Don't Get Stuck: Polyrhythms in Ableton Live
Put Life and Variation into Short Loops Using Polyrhythms
We've all been there. You've got a 4, 8 or 16 bar loop that you really like, but you can't figure out what to do next. I've been reading Making Music by Dennis DeSantis, and one of the tips in the book is to experiment with polyrhythms.
Polyrhythms are when two opposing rhythms are juxtaposed. For example, you might have a 4 bar loop and a 6 bar loop playing together. The different rhythms will interact with each other in interesting ways. Initially, the first bar of the 4 bar loop will play with the first bar of the 6 bar loop. The next time around the first bar of the 4 bar will play agains the fifth bar of the 6 bar loop. The third time, the first bar of the 4 bar loop will play with the third bar of the 6 bar loop. The fourth time, the loops will both play the first bar again. And that's just one way to do it, and it can get much more complicated.
Rather than lengthy explanations, check out the video below as I demonstrate how to add life to a 4 bar musical idea using polyrhythms.