Watch the Melodic & Rhythmic Displacement online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Power Phrasing

Imagine having to listen to music where all of the phrases and melodies started on the downbeat of 1 - wouldn’t that get monotonous and boring? I think we’d all go crazy and crave something new and fresh to listen to. This is why our phrasing is so important and why we gravitate towards certain players. It’s not just the notes they play, it’s the rhythmic content and the placement of those elements.

A great way to expand our phrasing repertoire and add interest to our lines and licks is to move them across the beat and the rhythmic placement within a bar of music. Starting a phrase on the upbeat of 1 for example is going to yield very different phrasing results from the downbeat of 1. Starting your phrase on the upbeat of 2 adds even more space at the beginning of the bar and lets you breath into your phrases.

I’ll be showing you how to displace your melodies and rhythmic phrases within 3 different rhythmic feels throughout the course. We’ll start in the next section by applying this powerful technique to a straight 8th feel. Further into the course we’ll look at shuffle rhythms and swing 16ths.

Placing your phrases on the pulse and groove of a musical piece is going to support those phrases. Don’t underestimate the power of placing your lines on the same rhythmic pulse as the other instruments in the groove.