Rhythmical Displacements

Melodic Displacements

The following example uses 4 rhythmical displacements (eight note, quarter note and sixteenth note) . These rhythmical devices are used extensively in composition1 and improvisation. The following uses a basic example although only the eight note and quarter note displacements might be appropriate for beginner students.

rhythm displacement

Randomized Displacement With Different Exercise Options

Options a,b,c,d are played randomly with a 15% chance setting for option d, which can be considered the most difficult performance wise.

Also notice that:

  • the drum groove is 4 bars long and randomly plays 3 different variations
  • there are 2 possible drum fills, one with a 1 bar drum silence
  • the guitar part is 8 bars long with different rhythmical variations on E7#9.

This is a good example of the potential for spontaneous variation by using short, similar loops of different lengths.







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Based on this simple example many variations can be created. By muting the drums, the guitar or both the playback becomes a time keeping exercise. The quantize setting can be randomized and more advanced subdivision become imaginable e.g. transformations2 into other beat subdivisions (triplets, quintuplets, septuplets) and their respective displacements.


  1. E.g. Green Chimneys (Thelonious Monk), Green Spleen (Ari Hoenig) ↩︎

  2. cf. rhythmical sangatis p. 61 in Reina, R. (2017). Applying Karnatic Rhythmical Techniques to Western Music. Routledge ↩︎