Writing Complex Prog / Djent Rhythms that GROOVE- Truncated Polymeters

A common trick of djent metal and prog bands is to play polymeters over 4/4 but truncate them. This results in grooving riffs that are easy to headbang too but also include layers of rhythmic complexity due to the odd time signatures inside. In this video I get some help from a drummer to craft a section of music that is all based around a simple 5/16 : 4/4 polymeter, adding in and removing layers of rhythm to create different sounds. I love writing with rhythm. Music is two parts- when, and what. Working with rhythm means you solved the "when" part, then it's an easy task to apply your melodic and harmonic knowledge to the rhythmic DNA of your new piece or song. Hope this video gets that point across!


Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster!

Hey, I'm Jake Lizzio. And in this video. What I want to do is share with you the idea of working with truncated poly meters.

Hopefully you already know what poly meters are I did a video on those but Polly meters are always working between different time signatures in this video. We're going to keep everything in for for so what we're doing is we're taking long strings of weird time signatures, and we're just chopping them off early. So they sit into 4 4 because 4 4 is awesome for for you can headbang to you can thrash.

You can dance to it. It's a really great time signature odd times and Polly meters get kind of wonky and sometimes it can even put put the brakes on your song and you don't want to do that. So if you want to keep driving ahead in 4/4 and still grooving but still introduce some of that rhythmic interest and richness that comes with odd time signatures then using truncated poly meters is a great way to kind of amp up that sound. So here's a simple example of what a truncated poly meter might be. I'm going to write a very simple riff using seven eight time. Okay, and I'll be In D Minor, I'll use the notes of the D pentatonic minor scale or the D minor scale and the Rhythm pattern. I'm going to use when I think of seven eight a simple pattern would be one two, three. One two, one two, one, two, three, one two, one two, so if I give that some notes the notes, I'll give it here. One, two, three. One two, one two, one, two, three simple stuff, right your drummer might play this accenting those same beats about it, bom bom bada bum bum and That's a classic seven eight feel. But what if we didn't actually complete one of these seven eight phrases what if we chopped one of them off early? So we'll play a measure of seven eight another measure of seven eight that adds up to 14 eighth notes and then we'll start our third phrase and we'll just get two notes through it. All right. Now, it only adds up to 16 and if I just stop there and repeat everything well now I've got a phrase that's 16 eighth notes long. It's like two measures of for for and I could even rewrite this so it looks like for for instead of looking like seven eight plus seven eight plus two eight, right? So then I get this I get one two, three. One two, one two, one two, one two, one two, one two, one two, which might still sound crazy to you. But as soon as we lay a steady quarter note or a steady half note underneath that you'll notice this actually sounds really nice and it actually grows really well 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 bottom Sounds like with a half note now going back to accenting those weird odd time signatures like a drummer might do if we were just reading at like 7 8 and 2 8 it would be done.

So I think this is really cool stuff and I wanted to write a little piece demonstrating you all the examples that we can do with this. I also had some help from my good friend. Jeff beard stank aka the polymorphic Wart feiger, he came into the studio and laid down some really good drum tracks here for us. And he's also going to describe a little bit of what he did to accommodate some of this crazy Rhythm. Now this entire piece is based off of one rhythmic idea. It never changes. It's a grouping of five. It goes 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 and we do that six times that adds up to 30 notes. And then we have a remainder of 2 and that remainder of do we just go one two, so it's one-two-three-four-five one-two-three-four-five one-two-three-four-five one-two-three-four-five one-two-three-four-five. I want two three four five one, two, one, two, three, four five one and so on and so on and so on what it sounded like as a guitar player I decided to put it on the seven-string. I just got a seven string from one of my friends and former students and it's I figured let's do something low gentie in B-flat and E-flat power cord would be right here and just apply that same rhythmic pulsing one two, one, two, three, one two, one, two, three, one, two, three, one two, one two, one two, three weird stuff and without that half note. Being in the background. It's very hard to determine what our time signature is and I like that. I like keeping the listener on their feet. I like the listener not really knowing that they're in for four and then just spring it on them. All right, Jeffrey the question for you. Sorry, I didn't see you there. Yeah. Hi. The question for you is what did you do for the very very beginning as the guitars or pulsating?

