Shifting The Backbeat

By Wally Schnalle Originally Published In DRUM! Magazine's January 2009 Issue

Typically, if the bandleader yells, “Gimme more backbeat,” he’s looking for a louder 2 and 4. But backbeats aren’t always just on the 2 and 4. Whether I’m in an improvisational setting or in a compositional mode, I love to experiment with shifting the backbeat around. This can happen in a one-measure space, but I find the call-and-response quality you can create with melodies between the snare and bass work well in a two-measure environment. These are just a few examples to get you started, but you should experiment and come up with your own creations. Note that in each of the examples, one of the measures has a backbeat on the downbeat in contrast with the alternating measure. This helps to create tension and release when completing the cycle.

DRUM! Notation Guide

More Lessons