Do you clap on the 1-3 or the 2-4?

Drummer’s Aptitude Test on a great site with simple explanations that will convince you that you can learn to drum.


stomp stomp clap

stomp stomp clap


ISTR reading in one of my history of early rock and roll books that the change in beat was one of the formulaic changes that led to RnR.

Prior to the popularity of Rythym and Blues the primary beat (snare drum) would be on 1 and 3 and that R&B turned that to 2 and 4 and gave us the primacy of the shuffle and agressive dance beats that would later transform a combination of C&W and R&B into early rock and roll.

The backbeat defines jazz, Rock N Roll, and much of pop music that has a blues or funk flair like R&B, as Jonathan Chance said. A backbeat is a hit on 2 & 4, on the traditionally unaccented beats; a syncopation of a simple sort. That’s what syncopation is, putting an accent somewhere else than “standard” or “normal.”

In the song “Hit the road, Jack…” as usually heard, “Road” falls on 1, “Jack” falls on 2. “Doncha come” on 3, “back no more…” on 4.

You’re hip if you clap on 2 & 4, square if on 1 & 3. And don’t you forget it.

[qoute] A backbeat is a hit on 2 & 4, on the traditionally unaccented beats

OK, then. That’s when I clap. I guess I thought it was on the 1-3 because they’re odd numbers=off beat. D’oh.

My baby’s Gymboree music teacher, who is teaching 1 year olds the basic rhythms of jazz music, claps on the 1-3.
It was driving me nuts the other day-I felt like she was clapping like an old person.

Try it with “When the Saints Come Marching In”.

If you clap on saints, then you are clapping on the 1. (“When the” is on the pickup)

If you clap right after saints, you are clapping on the 2.

Try it with Mary Had a Little Lamb. If you clap on “Mary”, you’re a loser (just kidding!)

I clap on the 2 and 4 because 1) it’s the most natural to me and 2)songs sound cooler when they are accented on the offbeats. However, this doesn’t always hold. James Brown is famous for “jamming on the one”, which the accent being on the first beat. But he’s the only exception (who’s cool) that I can think of, but maybe there are others.

My father is quite observant about these things. He was the first to point out to me that white people are more likely to clap on the 1 and 3 than black people. I didn’t want to agree with this (who would ever clap on the 1 and 3!!??) but then one day, we went to a fairly intergrated church that featured lively gospel music. I watched. Sure enough, all the black people were clapping on the 2 and 4. Some of the white people were as well, but others were clapping on the 1 and 3. I wanted to grab their hands and get them on the beat!

I think this tendency is behind the stereotype that whites have no rhythm. Whites do have rhythm, though. It’s just…special.

heh One of the little joke you hear in group singing situations (such as church) is that where you clap indicates how “black” you are. i.e. if you clap on 1 & 3, you must be really white; clapping on 2 & 4 indicates “black”. This derives from the traditional image of an all-white congregation clapping on 1 & 3 as compared to a black Southern Baptist congregation all clapping on 2 & 4.

If you’re clapping along with, say, a march or ragtime song, 1 & 3 would be appropriate. If you’re clapping along with rock & roll, country, gospel, jazz, etc, 2 & 4 is appropriate. Basically, listen for the snare drum and clap where you hear it.

I know Atlanta’s changed somewhat since I moved five years ago, but please don’t let it have changed that much!

Please don’t make fun of me, but can you explain this using"Thank God I’m a country boy?" For some reason it’s the only song I can think of the claps clearly right now without the music playing.

Life Ain't noth-ing but a fun-ny fun-ny Ridd-le (pause), Thank God I'ma coun-try boy
*                         *                        *              *                  *        

  • = clap

Which way is that?

I’d love to help, but I don’t know that song. Can you think of a non-country tune that you can clap to?

How about Billy Squire’s Stroke -?

The way you have it written, you have a clap on 1 on the word “Life”, then on “4” on the word “but”. However… I had to download it (bad bad me, I know) to check it out. On the copy I found, which sounds like a live version, the clapping is on 2 & 4. At least until the clapping fades out in the mix, about the time of the first chorus. So it should be:

Life Ain't noth-ing but a fun-ny fun-ny Ridd-le (pause), Thank God I'm a coun-try boy
       *                   *                 *              *                  *              *                     *

  • = clap

D’OH! My coding didn’t come out right! Probably what happened with yours. It would be nice if I could actually see the monospaced font while I"m typing it, instead of having to count characters. :mad: Trying again…

Life Ain't noth-ing but a fun-ny fun-ny Ridd-le (pause), Thank God I'm a coun-try boy         
     *              *            *                       *         *              *

  • = clap

Thank God I’m a Country Boy is a particularly difficult example.

My SO played in a band for years and the guys would often comment and joke about the unco clapping of some people in the audience. When in doubt, just follow what the majority are doing.

No no! I mean, you could count it that way, but it’s twice as slow as you should when you’re clapping. Think of it this way:

hit the road     jack
 4   +    1  (2)   3   (4)

and don'tcha come back  no
 +    1   +   2     3   4


Then clap on 2 and 4.
Never EVER clap on 1 or 3. Thank you.

Phase42, type your

 in notepad using a monospace font, then copy it into the reply box.

TJdude825, your “Hit the road” clapping is, indeed, twice as many claps as I had diagrammed for any time period. Either way will result in a backbeat clapping. You’re just defining the beat values as half the note values I did, so the 1,2,3,4 counting is twice as fast for the same song tempo.

I have so much rythym I’m likely to clap on 2 and 9. Anyone else should think themselves lucky. :smiley:

Do you people actually clap when you hear music? Is this some sort of hipness test? That said, if clapping must absolutely be done, it is certainly most tastefully done on the 2 and 4 as has been mentioned. Clapping on the 1 and 3 denotes an only rudimentary understanding of rhythm.

As another poster stated “one drops” can be made cool and even funky if done correctly. James Brown did have it down, and a lot of Ska/Dancehall music utilizes accents on the 1 and only the 1.

If you really want to look cool, start clapping on either the “e” the “&” or the “a” which are sixteenth note subdivisions of a beat. Sounds kind of like a locomotive if you chant it right. 1 e & a, 2 e & a, 3 e & a, 4 e & a The a is pronounced “uh” and the e and & sound just like they look.

Maybe I should start an “Ask a Drummer” thread. I just might.

Yes, according to When the Saints Go Marching In, I’m indeed a 2-4.

Cosby Show rerun line explained!

(You just never know what you’ll learn on the SDMB…)