Hey everyone

I was hoping on of you regulars could give me a rundown of synchopation. What it is, how to use it, benefits, the whole debangle.

Thanks
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.

Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
Syncopation is playing off beat. If you're in standard 4/4 and you're just playing, tapping your foot every beat, the beats are (if you're including the eigtht note):

``````
Tapping of le foot:
V = Down
^ = up

V ^ V ^ V ^ V ^
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
``````

Repeat. If you play a chord/hit a cymbal every number, you're on beat. That's the exact opposite of syncopation. Play the +'s and you're off beat. You're syncopated.

Or you could break it down even more and play the sixteenth note, and even more complicated stuff.

Here's a little excerpt of a really good song (Pi, the Mercury God of Infinity):

The drums themselves are syncopated (partly). The crash cymbal is on the numbered beats, the "1, 2, 3, 4". The snare is on every "2".

The bass drum is doing pi. Yes. The insane never-ending mathematical figure.

The syncopation comes from the china. It's not on a beat in any way, shape, or form (unless you're in like... 35/16 or something really awkward). It beats every dotted eighth note, starting on the sixteenth note after the "1".

If eighth notes are shown as "1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +" we're going to use "e" for the first and "a" for the third as our sixteenth notes. Making it "1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e +a 4 e + a". The china is on every dotted eighth remember? This is what it would look like:

1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a

Colored letters/numbers are the china.
That's a really good, syncopated, song.

For application, I use it just whenever I feel like it. If you're into metal, it's good for breakdowns, and if you're into other things, it makes rhythms very interesting. If done, correctly, (in my eyes) you shouldn't be able to keep your foot tapping to it, or you should be tapping it to the wrong beat under leisurely listening. I usually use it because I like how different it sounds. It's a good break from the straight "1, 2, 3, 4" pattern for me.

Anything I missed?
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jan 29, 2009,
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Syncopation is playing off beat.

Synchopation is accenting the off beat. I could play on all four beats in 4/4 but if I accented the off beats enough then it would be synchopation.

Think about it, to be able to accent the off beat something has to be playing on the beat, otherwise the off beat would just become the on beat in the listeners minds.

Synchopation often makes your piece sound a lot more jazzy. I don't have time (read:cba) to give tons of examples so I'll just give the two most common types that occur in 4/4.

The first type is accenting every other beat starting on the second one. So if the red beats are the ones being accented it would look like this:
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

The second type is to accent the quaver note between beats. This would look like this:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

The easiest way to accent the necessary notes is to not play on the other ones but this requires something to be played on the beat (eg. another instrument or the tapping of your foot) but this other thing must not be, for lack of a better word, noticable.
Quote by 12345abcd3
Synchopation is accenting the off beat. I could play on all four beats in 4/4 but if I accented the off beats enough then it would be synchopation.

Haha yeah... my mistake. Accented... not just playing.
Quote by 12345abcd3
Be helpful or don't post at all.

I was just pointing out that google works wonders before asking a question, then if you're confused you can ask.
Quote by Souls United
I was just pointing out that google works wonders before asking a question, then if you're confused you can ask.

Then say that in the first post.
Quote by 12345abcd3
Then say that in the first post.

Syncopation is a type of irregular rhythm.

It has 2 characteristics (if it follows any of those 2 it becomes syncopation)

1-When the weak part of the rhythm extends to a strong or semistrong part.
2-When the sound that falls on a semistrong part of the rhythm extends to a strong part.
2-When a weak part of the subdivision of the unit of time extends to a strong part.

