Thursday, August 26, 2004


Syncopation is "the momentary contradiction of the prevailing meter." (The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th Edition. Editor- Don Randel) It is commonly found in the music of Beethoven of all people. Syncopation is mostly in the musical genres (other than Beethoven) of ragtime, blues and jazz. Syncopation can occur in several different ways depending on the wants and needs of the composer (of course). "Syncopation may be created by the types of note-values themselves, by accentuation, articulation, melodic contour, or harmonic change in the context of an otherwise unsyncopated succession of note-values." (The Harvard Dictionary of Music) Syncopation is the defining characteristic of ragtime.

Syncopation can also be described as "rhythmic figures that stress normally weak beats." (Tonal Harmony, 5th Edition. Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne) So for instance if the "off-beat" (like the "and" of beat 2 or whatever) is stressed, it is syncopated.