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(cross rhythm), in music, the simultaneous use of two or more different rhythmic patterns. In general, “polyrhythm” means the combining of any rhythmic patterns. It was the norm for European polyphonic music, beginning with the 12th-century motet. In this general sense, polyrhythm includes the simplest rhythmic combinations (for example, quarter notes in one voice and eighth notes in the other), as well as compound rhythmic combinations, which are defined as polymetry.

In a specialized sense, polyrhythm is the vertical combination of rhythmic patterns characterized by the absence of the smallest unit of time common to all voices (for example, a combination of duplets and triplets, or triplets and quintuplets). This type of polyrhythm is characteristic of works by Chopin, Scriabin, A. Webern, and A. Berg.


References in periodicals archive ?
The music begins with sustained chords under an expressive vocal line before changing quietly to moving patterns that float on polyrhythms.
At the same time, I wanted to try combining accelerations and retardations in my rhythmic vocabulary, in order to produce a constantly hurrying and slowing down kind of tempo, rather than the polyrhythms of most of my previous music.
Infectious polyrhythms formed a jubilant spine to the euphoric melody, making it a standout.
With its driving, complex polyrhythms, soaring melodies and spiritual depth, African music [ETH] either from Africa or from various points in the African diaspora [ETH] has led musical movements for a century.
The conductor also demonstrated an adept grasp of Bartok's complex polyrhythms - but everything was oversmooth.
The challenges of those polyrhythms help a dancer in learning how to move through space," he observes, adding that tap can even help with ballet because of the quick rhythmic steps in the legs, ankles, and lower body.
Williams played on classic albums such as Miles Smiles (1967), Miles in the Sky (1968) and In a Silent Way (1969), and was described in Davis' autobiography as "the centre that the group's sound revolved around" with his inventive polyrhythms and a modal approach that helped create a fusion of jazz and rock.
The four musicians come from wildly different musical places, from the experimental polyrhythms of Stravinsky to the more prosaic and predictable punk.
Dhakis are the most incredibly talented percussionists, able to pull off mind-boggling polyrhythms and syncopations, blending an awesome variety of beats and rhythms, and coaxing subtle, nuanced tonalities from their drums.
While each song has a distinctive Spanish tone, the band uses fiery reggae-Latin-grunge polyrhythms with contrastingly cool, dynamic vocals different from traditional Rumba music.
She arranges her diverse materials into elaborate polyrhythms whose accents change the very moment you find the groove.
Complex polyrhythms emerge from the quilt of simple patterns, and a terraced, descending melody appears that I found myself humming on the way out of the hall.