Talk:Polyrhythm

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3 over 2 Polyrhythms[edit]

3 over 2 polyrhythms are not symmetric. Why did you undo my edit? To play 3/2 polyrhythms as quater note, eighth, eighth, quater note is defiant of the basic principles of polyrhythmic technique. I'm going to undo the edit, if you wanna argue with me about it, you can do it here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.245.99.216 (talk) 23:15, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Maybe art need clearance is 2 over 3 and 3 over 2 different, and why. 178.36.8.150 (talk) 01:23, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Meshuggah[edit]

The death metal band Meshuggah also have complex polyrhythms in their music.

Not really. They're mostly dealing in polymetrics; odd-metered (like 11/16, 23/16 and 13/8 and so forth), repeating "cells" over 4/4, repeated x many times so they resolve over 4/4 (which the snare and crash/stack cymbals keep steady). Some pure polyrhythms here and there but not really complex at all.

Ah, but all polymetres are polyrhythmic! NcLean

They're not dealing in polytempo. Frank Zappa would be a much better example, or drummers like Pete Magadini and Virgil Donati.

It could be argued that Meshuggah isn't a DEATH metal band either, but that's sort of splitting hairs. I'd just write "metal band".

Go ahead and make the changes in the article :) Be bold! Dysprosia 07:18, 23 May 2004 (UTC)

Polyrhythm, polymetrics, cross-rhythm, hemiola[edit]

Polyrhythm can be used to describe several effects, not only the one described in the article. In fact, "polyrhythmic" means nothing more than "more than one rhythm at the same time". As such, virtually every polyphonic work can be called polyrhythmic. There are several polyrhythmic devices though. They can be divided into three groups. The first one is "n against m", which means that while one part plays n time units, the other part play m time unit (e.g. "3 against 2", which means triplets, 3:2). This is the effect described in the article. The second one is "n in (over) m", which means that both parts use the same time unit, but one of them accents them in groups of n, while the other uses groups of m units. Hemioles and cross-rhythms, as well as polymetrics are manifestations of this. The last group is that of rhythmic displacement, meaning that a rhythmic fragment is played at an "inappropriate" moment. African music frequently features several patterns starting at different points in relation to each other. Of course, effects from all 3 groups can be combined and cascaded.

FZ and Peter Magadini are excellent examples. A simple example is Eric Dolphy playing Monk's 'Epistrophy'. He often used a repeating Db-Ab-Db-Eb-Bb-Eb (making it 6/8) for the bass and piano. Over that was the melody in 4/4 played by bass clarinet (usually) and drums. An example you can do right now is: tap out 4/4 with your foot and 3/4 with your hand so that the four foot-taps and the 3 hand-taps take the same amount of time to do. Each measure (and each note group and/or sub-group if it's FZ) of each time signature must take the same time to complete or it isn't a polyrhythm. cliard@hotmail.com


Please Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks. Hyacinth 20:11, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
You also may want to look at the Hemiola article, which explains that "A hemiola is not an example of a polyrhythm." As this article clarifies, a polyrhythm is the "simultaneous sounding of two or more independent rhythms" not successive sounding, as in a hemiola. Hyacinth 20:26, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Order of rhythms[edit]

please note: I have reversed the order of the rhythms in the exmples, placing the "quick" beats on the top, and the "slow" beats on the bottom. This is to allow people trying to learn these polyrhythms visually to associate which rhythm is played on which hand, and more easily distinguish the beat. If you find, however, that this a more difficult way of learning, please feel free to change things back.

   Well, you should realize that this article isn't merely for snare drummers, and that many non-handed instruments use these techniques too.  Though I doubt it matters in any form which table goes on top.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.245.99.216 (talk) 23:27, 7 September 2010 (UTC) 

--DrumMan 18:37, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Cultural bias[edit]

