Wikis > Glossary > Syncopation

Syncopation is the placement of rhythm on an irregular beat that is not considered to be “strong.” It is significant in that it defies the natural musical expectation that listeners may have when paying attention to a piece; essentially, it is an example of how our mind sets up rhythmic schemes from both nature and nurture that can be violated.

In one of my drum method books, appropriately entitled “Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer,” (by Ted Reed), this concept of syncopation is described as occurring “when a temporary displacement of the regular metrical accent occurs, causing the emphasis to shift from a strong accent to a weak accent.” In other words, syncopation occurs when the music emphasizes a beat that is not usually stressed by the natural pulse of the meter. (Zach Simao)