Last month we took a look at syncopated rhythms that incorporate quarter and 8th notes in quarter-note-based meters. In this lesson we’ll go a step further and focus on syncopated phrases with 8th and 16th notes.

An 8th note typically falls on the beat or on an upbeat. However, when considering a 16th-note subdivision, the 8th, dotted 8th, or 16th note can fall on the second (“e”) or fourth (“ah”) partials of the beat. Here are six basic syncopated rhythmic patterns that incorporate 8th and 16th notes.

The following 2/4 etude utilizes the previous syncopated 8th- and 16th-note figures within a musical format.

Joel Rothman is the author of nearly one hundred drum and percussion books, which sell worldwide through his company, JR Publications. For more information, visit