Two Bar 3 Over 2 Syncopation Exercise

In this lesson you will be exploring another syncopation idea where a rhythm is constructed by play a different rhythm with each hand. The idea presented here will be similar to our Previous Lessons on this subject and I recomend you work through this lesson first.

In this exercise the right hand will continue playing in groups of two and the left, which played a '3 3 3 3 4', style rhythm before will keep the groups of three going for as long as possible over the two bars. You will end up with 10 sets of three followed by a 2 to end on. If you have covered the previous lesson this will be pretty straight forward as it just involves adding extra to the end of that pattern.

For this lesson I will only be discussing the sixteenth note version of the pattern but feel free to break it down to eighths if you are struggling with the notation or speed. This is the un-syncopated rhythm:

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 + a 2 + 3 e + 4 +

Full Exercise

As before, to create the full exercise you will be splitting the rhythm up between two hands. As before, the right hand will just be playing straight eighth notes whilst the left plays the syncopated rhythm. The left hand part is shown below with counting. Spend some time making sure you can play this rhythm then we will move on to combining the two hands.

The two parts of the exercise.

Finally, the full exercise. In this example 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. Below is the first form:

The full exercise.

Spend some working on this pattern, make sure it is rhythmically correct then try to push the tempo upto around 130bpm.

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.

We've also discussed in previous lessons the idea of playing around with the last grouping. In this case it it quite common to play the last half of the second bar as a block of 4, experiment with this idea.


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



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