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Accent Displacement is the technique of stressing or accenting beats that normally are unstressed. Accenting can be performed by thickening orchestration as well as increasing volume on the note the musician wishes to accent. It is a form of syncopation usually performed by stressing a beat which occurs on beats in order to displace the listeners sense of time keeping in the music.

It is often confused with "polyrhythms" which are completely independent rhythms played on top of one another and dividing the same amount of time by different numbers. 

Accent Grouping Edit

The most common technique in accent displacement is placing stress on every X number of beats with X normally being a number which is NOT divisible by the time signature numbers. For example a technique used in some complex metal is to place accent on every 5 16th notes in a 4/4 time signature giving a false sense of an odd time signature. Some composers have used this technique to such an extreme that it takes several measures to return to accenting the first beat again.

Below is a few examples: X represents the accent and dots represent the unaccented 16th notes.

Pattern of 5 sixteenth's over 4/4: X . . . . X . . . . X . . . . X | . . . . X . . . . X . . . . X . | . . . X . . . . X . . . . X . . | And so on

Pattern of 6 sixteenth's over 4/4: X . . . . . . X . . . . . . X . | . . . . . X . . . . . . X . . . | . . . X . . . . . . X . . . . . | And so on

You'll notice how the sense of rhythm is thrown off because the beginning of each new bar isn't stressed except on the first beat. The effect is more striking when played with other musicians who are not displacing accents as to add alot of contrast and interest.