What Is Swing?

What Is Swing?

This is a question I have often encountered while playing drums, listening to music, hearing a live band play, or hearing a swinging Jazz band or House track in a club. There are so many versions of swing, and it’s a question I’ve always wanted answered for myself, when getting started with drumming and producing.

Many people say that 'swing' is converting your straight groove to a triplet groove, and there you go—it’s swinging!

This is what I use to think as well, until I really found out what swing is. I learned that swing wasn’t so much a flip between a straight and triplet feel, but the comfortable laid back zone, between the two. The most interesting thing I’ve learned from this, is that everybody has their own sense of swing and feel applied to this idea. This all depends on how they manipulate the rhythm and time, to the pulse that they feel is “swinging”. 

The best way to understand this is to hear and feel it for yourself. Check out the video included in this post for an example of how to push and pull your own rhythmic patterns off of the grid, to create a new sense of swing.

*All topics discussed in this video are based off my recently released book, Electronic Dance Music Grooves.

Josh Bessfree