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Syncopation Syncopation Syncopation

What is syncopation? An off-beat edition of The Listening Service. With Tom Service.

What's the secret musical ingredient that music from salsa to Saturday Night Fever, from Charlie Parker to George Gershwin, from Johann Sebastian Bach to Leonard Bernstein, from ragtime to funk and disco, not to mention baroque sarabandes, has in common?

The answer is that they all swoon to the sounds of syncopation: to rhythms that dance against, as well as with, the beat - to make us tap our fingers and toes, to get us dancing.

On today's The Listening Service: what are the secrets of syncopation: what defines these rhythms in our music, and in our brains and our bodies, in the physiological and psychological ways that we process them?

Tom Service goes off beat! (And tries his hand at Cuban percussion).

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Victor Daniel

    La vida es un carnaval

    Performer: Celia Cruz.
    • RMM Records.
  • Bee Gees

    Stayin’ Alive

    Performer: Bee Gees.
    • Polydor.
  • Charlie Parker

    Ornithology

    Composer: Benny Harris. Performer: Charlie Parker.
    • Jazz Life.
  • George Gershwin

    I Got Rhythm

    Performer: Django Reinhardt. Performer: Stephan Grappelli. Performer: Quintette du Hot Club de France.
    • Regis.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Two-part inventions - No.6 in E major, BWV 777

    Performer: Glenn Gould.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    America

    Performer: Studio Orchestra and Chorus. Performer: Leonard Bernstein.
    • DG.
  • Jelly Roll Morton

    Sidewalk Blues

    Performer: Jelly Roll Morton.
    • Jazz Archives.
  • The Metres

    Look-Ka Py Py

    Performer: The Metres. Composer: The Metres.
    • Rounder.
  • Max Martin

    Oops!...I Did It Again

    Composer: Rami. Performer: Britney Spears.
    • Jive.
  • William Lawes

    Royal Consort Sett No.1 in D minor - V. Sarabande

    Performer: Phatasm.
    • LINN.
  • Afro Celt Sound System

    The Magnificent Seven

    Performer: Afro Celt Sound System.
    • ECC.
  • Traditional

    Dvajspetorka  

    Performer: Strune.
    • ARC Music.
  • George Gershwin

    I Got Rhythm

    • Unknown.
  • Traditional

    Bwaba Drum solo

    Performer: Be Ahnu Dembele.
    • Nonesuch.
  • Johann Strauss II

    Leichtes Blut - polka Op.319

    Performer: Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Herbert von Karajan.
    • DG.
  • John Philip Sousa

    The Liberty Bell

    Performer: Eastman Wind Ensemble. Composer: John Philip Sousa.
    • Mercury.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    The Sleeping Beauty - Waltz

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • Sony Classical 88697927102.
    • CD2 Tr5.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183 – 1st movement

    Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Performer: Neville Marriner.
    • Metronome.
  • Robert Schumann

    Violin Concerto in D major, WoO23: ii. Langsam

    Performer: Joshua Bell. Performer: Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
    • Sony Classical.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Symphony no. 4 in E minor, Op.98 - 4th movement

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Symphony no. 101 (H.1.101) in D major "Clock" (H.1.101) - 3rd movement

    Performer: Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble. Performer: Marc Minkowski.
    • Naïve.
  • Johann Strauss II

    Kaiser-Walzer (Op.437)

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Willy Boskovsky.
    • DECCA.
  • Donna Summer

    I feel love

    Composer: Giorgio Moroder. Composer: Pete Bellotte. Performer: Donna Summer.
    • Mercury.
  • Luther Vandross

    Not too much

    Performer: Luther Vandross.
    • Epic.
  • Brian Ferneyhough

    Terrain for violin and wind octet

    Performer: Asko Ensemble.
    • Montaigne.
  • Machito

    Tanga

    Performer: Machito and his Orchestra – featuring Flip Phillips.
    • Verve.
  • Faustino Oramas

    Marieta

    Performer: Ibrahim Ferrer.
    • World Circuit ?.
  • Orefiche & Vasquez

    Rumba Azul

    Performer: Ernesto Lecuona & Lecuona Cuban Boys.
    • Columbia.
  • Astor Piazzolla

    Libertango

    Performer: Quinteto Nuevo.
    • Milan.

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