Rhythmic Displacement Part 2: Snarky Puppy – ‘What About Me?’

In Gear / Advice, Lessons, Transcriptions by TK8 Comments

One of the most popular posts on this blog is a transcription of a Meshuggah tune that features some interesting rhythmic displacement ideas. Here’s a transcription in a similar vein but from a more mainstream (and less angry) source, the heavily syncopated unison line in Snarky Puppy’s ‘What About Me?’:

The section I’ve written out comes at 45s into the track, and is featured again around the 5 minute mark:

Snarky Puppy - What About Me?

Just as in the Meshuggah transcription, the part here gets displaced when it repeats itself, creating an interesting rhythmic effect as the accented melody notes shift (compare bar 1 with bar 3).

This is a real test of your semiquaver rhythm reading abilities, but playing-wise most of the line is straightforward E minor pentatonic and falls under the fingers without too much trouble. The final run is worth taking your time over –  a minor pentatonic played in groups of 5 but phrased in semiquavers which has a strong Jaco influence to it.


  1. Thanks so much for posting the transcription! Need to learn this for a gig and this will make it a lot easier.

    1. Glad it’s useful Ryan, and I’m envious that you get to gig this tune!

  2. nice transcription! just to get this thing 100% correct:
    1. the final lick is actually g e f# E D ge b .. instead of g e f# D A ge b
    2. not so important but: the 7th note in bar 3 (the first of the two A’s) and the first note in bar 5 (E) are “phantom-notes”..I don’t think that they actually play them

    sorry for the pettifoggery, I just wanted to help to make this even better 😉
    //end of smart-arse-post 😉

    Greeting from Duesseldorf // ger

    1. Author

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post, Niklas!

      1. You’re absolutely right, I’ll edit the notation… this actually makes the lick easier to play!
      2. A fair point, let’s have them as ghost notes instead.
      3. Excellent use of ‘pettifoggery’
      4. As a diehard smart-arse I fully endorse people who take every opportunity to be smart-arses, particularly when they’re correcting my smart-arsery. Bravo.

  3. hi again izik balas
    if you more from snarky puppy
    i would to get it
    if needs to pay than no problem.
    thank you

    1. Author

      Hi Izik, there’s more Snarky Puppy on the way soon. Unfortunately, I don’t offer paid transcriptions at the moment.

    1. Author

      After much re-checking, I’m certain the phrase starts on 1 – there’s a cymbal hit right on the beat at 45 seconds in that happens at the same time as the first note of the riff.

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