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Is there a term for this?

Dave Horne

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:


In modern musical parlance, a hemiola is a metrical pattern in which two bars in triple time (3/2 or 3/4 for example) are articulated as if they were three bars in duple time (2/2 or 2/4).


The word hemiola derives from the Greek hemiolios, meaning "one and a half". It was originally used in music to refer to the frequency ratio 3:2; that is, the interval of a justly tuned perfect fifth.


Later, from around the 15th century, the word came to mean the use of three breves in a bar when the prevailing metrical scheme had two dotted breves in each bar. This usage was later extended to its modern sense of two bars in triple time articulated or phrased as if they were three bars in duple time.

Korg PA3X Pro 76 and Kronos 61, Roland G-70, Integra 7 and BK7-m, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, 1965 Gibson SG Standard
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  • 2 weeks later...

There are repetitions as filler, and repetitions for effect.. just about any good public speaker does this, assuming he wants the audience to actually remember anything!


If you listen to good improvisers or composers, they'll take an idea and repeat it to give continuity.. sometimes as a sequence or something. or just as a theme to come back to.. examples: good symphonies (often going from one instrument to another), Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Ravi Shankar... countless others.


That's not the same as guys who only have one or two ideas and repeat them ad nauseam! But people who just ramble on endlessly with no thematic development can be boring to listen to also! And that's probably the worst thing we can do as musicians: bore the audience!

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Originally posted by niacin:

I mean you're gonna ask the blues guitarist at the next jam ripping these out "hey man, what's that hemiolic ostinato you're playing there?". Yeh right.

Hmmmm...that does have a certain ring to it. Besides, we all know that the keyboardist is ipso facto the geekiest member of the band, lol.



"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face"

-Mike Tyson

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I translate medical (and other) documents for a living, and "hemiolic ostinato" sounds like a serious ailment to me!


I wonder the tests would be for it? Would it show up on a CAT scan, or a FRET scan, for us guitarists?


Can you get it removed, and if so, will it grow back again... only worse??

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