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Mixed meter madness

The trick to mixed meters is understanding what logical groups of 2 and 3 they divide into. In some rare cases, they may be groups of 4, or 1. So, in the case of 7/8, don't try and count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 real fast, find out what groups the composer is gravitating toward, i.e. 3,2,2 or 2,3,2 or 2,2,2,1

You'll see the intended groupings beamed together in most cases, and this is where the pulse is determined. Another key is to keep the underlying pulse in mind at all times. So, if it's 11/8, think 8th notes in your head. If it's 21/16, keep 16th notes in mind. Then it's just a matter of breaking that pulse into groups. You will find your foot tapping in unison with the groups, not the underlying pulse. Use this to internalize the strong groupings.

Another technique is to listen to really good mixed meter music like Radiohead, or in the jazz realm, Chris Speed, Chris Potter and John Zorn. Most Gypsy/Balkan music is in mixed meters, and this can serve as inspiration too.

If you need any further tips or tricks, let me know.
 
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