Can't Follow The Beat? Just Add Butter

Drummer LaFrae Sci (seen here in a photo shoot for Tom Tom Magazine) says that even nonmusicians can benefit from learning to hear two rhythms at once. i i

hide captionDrummer LaFrae Sci (seen here in a photo shoot for Tom Tom Magazine) says that even nonmusicians can benefit from learning to hear two rhythms at once.

Meg Wachter/Tom Tom Magazine
Drummer LaFrae Sci (seen here in a photo shoot for Tom Tom Magazine) says that even nonmusicians can benefit from learning to hear two rhythms at once.

Drummer LaFrae Sci (seen here in a photo shoot for Tom Tom Magazine) says that even nonmusicians can benefit from learning to hear two rhythms at once.

Meg Wachter/Tom Tom Magazine

What is it about the rhythm of a song that grabs your ear? Odds are, it has something to do with your ability to tap your foot or move your body to the beat. But if you've ever heard a song whose beat you couldn't quite follow, you may have been hearing what's called a polyrhythm — the musical equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

To find out more about how polyrhythms work, NPR's Daoud Tyler-Ameen gets a lesson from drum teacher LaFrae Sci, jams with guitarist Bryce Dessner of The National and learns what butter has to do with making these slippery rhythms stick.

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