdivisions.
     
  7. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    ^ Yeah, if you have any questions I might be able to clarify. Sometimes it helps to discuss this stuff with other people.

    If you have a fairly concise question, you can probably email Lockett. He has a FAQ page of answered emails on his site about a mile long, so I doubt he'd be opposed to it.

    But don't worry, man; Indian rhythm is very much a "lightbulb" thing. Just odd and incomprehensible until it clicks and then you think "that wasn't so bad."

    And yes, Meshuggah's music shares much in common with Indian rhythm. They even have particular patterns repeated a few times until they line up with the cycle again. Lots of differences, but many similarities.
     
  8. Bumskull

    Bumskull Well-Known Member

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    LOL I'm addicted to polyrhythm

    check out my 17/8

    12341212311231234 which is

    4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 4

    my 15/8 is not bad either

    123121231234123 which is

    3 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 3

    I envy those who find polyrhythm strange because I have literal pages of this stuff in the oddest time signature. I even have a song written entirely in 13/8 :) when asked about it I say, because I can.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    That's odd meter, not polyrhythm.
     
  10. Bumskull

    Bumskull Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to add that both of those r being played at the same time. I put 3 measures of 17/8 (guitar) along with 3 measures of 15/8 (drums and keys) written in 17/8, and then I put a drum fill along with a small keys fill to include the extra 6. The bass however is playing in 9/4 and for the 3rd measure i change the meter to 15/8 to make it fit.

    Does it look retarded, bloated, and stupid on paper, yes it does.

    Does it sound awesome when played, you bet.
     
  11. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    That's the trick. :lol:
     
  12. Henrik Andersen

    Henrik Andersen New Member

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    The thing in 7 is pretty much about keeping time with vocal while
    exposing slower and faster tempos (even & triplets) of 2+2+3
    Its a bit tricky - but just a way to show how cool rhythms can be :)

    Its really all about discovering the math of rhythms
    the great thing about KONNAKOL is that it really helps you to understand time & rhythm in the most simple & natural way.

    I have lots of KONNAKOL exercises on Youtube.com/stringsofandersen
    (One of them is actually about polyrhythms in 7 )

    ThakeDhime

    Henrik:shred:
     
  13. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly SS.org Regular

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    Wow! This is a gem of a thread to be resurrected! I'm also impressed the video still works!
     
  14. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Thanks for your work in rhythm education. I've been to concerts in which the performers do that cyclic thing, playing 2 cycles in the space of one, then 3 in the space of one, then one in the space of 3... I think I need to have a better acquaintance with the musical forms of Hindustani classical music, because I hear these things in concert and don't know how to look for it in recordings.

    This video is awesome, by the way:

     
  15. Henrik Andersen

    Henrik Andersen New Member

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    Thanx for all the comments here.
    HereĀ“s my trio singing one of my KONNAKOL compositions in Adi Tala = 8 beat
    There are a few bars of triplets but its mainly regroupings of even subdivisions

    :shred:

    KONNAKOL / Vocal Percussion - YouTube
     

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