Ternary and Binary
12/July/2012 Filed in Tutorials
What is the difference between ternary and binary?
This is one of the questions I am most frequently asked. A rhythm is defined as binary when the beats are divided by multiple of two and ternary when divided by three.
Are three beats rhythms ternary or binary?
Number of beats and beats subdivision are unlinked properties. Four and three beats long rhythms can either be ternary or binary. Of my knowledge there is no binary three beats rhythm in traditional djembe music. I created one, named "Près de Lyon".
Some say certain rhythms are both ternary and binary.
This is where phrasing extent becomes obvious. Phrasing is a large subject I will probably address in future articles. The quick answer is: Speed affects phrasing. When starting Diagbe at a slow tempo for example, it should be played with swung semiquavers leading to straight semiquavers at medium and fast tempos.