Full Bar 2 Over 3 Syncopation Exercise In 6/8

A multi rhythmed exercise involving both limbs in the time signature of 6/8.

In this lesson you will be exploring another syncopation idea where a pattern is constructed by playing a different rhythm with each hand, this time in the time signature of 6/8. The idea presented here will be similar to previous lessons on this subject and I recommend you work through some of these lessons first. You can find those linked at the bottom of the page a long with a list of lessons you may find interesting.

In this exercise the right hand will play a straight eighth note whilst the left plays dotted eighths, giving a syncopated rhythm. These two parts will be emphasized by orchestrating them on different parts of the kit. The part with both hands played on one drum actually creates a really common 6/8 rhythm, which looks like this:

The rhythm for the exercise. Check Your Counting:

Can't work it out? Click here for the answer.

The counting for this rhythm is: 1 2 + 3 4 5 + 6

Full Exercise

As before, to create the full exercise you will be splitting the rhythm up between two hands. In the extracts below I have shown what each hand is playing throughout the exercise, on the left is the left hand and on the right the right hand. I have included counting in each example. Spend some time making sure you can play the two parts independently then move on to combining them.

The two parts of the exercise.

Finally, the full exercise. In the notation I have split the two hands between two toms to distinguish more clearly what is doing what. The left hand is on the high tom and the right hand the floor tom. I have also used the two forms of notation discussed in the previous lesson, again to try to show more clearly what is happening.

The full exercise.

Spend some working on this pattern, make sure it is rhythmically correct then try to push the tempo up to around 160bpm.

As we discussed in the last lesson, when practicing these try to hear it as two separate parts being combined to create one rhythm rather than just hearing it as one full part. In later exercises you will be orchestrating these patterns to further highlight this idea and if you can get into that mind set it will open up many new doors for melodic playing.


  • Using the 2 minute rule, get all exercises up to a tempo of at least 130bpm. Don't be afraid to start slow.
  • Add feet under each exercise in the same way you would add them to rudiments.
  • Try moving the hands to different parts of the kit.
  • Try orchestrating the patterns so each limb moves around the kit.
  • Switch the hands around so the left plays the groups of three and the right the odd pattern.