The hemiola— also called the 3:2 polyrhythm– is a basic polyrhythm using layered even two and three note rhythms. What I’ve done here is outline some ways of building it, and begin relating it to some of its common forms in a variety of time signatures. There’s a lot of meter-shifting trickery going around these days, often as a somewhat crass effect, but that’s not what this is. It is actually a DNA instruction, a foundational part of all drumming with African origins, including all music using the drum set. Without it, American drumming would just be marches, two-beats, and ye olde four on the floor. In fact, when you hear a drummer sounding a little too squared-off in his approach, I believe it usually comes from lack of understanding of this concept.

I suggest repeating each measure of line 2 by itself as well- that didn’t make it into the final pdf for lack of space.

The idea is not to learn these as a lick, so I’ve specifically not given any complete drumset parts. Just play (and count) through the examples, using all combinations of limbs, and let it enter your playing “on background.” If you want to take them a little further, you could play them along with a simple one- or two-limb ostinato. It might also be worthwhile to experiment with accenting, or moving hands between sounds.

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