poly·​rhythm | \ ˈpä-lē-ˌri-t͟həm How to pronounce polyrhythm (audio) \

Definition of polyrhythm

: the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in music

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Other Words from polyrhythm

polyrhythmic \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈrit͟h-​mik How to pronounce polyrhythmic (audio) \ adjective
polyrhythmically \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈrit͟h-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce polyrhythmically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of polyrhythm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The instrumental rockers still pack a punch through core musical ingredients, including electric guitar, bass, drums and saxophone, to produce otherworldly polyrhythms. Washington Post, "12 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 12 Mar. 2020 What hasn’t changed is the group’s penchant for Caribbean polyrhythms, Afrobeats and Latin-American melodies. John Ochoa, Billboard, "Billboard Dance Fall 2019 Music Guide: 15 Must-Hear Releases From Major Lazer, Gryffin, Dillon Francis & More," 23 Sep. 2019 Backed by funky polyrhythms from Dyson’s sticks, saxophonist Khari Lee blew a serpentine alto solo. Dan Emerson, Twin Cities, "For a night, the Uptown Jazz Orchestra brings Big Easy vibe to Fridley," 16 Oct. 2019 But Ode was again a wild card, working yet another polyrhythm of such power that even as Croker was playing beautiful, vibratoless romances, the drummer’s back-line improvisation was more interesting. Michael J. West, Washington Post, "Theo Croker and his band prove that jazz has a healthy heartbeat," 19 Sep. 2019 The interesting thing here is that the polyrhythms found in traditional music are fundamentally different than the general 4/4 beat of Western music. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Moroccan Label Head Driss Bennis on How the Country's Emerging Electronic Scene Is 'Subconsciously Influenced by Our Roots'," 12 Sep. 2019 There are more layers of vocal melody, more percussion, more polyrhythm, more direct connections to the guitars and horns of African pop, more languages among the lyrics and, of course, enormous soul and annunciatory power in Ms. Kidjo’s voice. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "The Playlist: Kanye West’s Breakout Star 070 Shake, and 10 More New Songs," 8 June 2018 But for her own productions, Ms. Borges mixes these childhood influences with polyrhythms, frantic beats, air horns and elements of genres like trance, European techno, Afro-house and American R&B. Her drums thwack like a bucking bronco. Kate Hutchinson, New York Times, "Nídia Is Bringing the Sound of Lisbon’s Ghettos to the World," 14 June 2018 Like juju, the style popularized by King Sunny Adé, fuji was originally built upon an embarrassment of pulsing polyrhythms shaped on kit drums, congas, bells, shakers, and talking drums, without much else beyond hectoring call-and-response singing. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Acclaimed master of Nigerian fuji music King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal comes to Square Roots Festival," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polyrhythm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of polyrhythm

1908, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for polyrhythm

Time Traveler

The first known use of polyrhythm was in 1908

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Cite this Entry

“Polyrhythm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyrhythm. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on polyrhythm

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polyrhythm

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