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The backbeat is characterized by the dominant snare drumstroke (usually a click produced by cross-sticking) and bass drum both sounding on the third beat of every four, while beat one is left empty. Thus, the expected hit on beat one is "dropped," creating the one-drop effect. Dropping out the bass on the "one" of the measure further accentuates the downbeat of the drums creating the rhythm.
This may be seen in the drum notation for the typical rock drum pattern:
The one drop style has also been used and referenced in numerous non-reggae songs, including "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up" by Frank Zappa, "The Spirit of Radio" by Rush, and "You Enjoy Myself" by Phish all placing their own twist on the one drop rhythm.
^Berry, Mick and Gianni, Jason (2004). The Drummer's Bible: How to Play Every Drum Style from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco, p.55. ISBN9781884365324.
^Sunday, April 03, 2016. "Feel it in Carlie's One Drop", JamaicaObserver.com. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, "Barrett popularised the music's signature 'One Drop' rhythm in the Wailers and Bob Marley's solo band." Accessed: 7 September 2016.
^"Carlton Barrett", Manik.sk/BobMarley. "Carlton 'Carly' Barrett was the originator of the one drop rhythm, a percussive drumming style...'My Cup (Runneth Over)', 'Duppy Conqueror', 'Soul Rebel', and 'Small Axe'. These songs became part of a double LP set that Perry released: Soul Rebels and Soul Revolution, and formed the early foundation of the one drop sound." Accessed: 7 September 2016.
^ abcSchlueter, Brad (July 21, 2011). "The Greatest Reggae Beats On Record", DrumMagazine.com. "Carlton Barrett...is often credited with creating the one-drop groove." Accessed: 7 September 2016.
^Perone, James (2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations, unpaginated, n.8. ABC-CLIO. ISBN9780313379079. "The rhythm was pioneered by the Wailers' rhythm section, Aston 'Family Man' Barrett and his brother, Carlton 'Carlie' Barrett."
^David Katz (8 November 2000). "Winston Grennan - Background musician with foreground players". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011. "Grennan developed for rock steady the one-drop rhythm that was marked by a prominent snare drum stroke on the third beat of every measure. It was this hard beat on the third, he explained, 'that would cut the beat in half'." Accessed: 7 September 2016.
^Pareles, Jon (4 November 2000). "Winston Grennan, 56, Jamaican Drummer". The New York Times. "The one-drop rhythm is a sparse, unhurried beat with a bass-drum accent -- the one drop -- on the third beat. ... Mr. Grennan notched down the speed of rock steady with the one-drop rhythm, which became established as the core of reggae." Accessed: 7 September 2016.
^Murphy, Bill. "Bass Culture: Dub Reggae's Low-End Legacy." Bass Player Nov 1996: 40-42, 44, 47, 51, 94. Print.
^Prior, Helen (2016). Music and Familiarity: Listening, Musicology and Performance, p.244. Routledge. ISBN9781317092537.
^"20 Crossover Hits." Modern Drummer Aug 2012: 64. Print.