#1
Edit:

Whenever people talk about 'music theory', they invariably seem to mean harmonic theory (in a fairly broad sense), and maybe a bit about classical structures.

But is there anything like a well developed theory of how rhythm works? Of what sounds wonky and what sounds energetic and what sounds lethargic and so on. I guess there wasn't much call for it when harmonic theory was developing, but now that people are analyzing everything from cuban drumming to Iannais Xenakis to kids slicing breaks in their bedrooms, it seems like there should be something a bit more developed going on...

I like to think that I have a reasonable grasp of the basics of western harmonic and melodic theory (tonality modes modulation etc...) but to this day, I'm not sure I truly understand the workings of rhythm.

I can comprehend meter, pulse, subdivision, etc.. But apart from an intuitive aural understanding, I really have no idea how to construct a rhythmic "Cadence" from scratch. Does anybody have any tips concerning moderate to advanced rhythmic theory? i.e. call and response, phrasing, repetition, etc... How does it all work/fit together?
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Last edited by KenjiBeast at Aug 20, 2009,
#2
I'm not sure what you are really asking. Different rhythms suit different songs.

call and response: when one player plays a short to medium length phrase and another player responds accordingly. usually the rhythm is quite similar, but maybe a few variations.
phrasing: like a musical sentence. it tends to repeat throughout a song sometimes with tiny rhythmic or harmonic changes.
repetition: the core of rhythm. Don't change it too much. Rhythm is something that can definitely be very repetitive without getting boring. You can add little things and take little things along the way.
#3
I don't really know what you mean by "tips", but I can tell you a good example of those things are "Prelude And Fugue"s. Look one up on youtube. They always seem to inspire me rhythmically.
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Last edited by Ribcage at Aug 20, 2009,
#4
Alright let me put it this way:

Whenever people talk about 'music theory', they invariably seem to mean harmonic theory (in a fairly broad sense), and maybe a bit about classical structures.

But is there anything like a well developed theory of how rhythm works? Of what sounds wonky and what sounds energetic and what sounds lethargic and so on. I guess there wasn't much call for it when harmonic theory was developing, but now that people are analyzing everything from cuban drumming to Iannais Xenakis to kids slicing breaks in their bedrooms, it seems like there should be something a bit more developed going on...
Quote by brownsfan456
Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


Quote by metal4all

I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.
#5
do you mean way of describings rhythmic patterns?

drummers are often the best people to ask about rhythm, since they have to put together lots of different rhythms and communicate them names have evolved over time, for example certain rhythms can be called paradiddles or flams.

more stuff can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudiment
i'm not really sure what you're asking though either...
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
Last edited by doive at Aug 20, 2009,
#6
I'd recommend looking up something like Konokol...
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#7
Quote by doive
do you mean way of describings rhythmic patterns?

drummers are often the best people to ask about rhythm, since they have to put together lots of different rhythms and communicate them names have evolved over time, for example certain rhythms can be called paradiddles or flams.

more stuff can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudiment
i'm not really sure what you're asking though either...


Rudiments have more to do with sticking patterns than actual rhythms. For example, a swiss army triplet is still just a triplet, it just has a special sticking. A paradiddle is just means to play four notes as RLRR regardless of the rhythm they are played in. A flam is just one note... Before you start going on about rudiments, you should learn what they are. You may have had an argument for hybrid rudiments, but I really dont think you know what your talking about

Music theory teaches many ways to describe rhythm, and does give you little tips (strong beat/weak beat theory, syncopation, etc) but theres not a ton of stuff that conventional theory will teach you about standard rhythms and such.

If you want to get into the more complex rhythmic stuff, you have to start studying latin rhythm. Start with clave
Last edited by tubatom868686 at Aug 20, 2009,
#8
Quote by tubatom868686
Rudiments have more to do with sticking patterns than actual rhythms. For example, a swiss army triplet is still just a triplet, it just has a special sticking. A paradiddle is just means to play four notes as RLRR regardless of the rhythm they are played in. A flam is just one note... Before you start going on about rudiments, you should learn what they are. You may have had an argument for hybrid rudiments, but I really dont think you know what your talking about

Music theory teaches many ways to describe rhythm, and does give you little tips (strong beat/weak beat theory, syncopation, etc) but theres not a ton of stuff that conventional theory will teach you about standard rhythms and such.

If you want to get into the more complex rhythmic stuff, you have to start studying latin rhythm. Start with clave


you are right i don't have much idea about drumming rhythms at all - my drummer just says things occassionally such as "i'll play these triplets as paradiddles" and random jazz like that - since i am not familiar with sticking patterns i just assumed they were phrasings of triplets or specific rhythms. My bad..

what i was trying to get at and ask the TS to help answer his question was - 'do you mean nomenclature for different rhythms and common patterns of how they fit'
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
#9
Quote by doive
you are right i don't have much idea about drumming rhythms at all - my drummer just says things occassionally such as "i'll play these triplets as paradiddles" and random jazz like that - since i am not familiar with sticking patterns i just assumed they were phrasings of triplets or specific rhythms. My bad..

what i was trying to get at and ask the TS to help answer his question was - 'do you mean nomenclature for different rhythms and common patterns of how they fit'


No, that's not what I'm talking about..

What I'm referring to is more the "why" of rhythms. Why does X sound Y? How do rhythms fit together, how do they form concrete phrases? etc.. Does this make any sense?
Quote by brownsfan456
Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


Quote by metal4all

I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.
#10
You mentioned cadences and rhythm together. Rhythm alone doesn't create a cadence. A cadence only exists because certain intervals are dissonant, and will 'want' to resolve to something consonant. The same thing doesn't happen with just rhythm.

The main important things in rhythm are strong and weak beats, subdivisions, time signatures, polymeters, tuplets, polyrhythms, etc..
#11
Quote by isaac_bandits
You mentioned cadences and rhythm together. Rhythm alone doesn't create a cadence. A cadence only exists because certain intervals are dissonant, and will 'want' to resolve to something consonant. The same thing doesn't happen with just rhythm.

The main important things in rhythm are strong and weak beats, subdivisions, time signatures, polymeters, tuplets, polyrhythms, etc..


There is such thing as a rhythmic cadence, and it is distinct from a harmonic cadence.

For example: Tap out the "Call" phrase from shave and a hair cut.

shave and a haircut..

Then "Two bits" completes the phrase, succinctly responding to the preceding statement and concluding it.

The question I have is: why?
Quote by brownsfan456
Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


Quote by metal4all

I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.