Groove Displacement (part VI)
Displacing a groove back within the bar Erik Stams www.erikstams.co.uk
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.