I found this copy of Sloop John B online...
I wanted different line breaks so re-notated it.
But I changed the rhythm notation to use ties to the third beat...
What is the right way to notate these syncopations?
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Your notation is correct. When notating syncopation, the goal is to visually preserve the strong (part of the) beat. In 4/4 time, that means making clear where beats 1 and 3 lie, which your notation does and the "original" version does not.
It is standard practice to write 4/4 measures as if there was an invisible barline in the middle, forcing syncopation to be broken down to two 2/4 half-measures. (Excluding whole notes.) So your modified version is "better". It makes syncopation more explicitly visible if you're used to having things spoon-fed like that. ;) I'm sure you could get used to reading rhythms without everything being split to such small pieces.
The arguments of the other answers respecting the beats are all correct.
But there are exceptions like the example A and C of Laurence Payne which show a clear symmetric structure and also the group 3-3-2 notated by two dotted fourth are common. The goal is the readability of the notation and if we have a repeated rhythmic pattern 3-3-2 this notation is ok.
I don‘t think that any one has the competence to give rules about right or wrong. Rules in music are conventions and not laws and if they are convicting they become common used.