Musicarta Beat and Rhythm Workbook
Snake Dance Series

Syncopating the Left Hand

This last stage in the Snake Dance build-up is the most challenging. Watch the performance video so you know what your goal is.

With the help of the performance video and the MS in your workbook, you may be able to play the syncopated version straight away. If not, watch the teaching video segments for practice suggestions.

The Build-up

The 'syncopated' left hand

All that happens is the left hand accompaniment changes from continuous to syncopated – one left hand little finger (LH5) in the bar doesn’t play.

Tapping the first phrase

We simplify the hands-together task by learning a 'gappy left hand' version first.

This means that the tapping pattern for the first phrase in the performance changes to:

R  R  T  L  R  L  T

Tap that out on your desktop. You can abandon the rhythm altogether until the TLR sequence feels natural.

Then put the notes in.

The second phrase

Now practice the second phrase with the new left hand. Tap the rhythm first.

R  R  T  T  R  T  T

Here's the second phrase, repeating.

Filling the gaps

To graduate to continuous left hand, you have to understand what happens in the between-phrases bars, and get used to the R-T-T movement.

Now put the other left hand thumb note back in and practice, repeating continuously. (You can practice the run-ups for Line 3 in the same way.)

Notice how the right hand phrase run-ups start in the gap in the left hand.

Line Three

There are right hand notes on every beat in Line 3, so your tapping pattern is simpler.

You can practice the Line Three phrases separately first, or with a little break between them, if you wish.

Being able to tap and play all these practice fragments separately is indispensable if you are to enjoy playing the variations which follow.

Playing individual elements of a complicated rhythm at will, or starting at a different point in the pattern, is a much sounder basis for progress than just getting through by luck or trial and error a few times.    

The final version

So, you have arrived at the final, 'basic' version. This is the one you're going to use to practice advanced syncopation, so get it well bedded down!

It's actually quite an achievement for most players, so give yourself a pat on the back and, as soon as you feel like a further challenge, start working through the variations in the navigation pane, top right.

Start with the Crossed Hands variations.


The Beat & Rhythm Workbook
~ ~ ~ ~
The Snake Dance

The Build-up

The Variations

Other B & R modules


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