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Six over four

Posted by WayneConrad on Friday, February 22, 2019

I talked with my instructor about my fear that polyrhythms was too advanced for where I am right now.  I told him I feel like I'm trying to learn how to do fancy stuff in my improvisation before I can do the basics.  So he had me improvise in D.  He played chords, and I made up melody.  I don't think I did great, but he seemed to think I did well enough.  I still have my doubts, but the lesson continued to more polyrhythms.

This week's exercise is called "six over four."  That means playing 6 beats per measure and 4 beats per measure at the same time.  Here's the tab for the basic rhythm:

This is played with the thumb and index.  The thumb plays the fifth string, which carries the straight 4/4 rhythm.  The index plays the fourth and third strings, which carry the 6 over 4 rhythm and plays a CM7 arpeggio.  Here's what it sounds like when I play it:

(The recording sounds nasty because it's my practice banjo recorded by my cel phone).  I don't think the rhythm is solid yet--it still sounds like I'm trying hard (because I am).  I need to spend a lot of time with the metronome this weekend.

The rest of my homework is to play last week's exercise (Harmonizing C major) using this rhythm.  If I get this down, the next lesson will (I think) be to mix the polyrhythm in with straight rhythms.  For example, play mostly straight 4/4, but then throw in a measure of 6 over 4 before going back to straight 4/4.

In other news, You Are My Flower is much more difficult than I thought it was.  The issue is the Carter Family's phrasing, which drags out the melody in ways that are sometimes difficult for me to play.  I'm still working on that.


4 comments on “Six over four”

Deleteme Says:
Friday, February 22, 2019 @5:32:40 PM


WayneConrad Says:
Friday, February 22, 2019 @6:01:51 PM

Northl - Yeah, I know. Sometimes I don't know whether to post my lessons or not. They are not beginner lessons, and I worry that they won't seem relevant, or worse, it might seem like I'm bragging. But one thing in learning banjo is constant: Whatever level you are at, the thing you are learning now seems difficult and intimidating, and the thing you learned last month doesn't seem that bad anymore, and the thing you'll be learning next month is just impossible. Because of the constant feeling of "wow, this is hard," I always feel like I'm just hanging on by my fingernails. So in a way, we're all at the same spot, thinking "wow, this is hard!" Just about different things for each of us.

Deleteme Says:
Friday, February 22, 2019 @7:00:04 PM

It is good for you to have a good teacher. I am on my own with books and youtube with which I keep moving along. :)

They need an, "I saw it but am speechless," button.

bellf Says:
Friday, February 22, 2019 @9:13:53 PM

I like the polyrhythm stuff. It can be hard work but I think it’s good for timing (and it sounds cool).

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