Definition of polyrhythm in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpäliˌriT͟Həm/ /ˈpɑlɪˌrɪðəm/


  • A rhythm which makes use of two or more different rhythms simultaneously.

    ‘traditional African music is celebrated for its complex polyrhythms’
    • ‘a mastery of tightly scored polyrhythm’
    • ‘Ligeti became obsessed by the complex polyrhythms and irregular multi-part vocalising of the pygmies, which became a great influence on his own work.’
    • ‘Then again, I probably wouldn't have been able to hear much ukulele over Johnson's overdriven polyrhythms and unusual Dorian modes.’
    • ‘Rather than seven different sections with five different riffs, four time-changes, and an unsettling morass of polyrhythms, Bellini hits you with only a few jagged, biting, hand-picked riffs.’
    • ‘Fela's songs evolved as jazzy jam sessions best appreciated with repeated listenings, but Femi's debut album, Shoki Shoki, leans toward rollicking, horn-driven funk with manic polyrhythms aimed directly at the dance floor.’
    • ‘They don't just groove, they swing hard, and the polyrhythms created by the layered drummers create a groove that is as steady as it is complex.’
    • ‘‘Typhoon’ ties all the elements into an expressionist's cloud - bright splashes and rough scratches, calls, Fernandez's elegiac guitar, heavy African polyrhythms and an incessantly looped vocal sample.’