Mix it up – Moving into syncopation

Mixing it up: Playing On The Beat And Off The Beat

By Mattie O'Boyle

A cool way to ease into syncopation

In this week’s blog, we are going to explore a quick way to practice hearing, feeling and playing musical phrases that fall both on the beat and off the beat. This is the doorway into syncopation – a crucial layer of rhythmic complexity found in so many styles of music.

What is syncopation?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, syncopation is a temporary displacement of the regular metrical accent in music caused typically by stressing the weak beat.

However, I wouldn’t worry too much about word definitions. They only serve to talk about music, and you should be focusing on playing music. Therefore, you should spend your time using the right tools to go further faster.

Let’s dig deeper.

We can use either the Melody App, Microtone App or the Harmony app to practice playing both on and off the beat. The set up is the same in all of them. I’ll walk you through it in the screen cast below.

Remember, whenever you add a new target variable to your ear training workout, you should should slow down the metronome and start with just a few pitches – in this case, we’ll start with just pone pitch so we can zero in on the underlying rhythmic structure. Then we can slowly add more speed and then more pitches.

Warning – I find these dictations very hypnotic!

Mixing it up: Playing on the beat and off the beat

Go further, faster to achieve your music goals.

Try all of our ear training resources and accelerate your music learning journey. Get your 15 day free trial right now. Instant Access, No Risk.