Polyrhythms (Cross Rhythms) and Polyrhythm Challenges - Video Resources

Youtube Video

4 : 3 type polyrhythms
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What are they?

Polyrhythms (or Cross Rhythms) are independent rhythms played simultaneously by one or more musicians.

As well as the usual 4 : 3 type polyrhythms, you can watch drum rudiments played polyrhythmically, the rarer 4/4 : 4/3 polyrhythms (Brian Ferneyhough's notation) and exotic rhythms with PI or the golden ratio number of beats per measure.

Choose which type of polyrhythm interests you from link below the video:


Polyrhythms are especially common in traditional African and Indian music, with the Pygmies particularly renowned for their complex polyrhythms. Also used extensively in many types of modern music. In some African music, the practice of cross rhythms is thought to help develop intrepidity.

Efe People's Polyrhythms

Youtube Video

Efe Peoples Music, Indigenous Africa, Likembe (thumb piano) Song
Links: See Efe People and Efe People of the Ituri forest for more about the people who make this music

Anlo-Ewe Polyrhythms

"In Anlo-Ewe cultural understanding, the technique of cross rhythm is a highly developed systematic interplay of varying rhythmic motions simulating the dynamics of contrasting moments or emotional stress phenomena likely to occur in actual human existence.

"Intrepidness, or resolute fearlessness, in Anlo-Ewe view, is an extraordinary strength of mind. It raises the mind above the troubles, disorders and emotions which the anticipation or sight of great perils is calculated to excite. It is by this strength that ordinary people become heroes, by maintaining themselves in a tranquil state of mind and preserving the free use of their reason under most surprising and terrible circumstances. " See The Myth of Cross Rhythm.

Use these videos as a resource

You can use any of these videos as a resource for your own website or wikis, or make more of them yourself - see Add videos like these to your own site

Play these rhythms and animations at any tempo with Bounce Metronome

Bounce Metronome Pro is a wonderful tool to help you to practise these and many more rhythms at any tempo, including changing tempo. The bounce visuals help you to see the rhythms clearly and keep in time with all the rhythms in the polyrhythm.

To find out more visit the Polyrhythms page for Bounce Metronome Pro.