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Learn to use Pickup measures to deceive your audience

In this new series called ‘Incredibly Quick Music Tips’ I will talk about something that you can call a rhythmic illusion or rhythmic surprise. And it’s not something you do on a birthday or with a lot of volume or force. You can be as subtle as you want with this.


So have you ever noticed that the rhythm of a song catches you off guard? That you thought you were tapping along correctly, but then to find out that you were completely off? This Rhythmic trick of starting on the anacrusis or upbeat measures can really give some fine rhythmic interest to your song. And of course when you write music with this in mind, you force yourself to think creatively.

When I wanted to create the music for this episode, I really enjoyed how much I needed to focus on making examples that were convincing. But the results are great if you ask me. And pickup measures or anacrusis don’t have to be just one bar. You can extend this for multiple bars, until you break the expectation of your listener. Sounds fun right? I think it will definitely make your songwriting and composing process more interesting if you try this out once in a while. It worked for me…


There are countless great music examples all throughout music history. Some are more complext on the music theory side than others. But they are definitely out there. Some more popular examples are ‘Sex On Fire’ by Kings of Leon or Videotape by Radiohead.

I wish you a lot of writing inspiration and a lot of fun. It’s time to start counting some beats. If you know what I mean!


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