When I talk about polymeters in clinics and workshops it can garner some blank stares. It makes sense. Many drummers haven't spent much time thinking about or studying polymeters.
I'd like to give a simple explanation for you t begin thinking about. If we hit the concept from a few different angles it will not only click, but it will also start you on a path of study that will lead to a whole new territory of rhythmic possibilities. So let's take a quick look at the polymeter.
A polymeter is two or more meters happening at the same time. These meters share a common subdivision, so in essence, a polymeter is different groupings of the same note values being played alongside one another. For example, 3 sixteenth notes being played over and over at the same time as 4 sixteenth notes are being played over and over. They begin together, then grow further apart in their starting note until finally (3 beats later in this case) they re-align and...
If you haven't gotten to know my education style yet, you will soon discover that I love looking at the inner-workings of time, subdivisions, and coordination.
I want to show you an interesting exercise from my book, The Foundational Series. This exercise is fairly simple to understand but is a little tricky to actually do.
I was recently at the Chicago Drum Show and talked to quite a large handful of drummers from all different walks of the scene. Weekend warriors, professional players, educators, as well as students.
Over 90% of the people who tried this exercise, regardless of skill level, couldn't do it. Some stayed at the booth for over 20 minutes continuing to work on it (which I love seeing!).
I began using this exercise as a "litmus test" to determine where the person should start with my materials.
Here's a video of me explaining it in detail.