Our French Cousin: "Le Pompe"

"Le Pompe" - Django-style Rhythm

I do not claim to be an expert on the vast expanse that is gypsy rhythm. There are numerous historic and regional styles among gypsies and other gypsy-jazz guitar players, which they're own variations and ideosyncracies. I suggest Michael Horowitz's book Gypsy Rhythm, available at Djangobooks.com.

However, I think I can cover the difference between the basic Pompe and Swing Rhythm Guitar. Again here is the notation of Swing Rhythm Guitar:

Now compare to this notation of Le Pompe:

Think of it sounding like this: "a-short, long, a-short, long."

In playing Le Pompe one of things to keep in mind is that the upstroke note shouldn't be thought of as an offbeat eigth note, but rather as a grace note. You should make a very, very small upstroke, and then in the same motion, turn the pick back down for the downstroke. That downstruck chord should be played short. The next downstroke is played long. Among gyspies in different locales there are some varying approaches, but this is a pretty standard "Le Pompe."

Try expirmenting with "Le Pompe", but remember, four-to-the-bar is essential to the rhythm of Swing music, so "Le Pompe" is more of an accent flavor, and not to main dish, unless of course you are playing in a Django-type hot club band.


Here's a sound sample I quickly recorded of "Minor Swing" in both styles. 1st chorus is 4-beat, 2nd le pompe, and then half a chorus of each. Also, try soloing over each to see the differnce in how they make you play. 

 4beatvslepomp by campusfive