Displacement is the idea of shifting notes in a certain direction, learn about the finer points of this here.

Displacement is a very simple idea that can be used to create some very complex drum parts. As the name suggestions, it involves shifting specific beats within a bar or even whole bars by a set amount to create a new part. When used in combination with other construction ideas or in odd and complex time signatures this parts can become very complicated. The idea can easily be applied to be more simple parts though.

Let's look at a couple of examples. In This Level 1 Lesson you learn how to create new grooves by shifting snare drums within the bar by one quaver beat. This is one of the most basic forms of displacement there is. You took a pattern with snares on beats 2 and 4 and moved them to the '+' counts after. So you can see, when displacing you have an 'interval' and a direction. In the given example the interval was an eighth note and the direction was to the right when looking at it written down. So with that in mind, you could create similar patterns where the same snare drums are moved one quarter note to the left, or a sixteenth note to the right or any other combination you can think of. Both snares also don't have to be moved with the same interval or in the same direction. For example the first snare could be displacement one quarter note forwards whilst the second snare is moved a sixteenth note backwards. Obviously it doesn't have to just be the snares that are displaced either.

You can also displace a whole bars worth of music, as shown in this Level 2 lesson. Again the same idea applies, pick an interval and a direction.

Using displacement is a very useful construction method when there are a lot of repetitive parts that you want to break up but don't want to come away from a specific pattern too much. The displaced version could fall in the fourth or eighth bar of a phrase just to break it up slightly. You could also construct your main groove part using this idea.


Lets put your knowledge to the test with some tasks that are going to involve displacing certain parts of level 0 grooves. When I say left or right this refers to the direction the selected part will move when looking at it notated.

  1. Displace the first snare in This Groove a quaver to the right of the bar.
  2. Displace the second snare in This Groove a semi quaver to the left of the bar.
  3. Displace both snares in This Groove a quarter note to the right of the bar.
  4. Displace the first snare in This Groove a quaver to the right of the bar and the second snare a semi quaver to the left.
  5. Displace This Groove a quaver to the right of the bar.
  6. Displace This Groove a crotchet to the left of the bar.