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We’ve been learning a lot about the music theory behind pop music lately, most prominently in Owen Pallett’s ongoing essay series. But another place to learn about the nuts and bolts of your favorite songs is NPR’s ongoing series Rhythm Section. The latest episode deals with polyrhythms — “think of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time,” the intro explains. The segment features the National’s Bryce Dessner explaining the four-over-three rhythmic pattern behind the Boxer hit “Fake Empire.” Far from being a staid academic exercise, it’s actually a fun and enlightening listen. Check it out below.

Pass the goddamn butter!

[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.]

Comments (2)
  1. So much better than the deconstruction of the musical theory behind Lady Gaga’s work — “It’s SO simple and SO obvious that it’s genius.”

    Also the drummer from The National has to be the best working rock drummer around.

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