I'm working on an arrangement that has a Reggae PreChorus moving into a Rock beat similar to what's known as a "Half-Time Beat". Now my problem is moving from the swing feel of the reggae to the straight feel of the rock beat. How can this be done? If someone knows any song that tackles the same problem i have please post it in your answer. Thank You!

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    Do you mean how to play it, or how to notate it?
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 19:45

2 Answers 2


Trivially, you can just instruct the musicians to play with a straight feel at the chorus, and the musicians will just do that.

I suppose you're probably wondering how to make that transition seem less abrupt. One way is to make the transition happen in the measure before the chorus begins, so that we are already in a straight feel at the downbeat. Another is to have only quarter-note rhythms leading up to the transition, so that the feel might be ambiguous in that last moment before the transition.

You don't have to smooth out the transition, though. An abrupt feel change can be a nice dramatic touch.

Here's the first example I could think of (He Is Legend - Alley Cat):

The bridge is triplet swing, and the chorus is straight 8ths/16ths. You can hear that there is a straight-8ths drum fill leading into the little prechorus, rather than having the feel change exactly on the downbeat.

Here is another example (Papa Roach- Scars):

Very swung verse, straight chorus. They use the same technique- there's a straight drum fill leading into the chorus.

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    (After reading the answers, I'll make mine a comment.) One method of smoothing transitions is to have the bass line anticipate a change. (Not always applicable, of course.) The bass may shift from a 4-quarter note pattern to an 8-eighth note walking bass; this is common in big band swing and foxtrot m music. There are other possibilities; tango arrangements tend to use many bass patterns; these can be used to signal transitions. The listener knows that "something" is happing but not necessarily what. I see something similar has already been suggested.
    – ttw
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 0:18

The basic beat - 4 in the bar - remains the same, be it swing, Reggae or simple straight. It's the split of each beat that changes.

Simplest way would be to have a drum break at the end of one section, for just a bar, in the new feel. That means everyone (except the drummer!) has one bar to get into the new groove.. Or, drummer again, doing a half-bar simple roll in the new rhythm round the drums to bring in the new beat.

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