Syncopation is our occupation. The backbeat, which can be academically defined as the stressing of beats 2 and 4, typically on the snare drum, is synonymous with the definition of syncopation, shifting the emphasis from accenting the typically strong downbeat pulse to the typically weaker upbeat. The pendulum-like balance of the downbeat/backbeat continuum is less regimented in feel with an emphasis on the backbeat, instilling the urge to dance rather than march.

Chapter 6 - Contemporary Backbeat Grooves

Practice Tips & Applications

Know Your Beat

The Ostinato Studies in this chapter focus on layering the subdivisions of the Standard and Syncopated Standard Timetables, in a variety of voicings, to standard 8/8 and 12/8 meter beat ostinatos, as applied in 4/4 time, over a solid 1 and 3 on the bass drum and consistent snare drum backbeat on beats 2 and 4. The Modulation Studies compress or expand a standard beat over subdivisions both common and uncommon to its general use, creating a sonic distortion that is the aural equivalent of “seeing the beat in a fun-house mirror.”

Video Demonstration 1, Improve Your Groove, Part 2 – contains this chapter’s Standard & Syncopated Subdivision variations of the Progressions for Hi-Hat/Ride Cymbal in 4/4Time, as seen on pg. 77, as well as expanding the the musical timekeeping concepts of the Elastic Subdivisions introduced in Chapter 4 .

Video Demonstration 2, Applying Polyrhythms to Contemporary Backbeat Ostinatos – explores this chapter’s Standard Subdivision variations of the 8/8 & 12/8 Pulse Progressions for Single/Double Bass Drum, as seen on pgs. 72 & 74, respectively, which incorporate the Polyrhythms of 3:2 & 4:3, as outlined in Chapter 5.

Video Demonstration 3, Cross Referencing Chapter Studies, interprets a single musical motive used throughout the book, spotlighting the Pataflafla/Brazilian “Jazz Samba” Variation as seen in Theme & Variation IV: Flam Rudiments with Afro/Latin Beat Influence on pg. 98.

Video Demonstration 4, Cross Referencing II, interprets Single Paradiddle variations used throughout the book, spotlighting both a Classic Rock groove, incorporating example E2, on hi-hat, from pg. 32 of the Counterpoint Ostinato Options, and a Modulation Studies example from the Paradiddle Funk Groove Progressions on pg. 93.