Polyphonic ring tones are features for any cellular phone released in 2005.

The meaning is simple – the older cellphones could only have one voice on the ringtones. Now they have many voices.

You can apply the poly- prefix to another part of music and get nice results. I like [polyrhythms].

Polyrhythm is the simultaneous sounding of two or more independent rhythms.

Wikipedia also has some midi files for the auditory learner:

Here are some more contemporary examples:

  • Tool uses a 4 against 3 polyrhythm at the end of their song [AEnema].
  • Arcade Fire uses a 6 against 4/4 against 6 towards the end of their song [Crown]. Actually, Matt may be able to explain some more of what’s going on in this song… Comment?

I’d have some audio samples for this post, but my machine is still on the rocks.

Here are some close ones, but not quite polyrhythms:

  • System of a Down, Innervision – almost a 4:3, except it’s in 4/4.
  • Staind, For You – almost a 2:3, except it’s in 4/4.

Trying to tap out Polyrhythms is something that’s pretty difficult for normal people. It’s a good time waster, though. It took me years to get 4:3 and 2:3.


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