The Upbeat

 Hear how accenting the upbeat impacts on your music

In the previous lesson you heard the bass drum playing the upbeat just after the 2, the and of 2, for a specific effect. This accent on the upbeat comes from African polyrhythms and makes your music a whole more interesting. You can identify these strong upbeats by counting, foot tapping etc but the best way is just to hear them in action, become familiar with the effect that they have and try to incorprate them into your playing.

Start by listening to the funky boogie thing from earlier.

  • The cowbells play a 4 bar pattern, the early part is a mix of downbeats and syncopated upbeats while the last bar is a series of hits all on upbeats
  • Listen closely to the drum track in the breaks and you'll hear rim shots playing upbeats and the ocasional open hi-hat as well.
  • The guitar leads out of the first drum break with a bunch of upbeats that contrasts with the rock groove when the bass come back in.

With a lot of strong upbeats in the rhythm track the guitar can use it sparingly for effect. When playing with a track like this don't try to consciously hit upbeats, just listen for the groove and hit one every now and then. Eventually you'll come to know the impact it'll have and it'll come out naturally.

Tap your foot with the audio track and try to clap on some upbeats.