Payton’s Treatise on 4/4 Swing

4/4 swing is the groove of all grooves. A rigid expression of elasticity. It remains in a perpetual state of both repetition and release. It is the logical conclusion of rhythmic circularity—the place where time dies and goes to heaven. 4/4 swing is neither old nor dated. Many today dismiss it as such, because of all grooves in the Black American aesthetic, it’s the hardest to make feel good.

It’s scientifically and metrically perfect in its design. It is 1, 2, 3 and 4—all at the same time—on every beat, in any beat.

It is the genesis of the syncopated quarter note. It can be forward moving and laid back at the same time. Every beat is a universe all on its own.

4/4 swing is the rhythmic equivalent of a free fall.

It is the morse code of modern mortality.

It is the roots, the branches and the leaves.

Swing is elusive. The harder you try to swing, the less you swing.

4/4 swing is the will to wane. Its pulse personifies the determination to let go. A revolving door of opportunity. A conveyer belt to the blues. The benevolent bulldozer. The turnstile of truth.

4/4 swing is a passenger jet that’s never overbooked or oversold.

No matter how many going along for the ride, there’s always room for one more.


– Nicholas Payton aka The Savior of Archaic Pop