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Harmonica Lessons: 3 Against 2

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Three against two.
Now, I'm not talking about a fight where
there's three guys fighting against
two guys.
I'm talking about what's
called a polyrhythm.
Now, a polyrhythm means there's more
than one rhythm going on at a time.
Three against two,
means that there's a rhythm in three and
a rhythm in two happening
at the same time.
So if I were to tap it out on the top of
my Steinway here and one hand is going
one two, one, two and the other hand
is going one, two, three one two three.
The combination of the two
sounds would sound like this.
[SOUND] And eat your spinach,
eat you spinach
is the little melodic device
that people have for it.
So the composite is [SOUND] but
the real thing that's going on is
there's two rhythms crossing each other.
One is going one, two,
three, one, two, three.
And the other one's going one,
two, one, two.
And the reason why three against two is
an important thing is that it's a basic
component of swing,
because when you're playing a shuffle or.
You're in one,
two, three, four.
But the harmonica itself, the rhythm
that you're playing is in triplets.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
Even though I'm only going,
[SOUND] I'm playing, basically,
the first two beats of a triplet and
then the last one.
And for soloing.
It's swinging and
I am exaggerating it
a little bit right now,
I am playing it a little slower
than someone would really solo.
and when this music is written out,
like for jazz musicians,
they don't write out triplets.
They just write out eighth notes, but
it's implied that you're swinging.
So one of the things I tell people to
do is to snap their finger on two and
four and try to do this.
hit your chest.
But here's something I'd like to introduce
you to is playing three against two,
where you're playing
the three on the harmonica and
the two with your hand.
So, if I'm going.
Two, one.
One two, one, two, three.
One, two, three.
So if you verbalize it, if you actually
pronounce what your gonna do first.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
If you see my hands here,
one of them's going, one, two, one two.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
That takes some coordination and
then you can also try it the other way.
One, two, one, two.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
One, two, three.
But what I'd like you to do, if you can
do that, that's always a good thing, but
I'd like you to do with a harmonica is to
play the one, two, three on the harmonica.
two of them
One of them is.
It's draw, blow, draw, blow, draw, blow.
You can alternate it with the shuffle.
And then instead
of just going, [SOUND]
I'm double-tonguing
each of those.
I made
a mistake
It just shows that this isn't necessarily
the easiest thing to learn how to do.
But to actually put this rhythm into your
body is really, really important to have,
either snapping a finger or taping your
chest and then do it with the other hand.
And this will get you a more embodied
sense of rhythm when
you're playing a shuffle,
because this is kind of
what's underlying a shuffle
is this basic tension
of three against two.
And I'm also walking with my feet
right now, you can't see my feet, but
I'm going right, left, right, left.
And my feet
are walking in time.
[SOUND] So these are really, really
good exercises to practice and you can,
of course, do them standing and you can
actually walk around and do this too.
You don't have to even walk in place.
It's a great feeling to include
the harmonica as a kind of overall
increasing awareness of rhythm,
because this is a rhythmic instrument as
well as a quartal and
a melodic instrument.
Hope you enjoyed that.