enter image description hereI have an assignment with a simple rhythm in 4/4 time. I am being asked to rewrite the rhythm as syncopated with one half beat before the start of the measure. I cant add a photo as it is too large to upload even with compression but the notes are as follows:

quarter, quarter, two eighths joined together, quarter

How would I syncopate this? I have tried reading around the concept but cant seem to grasp it. From what I can understand it is shifting the expected accent. In this case to the 2nd and 4th note

Any help would be appreciated

  • The part "one half beat (eight note) before the start of the measure" is important. Where would you place the notes if it said "one quarter beat before the start of the measure"? Where would you place the notes if it said "one half beat after the start of the measure?" Mar 12, 2021 at 11:00

2 Answers 2


Just so as to not COMPLETELY do your homework for you...

I've started with a slightly different original version. This is what I think they're asking you to do to it.

enter image description here


Syncopation is moving the emphasis of notes played. Normally, the first beat in a bar is more emphasised - slightly louder - than the rest, the third (in 4/4) being the next most emphasised. As in 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. By listening to how certain parts are emphasised, we can determine what time signature a piece has.

By putting that emphasis just before the new bar, and not actually having any emphasis at the beginning of the next, it throws things. Sometimes called a push note, as it pushes that emphasis early.

So in order to do that, there's a quaver (1/8 note) at the end of the previous bar, tied to the next note - usually a crotchet - at the beginning of the following bar. Now, the count is 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 & - (1) - 2 - 3 - 4.

As Laurence says, the 3rd beat can also be 'pushed', although the wording of the question doesn't necessarily expect that.

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