James Hester: Metric modulation – part I


Tutor: James Hester     Level: Intermediate


By using our previous polyrhythmic groove ideas we can develop the ability to employ some metric modulation ideas. The key here is to use the polyrhythm as a ‘link’ between the original pattern and the modulation. It’s going to be important to be able to count the quarter notes over the top of these to gain a clear and solid foundation in time.


Example 1

The first groove is a straight eighth-note triplet groove. Make sure you count a solid and consistent quarter note pulse over the top. Play this as many times as you need to before moving onto example two.

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Example 2

This is where we introduce the polyrhythm, shifting the bass drum to a three pulse over the four quarter notes. Initially begin by continuing to count the original quarter-note pulse. When you become comfortable with this, switch to counting the new six quarter notes that are written underneath the stave.

Hester dots Iss116.mus

Example 3

In this example, we remove the original pulse that we had in example one (where the pulse was grouped into three eighth-note triplets) and shift so the pulse is grouped into two eighth-note triplets. This will make the six-note count feel solid and consistent and you have made the final jump to the modulation.

Hester dots Iss116.mus


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