Are there any good books or resources out their that are dedicated to the study of rhythm and its purposes/effects in different musical contexts?

I feel like when I compose I can sometimes overcomplicate things by adding to many notes. I know that there aren't any rules against that but I'd like to be able to make smarter rhythmic choices.
That is an extremely broad question. Literally, it's like asking a painter about the overall use and effect of Color in art.

You learn about rhythm mostly by using it. Learn music by ear and from sheet music and internalize the rhythms. Study how rhythm is used in musical phrases in all kinds of music - Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Miles Davis, The Meters...

And when you learn and listen to music, count! Where is the pulse? Where are the accents in relation to the pulse?

Here's a little assignment that'll get you thinking about rhythm in context: Compare the rhythmic phrasing in the opening of Beethoven's 5th Symphony to the opening of Bach's first Brandenburg Concerto. Then, look at rhythm in Miles Davis's "It's About That Time" and compare it to Charlie Parker's "Confirmation". Rhythmically, which jazz piece is similar to which classical piece?
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 8, 2013,
Just get a drum book, or there is one by Musician Institute, I think it's called Rhythm Reading Encyclopaedia. I use that around 3 times a week and just read rhythms. Really helps your ear and if your tapping your foot correctly it'll really increase your sense of timing which something I think not enough people work on. Always use a metronome, and generally, you should just learn to sight read music.
Rhythm is very difficult to formalize in the same way you can formalize form or harmony. As a result you don't really find too many books on rhythm and I really can't even think of one.

On top of that, like cdgraves said, your question is really way too broad to answer.
I'm a visual learner, and visualize many rhythms as geometric patterns of 2's, 3's and 4's. You might get something from benny grebs 'language of drumming' where he breaks rhythms down into little sequential patterns. Probably very interesting if you like djent syncopation and stuff like that.
th'me are also many resources on african, and even indian drumming/music which might help if you learn more by ear- these often represent beats as short sounds like ti ta tiki tiki. Maybe worth a look?
Last edited by innovine at Apr 9, 2013,
^yip lots of stuff on drumming rhythms but I haven't seem much on melodic rhythm,

I did see some youtube videos showing common rhythmic patterns. It was interesting.

You talk about getting overly complicated think about Beethoven's 5th,. it's a simple rhythmic idea short short short long, E E E G and from that one idea he births an entire symphony. At the heart of any great complicated piece of music is a great simple piece of music that has been developed and explored.
Beethoven's 5th is a massive study in rhythmic simplicity. It's really one of the earliest and most powerful pieces demonstrating the versatility of rhythm within a single phrase. As far as individual phrases go, it's hard to think of a more compelling rhythm.

But it's also really important to look at rhythm in a larger context because it affects how you think of harmony, as well. Rhythmic treatment is the difference between a passing harmony and one that has a strong function in the music. Understanding how to develop a rhythmic phrase can help you weave a melody through harmonic changes without becoming repetitive.

Put simply: it's important to learn both rhythmic patterns and rhythm in terms of composition. Rhythm is more than what you tap your foot to.
If you want a guitar guide, the Tagliarino book is good for this. Beethoven was also a genius with rhythmic sosphistication, check out op. 111 or the beginning of Pathetique
listen to electronic music(not mainstream electronic like guetta or avicii, but stuff like dubstep etc.)

dubsteps primary instrument(the wubub) is basically a percussion instrument given musical notes. so their music is all rhythm, theres not much musical note content. skrillex is the king, check out seven lions, check out zedd, check out any number of a million great electronic artists.

for understanding time signatures, check out progressive rock/metal artists like tool, dream theater, porcupine tree and opeth among many others. they use any time signature under the sun.

i might get hate from jazz and classical fans, and im not putting down jazz or classical in any way, but im also suggesting another, more modern, way to understand rhythm.
Last edited by pushkar000 at Apr 11, 2013,
ndubstep is interesting because it often swings, and the bass often plays triplets, but it sucks compared to old skool jungle and edits, photek and paradox are electronic rhythm at its peak. Check Burial for interesting rhythmic content too
Last edited by innovine at Apr 12, 2013,
Quote by innovine
ndubstep is interesting because it often swings, and the bass often plays triplets, but it sucks compared to old skool jungle and edits, photek and paradox are electronic rhythm at its peak. Check Burial for interesting rhythmic content too

im gonna look into them, i have no knownledge of old school electronic.