Half Time Grooves

In this lesson we will be discussing changing the 'feel' of a groove and how to use this idea to create half time grooves. Feel is a hard thing to explain. It generally describes the subtle nuances different players have such as accenting certain beats, use of ghost notes or the way fills are built. It can also relate to genre, so a groove could be played with a rock feel or a reggae feel. We will be discussing two common elements of feel that change the way the tempo feels. All grooves we have covered so far have been in 'common time', which means the tempo is made to feel exactly as it is and we achieved this by placing snares on beats two and four. By changing where the snares fall we can make a piece of music feel faster or slower without altering the tempo.

To create a half time feel we are going to switch a groove from having the snares on beats two and four to just having a snare on beat 3. Because there is now more space between each snare hit, the tempo will feel slower even though you won't actually be playing the note values slower. This is a very basic example of a half time groove:

An example of a half time groove

To demonstrate the different feel of this groove try playing a bar of groove in common time followed by the half time groove. Like this:

An example of changing to a half time groove

In both bars the 8th note hi hats will be played at exactly the same speed, the kicks and snares are altered around them. Below are some variations on a half time groove using just 8th and quarter notes:

Example 1

A half time groove

Example 2

A half time groove

Example 3

A half time groove

Example 4

A half time groove


  1. Learn the 5 grooves given above, aim for a tempo of at least 130bpm.
  2. Practice switching from common time groove to half time groove, play each feel for various amounts of bars.
  3. Create your own half time groove patterns.
  4. Apply half grooves to some Structured Patterns.


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