I find it exceedingly curious that, in an article on polyrhythm, the first musician cited is Frank Zappa. Keep in mind that, hands down, the most rhythmically complex music known is commonly considered by musicologists to be West African. (The next, IMO, is likely the ragas of India.) It seems that some appropriate mention of the cultural context of the phenomenon is in order here -- perhaps a mention of how European classical music is, and much of Western music (before African/African-American influence) was, heavily linear and flat/unsyncopated. And how on earth one could mention Zappa and not, say, Babatunde Olatunji is absolutely absurd. deeceevoice 12:21, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Since no one else saw fit to add anything about the true origins of polyrhythmic musical expression in Western music, I did so. It's outrageous to mention Zappa and white musicians and no mention of the source, Africa. Someone might also want to mention the ragas of India, where the sounds of the tabla correspond to spoken sounds. deeceevoice 02:04, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
It's true that most European classical music is linear and unsyncopated, bit I think that statements such as "By contrast, most traditional European music has a flat linearity" don't mean much without a jargon decoder. Can someone please rephrase this? NcLean 13th September 2006

[The most likely reason that Mr. Zappa's name was mentioned first as a user of polyrhythms (see article above) is that this is an encyclopaedia. The purpose of the articles here is explanation. Most readers will be more familiar with Western music than with that from other areas of the world. Mr. Zappa frequently played rock music - a particularly popular type. Thus, while perhaps not musicologically correct, it is didactically correct to use music that is as familiar as possible to readers as a source of examples. cliard@hotmail.com]

This isn't a teaching device. It is an encyclopedia, a reference work. Frankly, the reason the article mentioned Zappa first is that a white person likely wrote it, and far too many white people are only familiar with white people and what white people do. And that means that people of color are excluded, with the result being a eurocentric worldview and works like this "encyclopedia" that are tragically lacking in content related to contributions of people of color to world history and civilization. Wikipedia should not pander to such ignorance, but seek to replace not knowing with knowing. Certainly, as a reference that is supposed to be worldwide in scope, your suggested approach, which is to take the narrowest possible approach is utterly indefensible and, some might conclude, racist -- if not by design, certainly in effect; it is exclusionary. And that is unacceptable. deeceevoice 07:15, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I disagree, Deecevoice. If an encyclopedia doesn't inherently teach, then why should it exist in the first place? You had a problem with the article, and you contributed, thank you. I certainly see, agree with, and appreciate many of your points. But I also think that cliard's point is also valid. Even as a "person of color" myself, what I find offensive, and frankly ridiculous, is that you want to accuse contributors as being "racist." Look--if you have a problem with an article, then contribute and fix it. Don't get on your perceived soapbox and start accusing people of things that are not necessarily true.
Here's one thing to think about in your complaints about a "Eurocentric" viewpoint in music. It is the Eurocentric theory of music that created the label of "polyrhythm" to begin with. The Africans did not have that term. It just was for them, correct? So the whole reason why we even have this entry in Wikipedia is because of Eurocentric music theory. The European desire to study the mechanics of music, which originates long before you or I, is why we as a community are having this discussion on polyrhythm at all. You are also displaying a bias when you proclaim that Africa is the "true origins of polyrhythmic musical expression in Western music." As I mentioned in a previous post under "Bias against classical music," there are overlooked European examples of polyrhythm that are being neglected such as the French ars subtilior. I do not think that the French in this era had much knowledge of African polyrhythms to use as creative inspiration. So like I said, thank you for your contribution. It is both informative and educational, which is what an encyclopedia and Wikipedia should be. B0cean (talk) 14:37, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Last four paragraphs of first section[edit]

The last four paragraphs of the first section (beginning with "Every time a beat is introduced possessing a metronomical correlation to the faster portion of the polyrhythmic interval...") do nothing but confuse me - they are completely unclear and read to me as almost deliberately obfuscated. The phrasing and diction is unnecessarily complex. Are there any objections to removing these paragraphs? 24.21.60.255 03:36, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

For the record, that was me - I forgot to sign in first. cfallin|(talk) 03:36, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Great[edit]

the how to is great! David G Brault 03:40, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Bias against classical music[edit]

I find it hard to believe that the European classical tradition (for want of a better term) is almost completely overlooked in this article. I am particularly puzzled by the (unsourced) statement that 'Traditional West African music is considered by musicologists to be the most rhythmically complex music in the world'. Also suspect is the statement that 'European classical music, although generally less percussive than other musical genres, makes use of polyrhythms as a contrastive device' (as if rhythm were an exclusively percussive phenomenon!). Apart from two marginal figures (Cowell and Nancarrow) no mention is made of 20th classical composers in the article, yet the polyrhythms of Elliot Carter's String Quartets far exceed anything found in West African Music, Jazz or progressive metal. The most rhythmically complex music in existence without question (since this is something that can be decided empirically) belongs to composers of the New Complexity School, such as Bryan Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissey, etc. Furthermore, the polyrhythms in pieces by these composers often involve a single player, rather than a group (for example, Ferneyhough's piano piece 'Lemma-Icon-Epigram', which has many passages of inhumanly complex polyrhythmy, at the very borders of playability). Christopher Melen 06:56, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

