Rhythm Phasing (Video Resources)


Youtube Video

Rhythm phasing example in sixteen parts

What are they?

Rhythm phasing is the technique of playing exactly the same rhythm at several different tempi simultaneously. It is a technique used in minimalist music - especially Steve Reich. 

Try playing along with just one of these rhythms (tap or clap or drum). Then, can you play along with two of them at once, one in each hand? It is harder than it seems probably. If you want to follow up that more try the Rhythm Phasing challenge on the How steady is your tempo page (near the bottom of that page).


More about rhythm phasing

With rhythm phasing then you set the tempo of each rhythm, often with just small changes in the tempo so that they drift in and out of phase with each other. There is no need for the rhythms to meet up anywhere. With polymeters and polyrhythms then the focus is more on the number of beats or measures in the rhythms and how those relate to each other. 

So, you could call these rhythm phasing rhythms polytempi, or polymeters. It's the same basic idea, just a different way of looking at it. However, if the different parts have different measure sizes or play different rhythms you would probably call it a polymeter or polytempo because in rhythm phasing generally, all the parts play the same rhythm.

Playlist of Rhythm Phasing videos

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.

To find out more visit the Polymeters and Rhythm Phasing page for Bounce Metronome Pro