Using of polymetric phrases in the soloing.

This lesson is about using of polymetric phrases in the soloing.

Polymetric means two or more rhythms with different meter going on at the same time in the same tempo. In improvisation it means that you can play phrases in a different rhythmic meter from what the song has. If we talk about 16th notes of a 4/4 time signature you normally divide them up into groups of four. If you instead playing or accentuating in groups of five the phrases becomes slightly offset.

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As you´ll see in the polymetric example above the emphasis is coming slightly offset in the five 16 notes groupings against the four 16 notes groupings and this allows the rhythm to create a tension in the phrase. Furthermore, one can, for example divide phrases with any kind of groupings against any other kind of groupings .

Below there are some phrases I´ve done to show how they can sound. I also show them in the video lesson.

Here´s an accentuated phrase in groups of five 16th note:

The next accentuated phrase is in groups of seven 16th note:

...and next accentuated phrase is in groups of nine 16th note:

Here´s a lick in groups of seven 16th note:

These are examples of mine but you can create your own phrases in the same way. When you have done a phrase you should practice it to a backing track to get the feel of the phrase. After some time with practicing this you will find yourself playing polymetric phrases as a natural thing in your solos.

For me it´s inspiring to play and work with polymetrics. It´s important in the practicing to play in context so you learn to keep the timing to the tune that´s playing. Otherwise it´ll just be a thing you know and not can use in the real playing.

When playing these phrases against 16th notes in groups of 4 as I do in the lesson there are different polymeter going on and that creates a rhythmic tension in the phrases.

Advanced Improvisation Course

  Polymetric phrases


Copyright © Thomas Berglund, TeeBeeMusik

Improvisation Course


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Links to the lessons in the advanced improvisation course:


-Pentatonics "part 1"

-Pentatonics "part 2"

Chord comping

-Jazz chord playing "part 1"

-Chord playing

Outside playing

-Outside playing


-Alt. arp. to the maj7 chord

-Alt. arp. to the 7th chord

Chord solo

-Chord solo 1 - Bb Jazz Blues

-Chord solo 2 - 251 in major



Diminished Scale & Chord

-Diminished scale

Dominant Scales & Chords

-Dominant chord