What was that intro like that? You came up with?

Well, I had a choice. Could I stay too to the for very could I use the bad boy method and be rhythmically?

And try to fake everyone into believing that it's in five.

So I did that and then I'm like, hey guess what? We're all bound to the for nice in the end.

Once the first Groove came in and you actually started playing a drum beat. How did you structure that drum beat? I wanted to be the plow that drives through and shows the truth, which Which is the 4?

The truth plow.

That's my name. Now you can you elaborate what you mean by plowing through and showing the truth disregard everything and just show everyone where the quarter note is disregard everything.

So my song started off with that simple pattern those tight Palm mute, sin that rhythmic pulsing later on. I do the same rhythmic pulsing and without the tight Palm users kind of letting the poem into the stain a little bit.

And then lastly I actually had the power chords ring out.

And I also introduced a low B power chord, which is the diatonic 6 chord in E flat minor. So we're basically just going from a minor one to a major Flat 6 thinking of this just as the key of E flat minor. I took a little bit of what you were doing and sprinkled it in so I'm like, okay, so I'm going to play five on the cake while playing for on my hands on the hi-hat and the snare so I'm do it 1 to 4 while doing one thing.

Point deep, I'm a kick and you'll notice check this out.

So once we had settled into that Groove, I decided to add another layer of poly meter on top of your another truncated Pauline eater and I went with the number six. I can do six four times that adds up to 24 and then I can add in a phrasing of 8 and then that all adds up to 32 or you can think of it as 6 times 5 that adds up to 30 and then the remainder of 2 but here's how I wrote it. I wrote one two, three, four, five six. One, two, three, four, five six one.

Four five six one two, three, four, five six, one, two, three, four, five six, seven eight and that just flows on top very very well. Even as the chord changes you'll hear that little Polly meter going in on top.

And if it got a little crazy got hard to follow what was going on there. So I did a 180 and instead of playing the quarter note.

Instead of playing for four which is what it's in. I started treating the five is the quarter note like every five sixteenth ounce every five sixteenth notes became my new quarter note weird.

Now I thought it would be very helpful to help reinforce this for for as often as possible.

So I went to just some octaves in E flat minor and just did some sixteenth notes one-e-and-a two-e-and-a three-e-and-a four-e-and-a up and down like that with a lot of Reverb to hopefully give it some melodic sense. You could imagine a vocal line here instead of just a guitar line.

Now I wanted to fade out at the end and I wanted some new element to my song and maybe a new Polly meter to so I added in this dotted eighth note pattern.

It just goes up and down the E flat minor scale of some slides.

Very simple idea it starts on the off beat and then as cut off early to restart on that same offbeat later on and then I doubled this with a synthesizer.

Once I wrote that idea I thought it would actually be a great way to introduce this entire song. So I took that little synthesizer idea. I plopped it right at the beginning of the track and I had the last note of that line and write on the One Beat of the actual signature.

So I think that's really cool stuff. And what's even cooler is we wrote that entire idea while eating tacos and enchiladas.

Literally we came up with that Rhythm just around the dinner table. We didn't even need our instruments around us because the concept is so easy. Hey, let's take fives and play them until we want to stop them just stopped them somewhere on the number 8 or 16 or 32 or 64 and then basically using that as the foundation for your song.

There's a million billion things you can build on top of that and working rhythmically is really Because so much of the puzzle is already solved. You don't really have to think about Melody and Harmony so much. I mean my guitar part here is just to power chords. Okay, I won scale no modulations.

That's really really simple stuff to work in and we've got this Rich complexity in the Rhythm. So I think this is a good process. I really enjoy the technique and I do hear this kind of stuff a lot in prog rock. So hopefully it gives you some ideas some different, you know Concepts to play around with and hopefully it's something that when you hear it in prog rock, you're not so mystified by it. It really is. Just for for we've just taken all those weird time signatures and chopped off the extremities to look fits into for for so thanks for watching this video. Thanks to Jeff beard stank the polymorph for helping me out with this. If you enjoyed this video, you can thank my patreon subscribers for making a possible. If you really enjoyed this video you can join them over my patreon, but if you can't do that, that's fine. Just like subscribe share this video with your friends. That's good enough for me. I'll see you next time.


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