"The most rhythmically complex music in existence without question (since this is something that can be decided empirically) belongs to composers of the New Complexity School, such as Bryan Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissey, etc"
try listening to some breakcore/drill'n'bass some time. 65.81.149.73 12:50, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm very familiar with it. It's a bit silly getting into into a slanging match on 'which is the most complicated music', but if you read music then take a look at this [[1]]. Christopher Melen 03:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Your URL is a dead link. Please update. Would love to see what you have. --B0cean (talk) 04:48, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I deleted the sentence, "Traditional West African music is considered by musicologists to be the most rhythmically complex music in the world." Without a source, it doesn't really belong, as there are other styles of very rhythmically complex music. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.180.231.27 (talk)

I think these comments about European vs. African music are gravely missing the point. In West African music, polyrhythm is part of the basic music vocabulary, and has been so for a very long time. The basic musical forms taught to beginning musicians are usually accompaniment parts of polyrythmic ensemble pieces. Polyrhythm, quite simply, is an African Music 101 topic.

In Western classical music, polyrhythm really is a fringe curiosity, and when it shows up, it is treated as an advanced topic. The nature of the argument I'm responding to is evidence of that: the commenters are arguing that the most complex musical pieces in the world are specific Western classical pieces, by composers who seem to have set out to create just that. Look at the bulk of the musical tradition, however, and the picture is different.

There's also the fact that citing 20th century classical composers as an example is problematic on other grounds—20th century European art has in many cases looked to African arts for inspiration (e.g., Picasso). I don't know whether that's the case for each of the composers cited, but my point is that the examples need more detail than what's provided. 63.80.102.4 (talk) 19:59, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Spot-on. Co-signing. My point(s) precisely! ;) deeceevoice (talk) 12:20, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

"I think these comments about European vs. African music are gravely missing the point. In West African music, polyrhythm is part of the basic music vocabulary, and has been so for a very long time. The basic musical forms taught to beginning musicians are usually accompaniment parts of polyrythmic ensemble pieces. Polyrhythm, quite simply, is an African Music 101 topic.

In Western classical music, polyrhythm really is a fringe curiosity, and when it shows up, it is treated as an advanced topic. The nature of the argument I'm responding to is evidence of that: the commenters are arguing that the most complex musical pieces in the world are specific Western classical pieces, by composers who seem to have set out to create just that. Look at the bulk of the musical tradition, however, and the picture is different.

There's also the fact that citing 20th century classical composers as an example is problematic on other grounds—20th century European art has in many cases looked to African arts for inspiration (e.g., Picasso). I don't know whether that's the case for each of the composers cited, but my point is that the examples need more detail than what's provided."

You must be dreaming. :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.159.94.4 (talk) 10:22, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Still, the article appears to overlook the role of polyrhythm in Western European music - e.g. listen to some dance music from the 15th or 16th century. Rp (talk) 07:39, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

I find it ironic that this topic is a WikiProject Classical Music when it only gives a token amount of material about Western classical music. Along with other 20th c. composers already mentioned elsewhere that are excluded from this article (Carter, Ives, Stravinsky, etc.), what should also be included is the post-Machaut 14th c. French ars subtilior that had complex polyrhythm and is very difficult to read and perform. --B0cean (talk) 04:50, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Proposed restructuring[edit]

This article has a lot of good things in it, but I think the "Usage and history" section is a bit of a jumble. I'd like to propose reorganising it for three reasons: one, to improve the flow and make clearer separations between polyrhythm and its uses in different traditions; two, to help address some of the "cultural bias" issues mentioned by others; three, to make the article more amenable to future expansion. Here's a suggested outline:

West African Music (1st two paragraphs of current version)

Popular Music (subsequent paragraphs)

Western Classical Music (Renaissance usage into 20th century classical)

