Groove Dis­place­ment (part VI)

Dis­plac­ing a groove back within the bar Erik Stams www.erik­


Wel­come to the sixth in­stal­ment in our se­ries of groove dis­place­ment lessons. This month we will be dis­plac­ing a groove back­wards within the bar by a sin­gle eighth note. For those just join­ing us, rhyth­mic

dis­place­ment oc­curs when a back­beat, a rhyth­mic phrase, mo­tif or even an en­tire bar of a groove is per­formed in an un­ex­pected place, of­ten on the off­beat. This is an ef­fec­tive way of cre­at­ing ten­sion and syn­co­pa­tion within the mu­sic. By shift­ing an en­tire rhyth­mic phrase by a sin­gle eighth note we can cre­ate ex­cit­ing rhyth­mic ef­fects. The un­trained ear will of­ten hear the first bass drum note of these dis­placed phrases as the new ‘one’, al­though it is ac­tu­ally the ‘&’ of beat four. Prac­tice these rhyth­mic Rhythm de­vices - Rhythm286 against a -286 metronome.

All of the ex­am­ples in this les­son are dis­placed ‘back’ within the bar by a sin­gle eighth note, putting the snare back­beats on the ‘&’ of beat one and the ‘&’ of beat three. This is dif­fer­ent to the pre­vi­ous lessons in that the groove is shifted back­wards in the bar, rather than for­wards. Play the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples over a steady quar­ter-note pulse. Al­though these rhythms may not ap­pear to be tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing, sound af­fects co­or­di­na­tion, mak­ing dis­placed grooves dif­fi­cult to play in time. Count out loud while you prac­tise.

Ex­am­ple 1a il­lus­trates a sim­ple groove with a fa­mil­iar bass drum pa­tern. Ex 1b shows the same groove dis­placed back by an eighth note. No­tice how the first bass drum note (nor­mally on ERIK beat ‘one’) STAMSERIK is now - STAMS on the ‘&’ - of beat four. Exs 2a and 2b in­tro­duce a more syn­co­pated bass drum pat­tern. Ex 3 in­tro­duces 16th notes on the bass drum, adding to the syn­co­pa­tion. Exs 4, 5 and 6 show dif­fer­ent ride lines that can be ap­plied to the pre­vi­ous dis­place­ment ex­er­cises. The stepped hi-hat pat­tern in the video is purely for ref­er­ence. As men­tioned in pre­vi­ous lessons, this rhyth­mic de­vice can be dis­rup­tive and ought to be used spar­ingly. Try prac­tis­ing these con­cepts with a bass player or rhythm sec­tion in or­der to fully un­der­stand how they work in a mu­si­cal con­text.

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