Julia Rowley, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Theory teacher & Author Music Lessons Four Oaks Sutton Coldfield


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Jazz music

Syncopation


"A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges." Benny Green


Syncopation is the rhythmic effect that happens when the accent is moved from the strong beat to one which would normally be a weak or off beat.

Often syncopation is associated with African music and American Jazz music, and it is indeed an essential element of Jazz. It is also fundamental to funk, ska, reggae, ragtime, rap, jump blues, progressive electronic dance music, and progressive rock. But it has been an element of music since the Middle Ages and also appears in classical music.

As a characteristic element in Jazz in the early 20th century in USA, syncopation was developed by many performers, especially in Jazz, Blues and ragtime genres. It has been argued that the development of syncopation is the biggest contribution the United States has made to the art of music.

There are different syncopation patterns which can be used. Here are two common ones in Jazz and blues..

anticipation of beats 1 and 3 in 4/4 time. Here the accent falls a beat earlier and gives a strong forward motion in the rhythm. (2+ and 4+)

anticipation of beats 2 and 4 in 4/4 time. Here the accent falls a beat after 1 and 3 and gives a strong backward motion in the rhythm. (1+ and 3+) They produce a holding back of the rhythm.


Taken from Hofnote newsletter


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