The implementation of micro and polyrhythm in modern music

by assistant professor, Kenneth Dahl Knudsen

Swing, baiao, malfuf and bembe are all names of styles derived from the oldest tradition that we have in music….. the tradition of rhythm.
Rhythm can simply be described as at least 2 events moving through time, and yet it has found its way to numerous variants all over the world. The rhythms that originate in African music does not sound the same as the ones born on the northern hemisphere.
This study investigates how rhythm traditions and newer concepts from all over the world can be used in contemporary music.
Maths and history are both important components of this study, and through those we can obtain knowledge on the origins and the future of rhythm.

– Analysis of the micro rhythm aspect in various rhythmic traditions, and how it has moved across borders through time.
– Categorizing polyrhythms and the various methods used to obtain them
– Interviews with pioneers on the field
– A study on “Morph time”

–  A book containing examples of poly- and microrhytms with associated exercises
– Video teaching material on a web-based platform integrated with social media.

Incorporating polyrhythms into common practice of scales and arpeggios will enhance the musician’s ability to improvise and maneuver freely across barlines and in odd time signatures.
Polyrhythm is a phenomenon that is deeply integrated in many different musical cultures around the globe. It is rooted in musical practice but can be explained and understood by mathematical models.

Understanding the micro rhythm aspect will provide skills to phrase music on a personal level and furthermore it is linked with the understanding of musical traditions. Knowledge from anthropology is an important prerequisite in the study of micro rhythm.

Morph time
Combining poly and micro rhythms enables the musician to morph musical phrasing and move in and out of meters and tempos.
Morph time is possible when combining poly and micro rhythm. Polyrhythm determines the new pulse, and microrhythm the phrasing.

See Kenneth Dahl Knudsens poster presented at RAMA Research Seminar April 24th 2020