This lesson can be though of as a continuation of our Playing A 3/4 Groove In 4/4 where you combined a simple 3/4 pattern with a new time signature. You will be doing very similar in the exercises on this page but will be playing simple level 0 patterns in the odd time signature of 5/8. I strongly recomend working through the lesson linked above first to get an introduction to this concept, these exercises will be a little harder. There is also a similar lessons on the same idea applied to the time signatures of 7/8 and 5/8 that may be worth looking at too.
Learning this construction idea is much simpler when played a long to a piece of music in 9/8 rather than just a metronome. There are various free backing track MP3s around the lessons area in this time signature so grab yourself one of those.
As in other polymetric patterns, the part will involve playing the 4/4 style groove a certain amount of times that won't necessarily correspond to the number of bars of 5/8. We'll start off a little simpler by playing half of a bar of normal 4/4, so two beats worth of music, and playing it over four bars of 9/8. Over the course of those four bars you will play the two beat phrase nine times in full. The end of the four bars will also line up nicely with the end of a phrase, which doesn't always happen in these polymetric patterns. That phrase would look like this:
In the example above I have beamed the eighth notes in fours and gone over bar lines where necessary to show how the 4/4 phrase fits over the new time signature. You may also notice that each bar of 9/8 takes the previous bar and pushes the part back by an eighth note, much like the 5/8 version. So in the first bar the first snare is on the third eighth note, in the second bar it is shifted to the second and so on.
Spend some time getting comfortable with the timing and feel of this phrase before moving on to the next step.
Using Level 0 Grooves
The next step is to take that exact same phrasing and placement but use some full level 0 grooves. That means each phrase will now be four beats long so you will fit 4 full sets of the groove in a long with a final shorter phrase which will fit half of the groove. I have listed various patterns below using different grooves, take your time with each and make sure you play a long to a metronome or a backing track to get the full affect of the polymeter. Phrase marks have been added to these patterns to highlight where the grooves fall.
- Learn all exercises and fit them to a backing track or metronome at around 140bpm.
- Experiment with using different level 0 grooves.
- Make simple variations such as moving around the right hand or opening hi hats.
- Replace the last two beat phrase with a fill.