Get Rhythm: All About Syncopation

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Syncopation is your secret portal to the world of intricate, complex rhythms that immediately add a spark of interest to the music they’re underlying. Since its inception, musicians from nearly every genre have dipped their toes into the syncopation pool, recognizing that great things happen when you play around with the beat of a song.

So, you are listening to a hot jazz trio or your favorite metal band when you notice that the beat seems to be jumping all over the place. While the band seems to know where they are going, you are wondering, “Where’s the beat?”

The chances are that the band has left the comfortable land of boring rhythmic structure and is journeying into the exciting musical world of syncopation.

Though these may be uncharted, intimidating waters, they’re well-worth exploring! The concept of syncopation is, at its core, a simple one. Besides, if you’re not careful, music without syncopation can become a rhythmic snoozefest.

Read on for your introduction to how syncopation affects the feel of music, how to develop your ear for it, and how to apply it to your instrument to create your own songs with syncopation. Then, try our syncopation exercises to practice what you’ve learned!

Once you’ve really understood syncopation, try incorporating it into your music, whatever your instrument! If you are a vocalist, make up your own rhythms and vocal lines using nonsense syllables, like jazz scat singing. If you play the violin or another orchestral instrument, mess around with adding notes to these Latin rhythms or the other score examples in this post.


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Get Rhythm: All About Syncopation