2-It means that if a sound starts in a weak part of the rhythm (beats 2 or 4 in 4/4 for instance) and extends to the semistrong part (3rd beat) or strong part (1st beat), then it is syncopation.
3-It means that if you have for instance 8 eight notes in a bar of 4/4, but you "tie" (don't know the english term) the second 8th note of every beat to the first 8th note of the next beat, you get syncopation too because the 2nd 8th note of every beat represents the "weak part of the subdivision of the unit of time", which in this case extends to a strong part (1st 8th note).
This can be the same with 16th notes, tie the 2nd 16th note of a beat to the 3rd, then tie the 4th 16th note of the same beat to the 1st 16th note of the next beat, etc, the 2nd and 4th parts are the "weak" ones, and the 1st or 3rd parts the "strong" parts...
Thank you, I think I get it now. As for the google comment, yes I could google it, but then I would get a whole slew of bull**** information along with the right stuff when I could just come here and get it from people that I know know what they are talking about.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.

Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
Quote by The_Sophist
Thank you, I think I get it now. As for the google comment, yes I could google it, but then I would get a whole slew of bull**** information along with the right stuff when I could just come here and get it from people that I know know what they are talking about.

Actually, a lot of times it's kind of the opposite.....

Wikipedia usually comes up as one of the first results and it's almost always helpful, whereas there's usually people on here who don't really know what they're talking about (along with those that do).
Quote by The_Sophist
Thank you, I think I get it now. As for the google comment, yes I could google it, but then I would get a whole slew of bull**** information along with the right stuff when I could just come here and get it from people that I know know what they are talking about.

So you COULD google it, but instead you decided to ask here and wait for an answer when you COULD have gotten one a lot sooner.

That's like waiting half an hour for the bus when you could just take a ten minute walk to get to where you're going.

OH NOES!!! Theowy is scawY!!!
Last edited by allislost at Jan 30, 2009,
Quote by Jordan987
Actually, a lot of times it's kind of the opposite.....

Wikipedia usually comes up as one of the first results and it's almost always helpful, whereas there's usually people on here who don't really know what they're talking about (along with those that do).
Wikipedia is edited by wikipedians. These people are just as qualified as UG'ers. Not many people actually edit wikipedia articles. Whereas on UG, if someone gets something wrong a million people jump down their throats.
``````        ,
|\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
*-|-*    (_)     `-’
|
L.``````
Quote by demonofthenight
Wikipedia is edited by wikipedians. These people are just as qualified as UG'ers. Not many people actually edit wikipedia articles. Whereas on UG, if someone gets something wrong a million people jump down their throats.

One time I edited a totally obscure page (I think it was the page for Lemurs lol) with some BS to see what would happen and it was changed back within a day. They're freakin hardcore
Quote by Jordan987
One time I edited a totally obscure page (I think it was the page for Lemurs lol) with some BS to see what would happen and it was changed back within a day. They're freakin hardcore
You've never picked a fight with me, Sue or Arch have you?
``````        ,
|\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
*-|-*    (_)     `-’
|
L.``````
Quote by Jordan987
One time I edited a totally obscure page (I think it was the page for Lemurs lol) with some BS to see what would happen and it was changed back within a day. They're freakin hardcore

That's not even close to hardcore, that means there was a full day with the wrong information on there because someone got bored. Not a resource I'd like to use thanks.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.

Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
I've seen a page edited in less than fifteen minutes to the right thing. It just all depends on how known about the page is. If it's obscure, then it'll take longer.

I've seen one edited by the time I refreshed the page (my friend changed the currency of turkey to goats so much the page got locked ).
Anything I missed?

That's polymetrics, much more complex (or not ). You're right that that's a kind of syncopation but god knows that's not the simplest way to describe it.

Syncopation is basically accenting off the beat. It can be as simple as a couple of 16th note hits. It doesn't have to sound "odd" to be syncopated, it's a really common device.
Quote by Freepower
That's polymetrics, much more complex (or not ). You're right that that's a kind of syncopation but god knows that's not the simplest way to describe it.

Syncopation is basically accenting off the beat. It can be as simple as a couple of 16th note hits. It doesn't have to sound "odd" to be syncopated, it's a really common device.

Haha, sorry xD I guess i'm so in love with that song that every time I think of syncopated that song jumps into my mind immediately.