For this last section, the earliest example of which I'm aware is Christopher Tye's "infamous" Sit Fast -- is anyone aware of others? I would also mention John Baldwine, Elway Bevin, Anthony Holborne, and Peeter Phillips, all of whom delighted in polyrhythms in their surviving œuvre. I'm unsure how to bridge the gulf between the Tudor flowering of rhythmically complex pieces, and those arising from 20th century experimentalism... or if there are other examples contemporaneous with but outside of the English Renaissance. Hopefully the composers mentioned will provide a good start on which to expand. Thoughts? Chang E 16:33, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Good suggestions. With regard to (at least partially) bridging that gulf one would have to mention Schummann and Brahms, composers who were rhythmically very experimental (lots of polyrhythms in the music of both composers). But of course the mediaeval and early Renaissance periods employed very complex rhythms, polymetres, etc - so there's lots to talk about there (Dufay, Ockeghem, et al). But the twentieth century needs extensive treatment, I think. I mean, how can an article on polyrhythm effectively ignore composers such as Ives, Messiaen, Carter, Ferneyhough, etc? Christopher Melen 09:58, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

And don't forget Stravinsky, Bartók and Hindemith. --B0cean (talk) 04:35, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

These comments were made in 2007 -- that usage and history section remains an utter mess. There has got to be some rhyme or reason to including particular performers or songs there. As it is, anyone who thinks a band they like has a sound that sounds 'polyrhythmic' just sticks it in there and you've got an incoherent jumble —Preceding unsigned comment added by 120.16.180.101 (talk) 11:01, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

This will probably never be quality. Exactly the sort of subject where wikipedia's weaknesses show through the most. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 120.16.180.101 (talk) 11:06, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Removed this paragraph[edit]

[I have just reinseted this paragraph as the gentleman below said I am free to do. I have read Mr. Magadini's material, seen him play live, and can attest to his existence as a musician and one who should me mentioned in this section:]

"Two recognized methods for teaching and learning Polyrhythms were written by drummer/percussionist and educator Peter Magadini in the late 20th century. The first ( for all musicians ) " Polyrhythm The Musicians Guide" ( originally published by Bob Yeager and Try Publishing ) now with: Hal Leonard Publishing USA and " Polyrhythms for the Drumset" with: Alfred Publishing USA. Both works are published and in print or contact" cliard@hotmail.com

Two recognized methods for teaching and learning Polyrhythms were written by drummer/percussionist and educator Peter Magadini in the late 20th century. The first ( for all musicians ) " Polyrhythm The Musicians Guide" ( originally published by Bob Yeager and Try Publishing ) now with: Hal Leonard Publishing USA and " Polyrhythms for the Drumset" with: Alfred Publishing USA.

Both works are published and in print or contact : http://www.petermagadini.com

I removed this paragraph as it seemed suspiciously spammy to me... followed the history back and found that it was the user's only contribution[2]. If I've jumped the gun and this is really useful content, please feel free to add it again. Alexforcefive 22:09, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Rewrite Article[edit]

Clearly, there is misuse of terminology and bias in the article. Do we have any Ethnomusicologists and Music Theorists willing to collaborate and rewrite? It really should be done, b/c this article really gets at the messiness and (likely unintentional) misinformation that Wikipedia is really most famous for. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.20.129.255 (talk) 13:55, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. There are a number of discussions in this article that have nothing to do with music. cliard@hotmail.com —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.232.71.154 (talk) 23:56, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Babatunde Olatunji Drums of Passion.jpg[edit]

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Labels wrong on box notations?[edit]

I think the 2 vs 3 and 3 vs 4 box diagrams are labeled the wrong ways round aren't they? Isn't the 2 rhythm the rhythm having 2 beats in the measure and the 3 rhythm the one having 3? Rather than the 2 and 3 denoting the number of common subdivisions per beat? 213.68.15.100 (talk) 17:14, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Labels on boxes incorrect[edit]

The labels on the boxes showing polyrhythms (using the X notation) for 2 against 3 & 3 against 4 need to be switched. I took the liberty of reversing them, in addition to all passages referring to them for clarification (3 aginst 4 changed to 4 against 3, etc.). 76.235.13.115 (talk) 14:49, 4 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.235.13.115 (talk) 14:42, 4 October 2008 (UTC)


also the 4vs 3 is wrong it is:

== 4 rythem x 2 3 4 x 2 3 4 x 2 3 4 x 3 rythem x 2 3 x 2 3 x 2 3 x 2 3 x == —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.145.36.97 (talk) 18:44, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Southern Italian Folk Music[edit]

