Guitar 101 - Mastering Rhythm & Syncopation, Part 4: More Fun with Triplets and Hemiola

In part 3 we learned how to count and play eighth-note triplets (three evenly-spaced notes per beat). We also learned how to use a rhythmic device called hemiola to create ear-tickling syncopation effects. As you recall, we took a short, repeating pattern of eighth notes and made it sound more interesting and quirky by changing the rhythm to eighth-note triplets. Doing this caused the pattern to begin at a different place in the measure each time it's repeated (rhythmic displacement). We then used this same approach to transform a repeating pattern of four 16th notes into a psychedelic, circular lick by again changing the rhythm to eighth-note triplets. In this lesson I'm going to show you more slick hemiola tricks that will help expand your phrasing vocabulary and bolster your rhythmic skills at the same time. But first we need to cover two more commonly used triplet rhythms.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.