In the previous post, Funk—Syncopation and the Teeter Totter Principle, I discussed how funk music plays with syncopation. The great funk artists have an ear for how to balance the emphasis of strong and weak beats. Cameo, for example.
The introductory bars of “Rigor Mortis” present an interesting challenge. The vocal and instrumental melody emphasize an extended series of weak beats.
I don't see why you won't groove, won't have this dance with me.
Rigor Mortis won't sit, just sit there and you'll see,
The music sounds to good for you to look and act this way.
Just free your mind of all your thoughts and you will surely say, “Yeah!”
(I've bolded the syllables falling on the downbeats, which are strong. The remaining syllables fall on weak beats.)
What helps the groove pop is the fact that Larry Blackmon’s drumbeat is holding down the strong beats. He frames the context for the syncopation. Drummers, take note.
Thank you for reading.