Mostly unknown outside the very provincial and remote regions of southern Italy, the southern Italian music, particularly that found in the region of Calabria, Campania, and Sicily is very heavy in polyrhythm. I'm mainly referencing the dance tunes played on the zampogna (bagpipe) and organetto (diatonic folk accordian) and accompanied by the tamborello (tambourine). Listen to the first few videos on this page to understand what I'm talking about: http://usonu.blogspot.com/. My question is whether or not there is room in this article to include this or is it too obscure of a tradition unlike African polyrhythm and Frank Zappa? I would be willing to write something up on this for the article but I don't have the technological ability to link to sources - all of which are in the Italian language. There is very little info on this area of music in the English language. I just happen to be an expert on it ;) But from an ethnomusicological perspective I think it is very appealing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zampognaro (talkcontribs) 23:57, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Piano Phase[edit]

Anybody else think Piano Phase by Steve Reich would be a great example of how polyrhythm can exhibit emergent properties depending on the precise resonance of the individual rhythms? FusionKnight (talk) 18:14, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Britten "War Requiem" III. Movement "Offertorium"[edit]

Does anyone remember Brittens War Requiem? I think this is a very good example of polyrhythm. I've even sung this myself attending a choir roughly 20 years ago, and we had a hard time to stay in rhythm in the 3rd movement because the soloists constantly tried to distract us (but they had to, because it was in the score that way, so ... ;)) What I especially mean is the "Hostias et preces" "boys'" choir part, where the Great Orchestra had a completely different rhythm than the following which the choir had (6/8; occasionally time change to 9/8) and would irregularly INTERRUPT the choir with their arythmic singing. Weird part. -andy 92.229.179.194 (talk) 22:49, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Spelling[edit]

Why isn't it spelt "polyrrhythm", with rrh as in other Greek compound words (arrhythmia, gonorrhea, hemorrhoids)?

Presumably the well established English prefix "poly-" and root word "rhythm", as opposed to the nonexistent "hemor-" and "rhoid". Hyacinth (talk) 06:13, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Because it is not a loan word from revived Attic Greek, where πολυρρυθμός/polyrrhythmos has indeed -rrh- (the rule being that in compound words ῥ/rh (etymologically from Proto-Greek σρ/sr) becomes ῤῥ/rrh after a short vowel; e.g.: αἱμο+ρροΐδες vs. ἀνω+ροή "upflow"), but instead it is a Neolatin construction based on Greek roots (poly+rhythmus). In Neolatin, the ῥ rule does not apply; confer Eurynorhynchus, instead of *Eurynorrhynchus. --Omnipaedista (talk) 20:06, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

King Crimson[edit]

I know that on the King Crimson album "Discipline" they use polyrhythms (e.g. "Frame by Frame", "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and "Discipline"), but what kind of polyrhythms are they? Or how are they "officially" polyhythms? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.180.147.183 (talk) 09:46, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Great Article[edit]

Thx guys, expecially for the reference to the Dave Penalosa book.

I added some info on Schillinger's theory of rhythm, which I think looks gives an interesting perspective on rhythm, meter and polyrhythm. Actually, from Schillinger's interference perspective, 2:1 could be seen as the simplest "polyrhythm" with a resulting "accent pattern" (for example, 8th notes with every other one accented). Now make that 4:2:1 and you got the accent pattern or meter of one bar of 2/4. Make it 8:4:2:1 and you got the accent pattern of one bar of 4/4. That would sort of unify the "theory of cross rhythms" with the theory of "meter" - which was one of Schillinger's aims, a "general theory of rhythm". Maybe that perspective can help clear up some of the (sometimes confusing) terminology that western music theorists have come up with for rhythm. --Thewolf37 (talk) 12:32, 20 May 2011 (UTC)


"It is with even greater confidence that 'syncopations' or 'downbeat anticipations' are quoted as typically 'black' musical traits. Now, if we were talking about the polyrhythm of many West and central Sudanic musics, this would be understandable, because I know of no European musics using rhythmical structures like a metric unit of, say, twenty-four sub-beats being consistently used to produce a complex of simultaneous metres like 3/8, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 (and possible additive asymmetric subdivisions of these) on top of each other."

