Rhythmic displacement

Perhaps the most common method of variation in popular music is rhythmic displacement, where the motif is moved to different beats in a bar, keeping the motif’s rhythmic structure intact.

Example 31
example 31

If the motif is moved by a quaver, the accented and unaccented beats will shift, and the motif’s rhythmic character will change to the extent that it will be difficult to recognize the original motif.

Example 32
example 32

Now practice rhythmic displacement by singing rhythms with a metronome. First write down a motif and sing it; then sing the same motif shifted forward by a crotchet. Next, sing the original motif and then the same motif shifted by two crotchets, and so on.

Example 33
example 33

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When you get more skilled, produce motifs of your own. Use your imagination. Don’t forget to move the original motif to different beats in a bar. You can work with different motifs and then go back to the first one.