Syncopation is music which creates rhythmical variation. Examples would be:
- A stress (accent) on a beat not usually stressed.
- A rest where there would normally be a beat.
- Use of split-beats.
- Minute delays or advances in the timing of beats.
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.
Syncopation is used in many musical styles, and is fundamental in black-influenced styles such as Cuban music, funk, ska, reggae, ragtime, rap, jump blues, progressive rock, extreme metal, jazz, breakbeat, drum'n'bass and dubstep. "All dance music makes use of [syncopation] and it's often a vital element that helps tie the whole track together". In the form of a back beat, syncopation is used in virtually all popular music.
Syncopation has been an important element of musical composition since at least the Middle Ages. For some musical styles, such as jazz and ragtime, syncopation is an essential part of their character.
- Benward & Saker 2003. Music: in theory and practice, vol 1, p12. 7th ed. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
- Hoffman, Miles (1997). "Syncopation". National Symphony Orchestra. NPR. http://www.kennedy-center.org/nso/classicalmusiccompanion/syncopation.html. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- Snoman, Rick (2004). Dance music manual: toys, tools, and techniques, p44. ISBN 0240519159.
- Day, Holly and Pilhofer, Michael 2007. Music theory for dummies. 58-60. ISBN 0764578383.