Cut and Paste Rhythmic Phrases

Following the description from the intro chapter, in this part of advanced section we will move further and show how a rhythmic phrase can be built by cutting and pasting parts from other rhythmic phrases. Such a combination may neither be described by a simple superposition of additive and divisive components nor by beat sequence repetitions.

The rhythmic structure of those phrases can be explained by deconstruction of basic or advanced rhythmic phrases. In the first step we separate the phrase to two half-phrases (two measures). Every such measure can then be combined with any other measure obtained by splitting another phrase to create a new phrase out of two different half-phrases. As most of the time separation at the measure boundary will not be aligned with initial 2(3) beat groups or beat sequences, resulting phrase cannot be described as a polyrhythmic combination or beat sequences, yet they still bear the feel of the original basic phrases. We may proceed even further into the deconstruction and even separate measures to 4-beat rhythmic patterns as they are introduced in Musical Components section.

Since for advanced phrases simple polyrhythmic description is not possible we will drop out additive 2(3) + ... phrase descriptions and stick to Bossa Nova Guitar numbering scheme only. As the number of possible combinations of 4-beat rhythmic patterns is quite large, in order to keep the number of rhythmic phrases under reasonable limits we need to cut down the number of phrase descriptions.

The first reduction relates to the treatment of patterns 2 and 3 when they appear on the even main beats (the second number in half-phrase description, eg. 12, 32, etc.). As we have already seen in the Basic Phrases section, pattern 3 may be regarded as a transformation of pattern 2 by the syncopation of the succeeding main beat. The phrases containing those patterns feel similar, only when 3 is used instead of 2 the phrase feels a bit more syncopated. We will introduce here a change in the nomenclature, that is we will substitute numbers 2 and 3 in phrase description with letter 'x'. For example phrases 4244 and 4344 will be considered to be the same and labeled as 4x44. Furthermore, we will also consider phrases played in reverse to be the same and will not treat them separately, e.g. phrases 4x44 and 444x will be considered the same phrase.

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