Syncopated Music

In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected which make an off-beat tune or piece of music. More simply, syncopation is a general term for a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm: a placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur.[1] Syncopation is used in many musical styles, and is fundamental in styles such as ragtime, jazz, jump blues, funk, reggae, Rap Music, progressive electronic dance music, progressive rock, progressive metal, breakbeat, drum'n'bass, samba, baião, ska, and dubstep. "All dance music makes use of syncopation and it's often a vital element that helps tie the whole track together".[2] In the form of a back beat, syncopation is used in virtually all contemporary popular music.

cf Buckaroo Banzai, Jazz (Jazz Band), Improv

cf Contrapuntal/Counterpoint, Polyphony

  • Marc Hannaford: It often puzzles me as to why more jazz pianists don't use their left hand in any other sort of way than in a "'comping" one. For all of the re-appreciation of pre be-bop era piano players that has been happening since the Marsalis movement, there are not many pianists who improvise and use the left hand for more than chordal accompaniment or the odd touch of a bass note or open fifth... Brad Mehldau is the obvious exception. Now there's a guy who can, and does, play equally well with both hands. Craig Taborn is someone else who comes to mind, but how many others are addressing this stagantion that seems to be happening in the history of jazz piano?! I would argue Keith Jarrett only ever explores polyphony in a serious way (and boy does it get serious: Dark Intervals anyone?) in a solo context. His trios, even his early, wilder ones, are still very much derivative of that post-impressionist/Bill Evans lineage. If you listen to Herbie Nichols (check out his solo on "The Third World"), Horace Silver (he's always playing those 3rds and 7ths like little counter-melodies), Ahmad Jamal, Andrew Hill or any other pianists who were intent of creating their own sound outside of that Bill Evans-Herbie Hancock-McCoy Tyner lineage you can here they have carried on Art Tatum/Bud Powell's conception of the LH as both an accompanying and melodic force. What happenned?
  • Neil Olmstead: This approach to improvisation amazed me when, in the 1970s, I first heard Lennie Tristano's "C Minor Complex" from The New Tristano LP. In that piece and on much of the album, Tristano's left hand plays unrelenting, driving bass lines, while his right hand plays fascinating, complex improvisations. Later, I heard Dave McKenna's deep, warm, swinging style on jazz standards as he played hip walking bass lines with his left hand. I became intrigued with refining my teaching of this method of playing and introduced a Berklee course called Contrapuntal Jazz Improvisation. I have codified its principles in a book just issued by Berklee Press called Solo Jazz Piano: The Linear Approach. It examines contrapuntal improvisation beginning with very simple motives and explores motivic development, metric modulation, and multivoice improvisation.

cf cool time signatures

my favorite music to listen to, and to play (band geek)

Is Jazz Dead?

Nov'2011: Nicholas Payton: Jazz died in 1959. The number one Jazz record is Miles DavisKind Of Blue. Dave Brubeck’s Time Out was released in 1959... Ornette Coleman tried to save Jazz from itself by taking the music back to its New Orleanian roots, but his efforts were too esoteric. Jazz died in 1959, that’s why Ornette tried to “Free Jazz” in 1960... I am a PostModern New Orleans musician. (cf bebop)

  • follow-up: When Black American Music became “JAZZ,” it separated itself from the American popular music idiom.

Oct'2012: 2012-10-25-JazzAndPopularMusic

Aug'2014: Django Gold's Sonny Rollins satire. I could sell this suit and this saxophone and get far away from here.

  • response from Sonny Rollins himself.
  • response from Django Gold.
  • Justin Moyer found jazz generically pleasing, but insubstantial and hard to grasp... Jazz needs a reset that doesn’t involve US3 or DigablePlanets, tame crossbreeds of jazz and Hip-Hop that briefly captured the popular imagination more than 20 years ago... This music has retreated from the nightclub to the academy. It is shielded from commercial failure by the American cultural-institutional complex, which hands out grants and degrees to people like me. Want to have a heated discussion about “Bitches Brew” or the upper partials ? White guys wielding brass in Manhattan and New England are ready to do battle.

Maybe it's the label that's dead, hence my return to the "syncopated music" label which captures the interestingness of Complexity.


Artists/Eras: (not trying to catch everyone - mix of historical names plus groups I think make "interesting" complex music) (also I use the date ranges I find most interesting, not the full range of artists' work)

Other favorites that I don't think I can call Syncopated

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