Now that you got the basics down you can expand your palette a bit to gain a better understanding of music and rhythm. Try out some of these advanced rhythm concepts to further enhance your skill set.
1. Syncopation – This rhythm jumps one step further on the emphasis of beats giving a fresh energy and sound to tunes. Hemiolas and other syncopations share the the fact that they are emphasized off the beat.
2. Recurring patterns – Based on style, you can take music from different cultures and play them subtly or explicitly; once you understand this you will gain a better feel for the music. Afro-Cuban rhythm is the most famous style, but other Latin and African styles, such as Flamenco, fall in this category as well.
3. Swing feel – The first part of any beat has greater prominence than the ending. Steady 1/8 notes replace 1/4 eight notes in traditional beats. Tempos increase in these tunes and duration steadies out evolving into a more nuanced emphasis on notes being played.
4. Odd time signatures – Uncommon (vague) is the most common use for “odd time,” although every musician uses the term loosely and has a unique definition for it. Meters 5,7,9, and 10 and 11 are the most common here, where it seems mathematical at first, but an off beat rhythm eventually forms. Unlocking the right internal metrical pattern is key to getting this beat down.
5. Polymeters – Playing 3/4 and 4/4, or any other simultaneous meter, defines this style of rhythmic pattern.
6. Polyrhythms – This is defined by two simultaneous rhythms, such as a musician playing 1/8 notes while the other plays triple quarter notes. A single musician can also create this rhythm by playing both notes.
7. Tuplets beyond 3 – Triples (3:2 or 2:3) is something most musicians are familiar with. These however are written as 1/8 notes, or in some cases quarter notes. Some advanced tuplets include: 4:3, 5:4, 3:4, and so forth. These are played within a beat or across multiple beats.
8. Composite rhythm – This collective rhythm is played by an ensemble. A bass could play 1/2 notes while a snare drum plays 2 beats and 4 beats. This would form a composite rhythm made up of quarter notes.
9. Free rhythm – Based on personal sense of time, there are many free rhythms a musician can play. Rubato, meaning play the tempo, is a common rhythm pattern. Feather beaming on the other hand implies speeding up or slowing down 1/2 notes, while a burst simply implies playing a flurry of notes.
Practice regularly and learn these advanced rhythm concepts to further enhance your playing style. This ensures they come across as musical concepts, and not just mathematical beats you are putting together.