Robert Estrin - piano expert
Visit Robert's Website:

How to approach polyrhythms

An easy way to play 3 against 2, 3 against 4... or more!

Released on June 5, 2013

Share |
Post a comment, question or special request:
You may: Login as a Member  or  

Otherwise, fill the form below to post your comment:
Add your name below:

Add your email below: (to receive replies, will not be displayed or shared)

For verification purposes, please enter the word MUSIC in the field below

Virtuoso * VSM MEMBER * on October 26, 2014 @3:09 pm PST
Dear Robert,

Thanks a lot for posting this video. I have just started to work on the Fantasie Impromptu on the piano and was wondering if you could provide me with some tips to help me with the poly rhythms used in the piece. I am able to play each hand separately at their own beat, but I cannot co-ordinate the two hands when I play it. Thank you.
Patsy L.Free on June 6, 2013 @5:58 pm PST
I have trouble reading the notes above and below the lines (ledger notes) Any suggestions on how to automatically recognize them as easily as the notes on the lines.
Robert - host, on June 7, 2013 @7:49 pm PST
If you practice reading those notes you will become fluent with them eventually. Be sure to never write in the names of the notes or you will never learn them!
Nancy on June 5, 2013 @5:53 pm PST
Why don't you use 12 when you count 3 against 4?
The 3 comes in on 1 - 5 - 9 and the 4 comes in on 1 - 4 - 7 - 10
Thanks for you inspiration
Cleonice Nogueira on June 5, 2013 @4:07 pm PST
I don't speak english.I speak portuguese.I love piano and music.
Videos very good.
Judith Stijnis on June 5, 2013 @10:54 am PST
Thank you Robert
This is very helpful .
I shall try it.
wildekat on June 5, 2013 @8:02 am PST
Very helpful. Thanks!
Hi Robert,
I really thank you very much for your most valuable piano lessons !
You are an excellent teacher and you have been helping me to perfect my piano technique. Please never ever stop teaching !
Toya Harvey on June 5, 2013 @6:52 am PST
thank you for the polyrhthm video. Will try to put it into practice!!
joyce on June 5, 2013 @6:08 am PST
Love this approach to polyrhythms. For the younger children and for three against two I use the phrase 'nice up of tea' and it fits perfectly: Nice (r.h. & l.h) cup (r.h) of (l.h) tea (r.h).
Humberto Cruz on June 5, 2013 @5:53 am PST
Robert, thanks for the great suggestions on this polyrhythm question.
Using the same concept as in 2 vs. 3, can you think for the 3 vs. 4 in terms of a lowest common denominator of 12, and the 3 coming on the count of 1, 5 and 9, and the 4 coming on the count of 1, 4, 7 and 10?
At least the lowest common denominator approach can show the order and relative spacing of the notes between the right and left hands, which in this case would start together at the count of 1 and continue at the counts of 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10. Of course you would have to count very rapidly in your head, so this would be more of a "feel'' kind of thing than a count.
Robert - host, on June 5, 2013 @11:07 am PST
This is brilliant! I never realized that before, but you are absolutely right! However, unfortunately it's not of much use. You see, the subdivisions are so quick that you really can't get a feel for the rhythm by counting that fast. But thank you for the insight!
Questions? Problems? Contact Us.