What does it mean? Is it true that no European musics using rhythmical structures like a metric unit of, say, twenty-four sub-beats being consistently used to produce a complex of simultaneous metres like 3/8, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 (and possible additive asymmetric subdivisions of these) on top of each other? This is sounds funny because I've been heard various European music play polyrhythms that much complex than any African polyrhythms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.13.34.247 (talk) 12:37, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Cultural understanding of polyrthyms[edit]

... needs work. It's currently an autobiography. More references would be good as well - does anyone know any related sources apart from Ladzekpo? Hyarmendacil (talk) 08:13, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

It does seem less than optimal to quote Ladzekpo's writings off of his webpage. However, his online articles are some of the best writings on the subject. Those articles are quoted in the most informative books on African music. I am surprised to find no published works (Ladzekpo has retired from writing) that do a better, or more thorough job than Ladzekpo in explaining the cultural significance of polyrhythm in sub-Saharan societies. The only thing I've come across is a paragraph by Meki Nzewi ("Social-Dramatic Implications of Performance-Composition in Igbo Music" International Musicological Society (1977: 39)) quoted in Kofi Agawu's Representing African Music; Postcolonial Notes, Queries, Positions (2003; 92,93). Agawu then compares Ladzekpo's and Nzewi's view of cross-rhythm: "Nzewi conveys the internal dynamism of the interacting parts while Ladzekpo insists on a hierarchic explanation. Both authors imply that the threat to a correct explanation comes from rampant atomisation of what is in effect a holistic practice." There are a couple of the quoted Nzewi sentences that might be useful. Is the main problem with the Ladzekpo blockquote that it's too large, and/or his references to himself?Dr clave (talk) 03:37, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Carol of the Bells reference in article[edit]

"One of the best known examples of a 3 against 2 polyrhythm is the Ukrainian Bell Carol, 'Carol of the Bells'."

This is wrong on three levels. First, as I state in Talk in the Carol of the Bells article, I think it is dubious to claim that the ostinato is, in fact, a polyrhythm. The origins of the song belongs to the Ukrainian text syllabification. I would like to see the research that allows this claim.

Second, for it to be polyrhythmic, there needs to be more than one part (as per definition) to create the polyrhythm character. So the third note of the four-note motive would need to have the feel of an accented beat. But in the "Carol of the Bells," it is not. The emphasized beat, as in most non-jazz 3/4 meter pieces, is on beat 1 and only beat 1. In other words, you would have to say/sing the English lyrics like this for it to have polyrhythmic qualities: HARK hark THE bells. However it is correctly performed (vocally and instrumentally) like this: HARK hark the bells (NO emphasis on "the"). Based on this, "Carol of the Bells" cannot even be used as a memorable phrase to learn a 3 vs. 2 pattern. (And the article just above this talks about "emphasizing.")

Lastly, I think the phrase "the best known" is exaggerated. In the many theory classes I have attended in three university degrees that has discussed polyrhythm, "Carol of the Bells" was never used as an example nor even mentioned. Yes, that's anecdotal, but since my profession (choral conducting) is a major performer of this piece, you would think that if this was THE "best known" example of 3 vs. 2 polyrhythm, we would have known it by now.

I'm deleting the sentence. --B0cean (talk) 06:55, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

I was extremely confused (more than I've ever been on an encyclopedia page) with the Carl of the Bells reference. I went over it in my head for a while and couldn't understand what it was getting at. Not only is it arguably not a polyrhythm, but it is so badly explained I could not even understand why it might be considered one! I searched on google and found nothing relating to 'composite polyrhythms'. I think the whole section should be deleted or explained more thoroughly. 72.230.117.65 (talk) 21:31, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

In fine arts section[edit]

I'm not sure if this section is accurate, as it is unsourced and I can't find any information about the subject. Regardless of its accuracy, I feel it would be more appropriate at the end of the article, or in a separate article entirely. Redeyeglasses 20:56, 18 December 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Redeyeglasses (talkcontribs)

Romantic era classical music, and notation[edit]

It's a bit odd that no mention is made of, for example Arthur Sullivan, who wrote dozens of polyrhythmic songs. Also, the romantic-era method of writing polyrhythm as, for example,, marking one bar 9/8 and another 3/4 (Night has spread her pall, The Yeomen of the Guard), or many other variations, isn't even touched upon in the article. Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:29, 24 July 2013 (UTC)