Rhythmic Harmony Part 2

Guest Blog by Finn

Music Geek Stuff

Today we will look at one of my favorite tools. The Baiou’ rhythm and its modes. Baiou’ is pronounced Bayonne (The spelling? Someone kept yelling ” I’ld like a vowel, Vanna”).

You’ll need paper and pencil for this one. This is Linear Harmony as opposed to Vertical Harmony.

Draw a square and divide it into 64 symmetrical parts. Number them down the left side 1 thru 8. Number the top this way: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4, because we will be working with, you guessed it, eighth notes. The top line will be marked with dots in square 1; 2 and a half (+ of 2) and 4.

If you go to line 2 (down one), you can make the same spacing but to the right one box: + 1; 3 and + of 4. Follow this idea on lines 3 thru 8 and you will have the The Modes of Baiou’, each time moving each dot by one box. It should look like connect-the-dots.

I recently used mode number 3 as a Hi-hat pattern for the first measure of a two measure phrase, putting beat 1 at the beginning of measure two.

Feel free to make a copy of what you have drawn to take advantage of the two measure phrase. Or make a four measure model and you will be glad you did once you see the possibilities.

But lets start by making two measure examples.

Think of the odd numbered lines as resolution and the even ones as tension.

Line 6 is interresting because the two off beats would tend to make it a tension line, but it has a nice big fat 1 that makes it usable as a resolution line if you combine it with any other tension line (I tried using a pie chart but I think you can guess how that ended up).

Write a ton of your own examples.

Just for kicks, take three lines of a tension line and make the fourth a resolution line.

Take any line and make it a mirror image of itself.

Take line one and a pair of scissors and group the beats in reverse.

Anything that is musically useful goes.

Have fun! But keep a straight jacket handy…

Can we help you in any way?

Rythmic Harmony

Guest Blog By Finn

Music Geek Stuff

Lets use the example of a bass drum and a kick drum part. Lets say I decide to match each note of the bass and the kick drum. This would be an example of Rhythmic Unison.

Now lets say I decide to add kick drum only to those bass notes that need extra weight (anchoring) or extra movement (momentum). This would be an example of Rhythmic Harmony.

The point is that unison can be useful at times, but in my work, Rhythmic Harmony usually gives me more bang for the buck.

If I overdo it, a bad harmony is created; the notes do not complement each other. If I use too few notes, it may lack energy.

Must The Kick Drum Notes Always Be Married To The Bass?

If my bass line covers only a measure and a half of a two bar phrase, does that mean the bass drum has to stop?

All of this is very simple , but it is best to start from a place of total clarirty if the concept is to work.

I recently finished a composition that uses a two measure kick drum pattern like this: 1; ‘and’ of 2; 4; ‘and’ of 1, and 3 (some of you may recognize this polyrythm). The ‘feel’ or through-line of the piece was a hi-hat of eighth notes accenting downbeats 1, 2, 3, and 4. So, how did I get these patterns, hi-hat and kick drum, to connect with each other?

After trying many ideas, I noticed that opening the hat on ‘and’ of 2 and closing on beat 3 gave me what I needed. The kick drum was already giving me all the beats in question; it was just a question of a balanced connection between the two.

I could have accented those beats on the hat, but the feel I wanted would have been compromised. Better in this case to use other instruments, including the bass, to create harmony. For me, the kick drum by itself did not do it. By putting the ‘and’ of 2 on the open hi-hat, the first measure was now connecting on 1; ‘and’ of 2, and 4, thus creating enough of a Rhythmic Harmony to connect the two patterns.

It comes down to avoiding two things: overstatement and understatement, and this varies from one harmony to the next.

Can we help you in any way?