Pronunciation: SIN-kuh-PAY-shun

What is Syncopation?

Syncopation is a musical term that describes a disturbance of the regular flow of rhythm in a musical performance or piece. It involves a deliberate upsetting of the pulse of a composition, temporarily shifting the accent to a weak beat when a strong beat is assumed.

Key Takeaways

  1. Syncopation is a musical term that describes the interruption of the regular flow of rhythm.
  2. Syncopation is commonly used in jazz and modern dance music.
  3. Syncopation is the deliberate interruption of a rhythmic direction to produce an off-beat and exciting sound.

Understanding Syncopation

It is most commonly found in jazz music, where the use of rhythm and beats in unexpected ways are used to create a piece of more exciting and finger-snapping music. Syncopation makes a musical piece more off-beat, such as when a musician gives a rhythmic beat a silence where a stressed note is expected.

Syncopation is also commonly seen in modern dance music but it has been used by composers like Bach and Mozart, as it had become prominent in the 1400s.

Related Terms

Ostinato Ostinato is a musical figure defined as a motif or phrase that is repeated persistently in a musical composition. more

Cut Time Cut time is a time signature that’s also known as Alle Breve, or cut common time. more

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