Posts Tagged '7/8'

How to get into an odd-meter groove

Having trouble “feeling” odd rhythms like 9 and 11? Here are some suggestions I posted on this Banjo Hangout thread. Since it’s hard to communicate the beats in text, I’ll add “Intro to Odd Rhythms” to my video to-do list.

It’s all 2s and 3s

The main thing is to be able to hear and play the “quick” (2) and the “slow” (3). Everything is built on that.

For example, the 9 of Rampi Rampi could be felt as 2+2+2+3 and counted out as “1-2 1-2 1-2 1-2-3” with each number getting the same time value and with no pause between the clumps (chant robotically “1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 3”). You could also think of it as “quicka quicka quicka slow-and-a,” with each syllable getting the same emphasis and no punctuation at the end of the phrase.

Start with the big muscles

The way I got into odd rhythms was by dancing. So I started by moving mostly big muscle groups, which got the rhythm into my entire body. Then I progressed down to smaller muscles like those needed to play banjo.

So I usually recommend that you find some music in the rhythms that you like and to do something approaching dance, even if it’s just walking across the room by taking a step on each major beat. This will teach your body the difference between the 2 and 3. Continue reading ‘How to get into an odd-meter groove’

Betsy Likens in 7/8

A traditional old-time tune that I learned from Miles Krassen’s tab, but I play it here in 7/8. This version of 7 is counted 3+2+2 or “slow-and-a quick quick.” Played on my Gold Tone cello banjo.

You can find the original tab in Miles Krassen’s book Clawhammer Banjo.

Makedonsko Devojče

Traditional Macedonian song. It’s in 7/8 but don’t let that stop you.


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