Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 36

Jazz & Pop

It’s Got That Swing:
Lee Evans, Editor

Jazz & Pop
The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation

Lee Evans, Ed.D. is professor of music at NYC's Pace University. His most recent solo-piano publications for The FJH Music Company include the late beginner/early intermediate level Color Me Jazz, Books 1 and 2; Ole! Original Latin-American Dance Music; and Fiesta! Original Latin-American Piano Solos, both at the intermediate/upper intermediate level. Additionally, along with four co-authors, including Dr. James Lyke, Dr. Evans is a composer/author/arranger of Keyboard Fundamentals, 6th Edition (Stipes Publishing), a formerly two but now onevolume beginning piano method for adult beginners, to be published in March 2012.

n important aspect of rhythm (in any style of music) is the alternation of accented and unaccented musical elements. When the accented elements differ from what is expected, we have syncopation, an essential part of jazz. This article will examine two kinds of syncopation first outlined by Winthrop Sargeant in his pioneering 1938 work Jazz: Hot and Hybrid (Third enlarged edition, Da Capo Press, 1975).

A

D. Simple syncopation through dynamics (accent displacement):

E. Simple syncopation harmonizations:

through

Simple syncopation
In a measure of 4/4 meter in a non-jazz context, we expect the first and third beats to be stressed, and the second and fourth beats to be unstressed. In jazz, the heart of simple syncopation is the stressing of a normally weak beat (sometimes called an offbeat), weak part of a beat, or a lack of stress on a normally strong beat or strong part of a beat. Simple syncopation may be accomplished in the following ways, among others. A. Simple syncopation through anticipation of the beat:

In the example above, the harmonized notes on the normally weak beats (two and four) tend to be heard as notes of greater importance than the unharmonized ones that fall on the stronger beats (one and three). The resulting implied stress on the offbeats is therefore heard as accent displacement. The original composition (first page only), “Aunt Tissy,” is an example of simple syncopation through anticipation of the beat. All the anticipations are marked in the music (see Excerpt 1).

Polyrhythmic syncopation
Polyrhythm (sometimes called cross rhythm) is the simultaneous use of contrasting rhythms within the same meter. Here are some examples: A. Groups of three-note or three-beat phrases superimposed on 4/4 meter (see Example 1). B. Groups of notes having a duple pulse are played simultaneously with groups of notes having a triple pulse (see Example 2). C. A melody note (in this case C) appears at intervals of three pulses in a context of duple meter (see Example 3). D. Tones from normally strong beats are shifted to normally unstressed ones. Note that in the second measure the durational values are different from those in the first measure (see Example 4). In the original composition, “Friendly Enemies,” the right hand plays a triple pulse against the left hand’s duple pulse (see Excerpt 2).
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

B. Simple syncopation through note placement and durational value:

In the example above, the placement of the half note on the second beat constitutes a shift of stress from a strong beat (beat three) to a weak beat (beat two). C. Simple syncopation through delay of the beat:

36

CLAVIER COMPANION



Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Contents
Editor's Page: New discoveries
Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Tech Tips
First Looks: What Music Means To Me
New music reviews
CD & DVD reviews
News & Notes
Pupil Saver
Keyboard Kids' Companion
Advertiser Index
Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Contents
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Editor's Page: New discoveries
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 5
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 7
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 9
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 11
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 12
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 13
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 14
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 15
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 16
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 17
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 19
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 20
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 21
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 22
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 23
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 24
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 25
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 26
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 27
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 28
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 29
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 31
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 32
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 33
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 34
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 35
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 37
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 39
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 40
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 41
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 44
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 45
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Tech Tips
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 49
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - New music reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 52
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 53
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - CD & DVD reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 55
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - News & Notes
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Pupil Saver
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 58
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 59
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Keyboard Kids' Companion
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 61
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 63
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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