Harry connick back it up

The 5/4 Trick - How Harry Connick Jr. tricked an entire audience

The 5/4 Trick - How Harry Connick Jr. tricked an entire audience28 Oct. 2015
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Joshua SurufkaSubscribe 438 721

Thanks for watching!

Thanks for watching! Also, The numbers for the beats and claps are a little out of sync at parts, but I made this whole thing in Movie Maker so this was the most accurate I could get.

Comments (73)
Daniel White

Hurry up!


I didn’t see anything, I just noticed how my own clapping suddenly made more sense at the time you said “there!”


Thank you so much Joshua. I've rarely been to a concert in my 69 years where I could clap along...it's usually the audience that starts clapping and invariably they clap on 1 & 3. If the musicians start the clapping, it's usually on 2 & 4 and I can join in. I've never understood as I find clapping on 1 & 3 unbearably restrictive and actually stops the body moving. The program 'The Art of Drumming' talking about the emergence of the back beat in the 1950s says to understand how it came about you have to look back to gospel music, R&B and the music African Americans were singing in church. J.M. Van Eaton (house drummer at Sun Records) goes further, saying white people clap on 1 & 3, black people clap on 2 & 4. I have a black ancestor so I'm happy with this explanation. I suspect Harry Connick Jr is probably so used to audiences clapping on 1 & 3 he has the sneaky 5th beat well under his belt!

Angela Sealana

Nice trick! Thanks for the neat video.

Music Is A Rainbow

Love this so much! Harry is amazing!

Adan Martinez

LOL!!!! Awesome!

Bill Dureen

Inebriates come through the door
Wanting to dance, nothing more
But their clapping's not rhythmic
It's in fact cataclysmic
Do they not know the beat's two and four?

Jack Cullen

skip to 3:25 if you are a musician

Thad Alberty

I think the 5/4 bar is in a different spot than the bottom left corner shows- sounds like the 4th bar of the solo?


I've been a percussionist for 8 years, so I know rhythms, time signatures, etc, really well. Let me just say, this is really hard to pull off while feeling the beat correctly. Brilliant trick, and to think that he most likely did this on the spot without premeditating it.... wow. Genius idea


I love how subtle he makes

Escape Room Leander

You can't mess with someone's head if they don't know it.

By definition, messing with someone's head requires them, you know, realizing they are being messed with.

As the audience (and anyone who isn't a musician) is completely unaware they are doing anything wrong, they are also unaware when they are doing it right.

Stacey Salvaggio

genius! This explains while I am the only one one jamming at the beginning of a song and then all of a sudden I am off beat! LOL GREAT post!

Zeke Daggett

These idiots took the square train to claptown

shiyaam miller

its hard to clap off beat. how do this people even do this? lol


That was great.

Edgar Alonzo

Dream Theater prepared me for this.

Tara Quinch

Only certain people clap on the 1st and 3rd beats. A different crowd would be clapping differently..JS?


Freaking brilliant...the kinda brilliance you only get from years and years and years and years of gigging.

Rishard Lampese



People there is no set rule to how you should clap. Don't go to every concert clapping on the 2+4. Listen to the rhythm of each song and clap appropriately. Or don't clap at all. Odds are there is someone who is fucking pissed off that idiots are clapping away haha

Steve Sims

Freakin white people man...LOL
Reminds me of a Jason Isbell song "Last of My Kind"-
"Nobody here can dance like me, everybody's clapping on the one and the three..."

Great stuff, Joshua.

Sandy Alexander

He plays a similar 5/4 bar in To Love The Language at about the 2:31 mark, so this isn't the
only time he's used the trick.

Joshua Surufka

Hey, random question, I just had a huge spike in views on this video and most of them came from Facebook. Can anybody tell me where from? I'm just interested to see who is interested in this kind of stuff. Thanks!

William Milsten

I from Korea.


well audience are not expected to clap on 2 and 4 everywhere ! It depends on the culture ! Here in france, country of the Bourrée and other traditional dances, it's 1 and 3... So bad for the jazz :D


See if you can put the beats and the dot further apart. ???

As useless as tits on a bull.


really epic


Joshua, are you from East Chicago, Indiana or Family from there? I knew a Surufka Family there many years ago.... thanks for the great video!


Wow! That little extra note isn't in the studio recording of this song. It's just something he snuck in, to get his audience on track.


Never clap unless someone onstage does the universal "join in" signal of big, obvious, overhead, full arm clapping at you.
Just dance or bob your head or tap your foot so real musicians don't have to add goddam beats.

You 1 and 3 clapping,

mouth breathing




Belliard Productions

There's another interesting video you can do a lesson on :
Notice how Youssou N'Dour start singin' on the 4 and then Vinnie Colaiuta gets everyone back on track by a little trick :)

John Donovan

At 3:55 the dude in the background gets it.

Michael Bodine

VERY musically inclined; 2 plus instruments you MIGHT saY HE USED pedals after first minute and HAS a great wife !;

Daniel Velásquez

Oh god

Their Teammate

“Y’all M’Fkrs won’t clap on the 2 n’ 4 so I’ll make ya”

D Mallett

That boy is good.
But that boy hair is bad.

Kevin Dillon

I completely understand the concept but I am not musically trained and the difference between 1/3 and 2/4 doesn’t stand out to me when I’m just listening. We understand it’s frustrating to the musicians, but please understand us non-musicians don’t realize what we’re doing wrong :) it is a huge help when you get us started with clapping

Andrea Meigs

the sheet music is twinkle twinkle little star, huh?

Jan Pomianowski

I don't like shit music :/


As a musician, dont watch the beats shown in the corners. They are off. A real shame because why show them if theyre not correct cuz now it's just confusing to the layman observer? The beats shown are going at a slightly faster tempo than the song, which throws the whole thing off and it's completely out of sync by the 3:40 mark.


Actually if you look at the numbers, the crows went out of sync even before the trick and the trick put them back in sync

Charlotte Mason

I thought it was Just
A "White People" Thing .

jesus toscano

what's the name of this song?

LA Sculpt

an audience of beckys was your first problem

Douglas Hill

Legend says, Harry was just sick of people clapping on 1 and 3, so he made his own reality.

Hamish Douglas

This is how I understand this trick:

It's kind of like if you and a friend were walking along a footpath and your footsteps were out of sync so you did a little "off-beat" skip to realign your steps.


Which is the name of The Song?

Jacob McLaughlin

You can kind of hear it also. He drops the bass also so he can realign.


????? ???

Kevin Swift

I totally understand what he did here, but what amazes me is how he was able to add it in so seamlessly. Like on the fly he just tosses in a 5/4 and then keeps rolling. I guess if I knew the song better (or better yet, how to play it) it would make more sense.


That's amazing.

Dr. Vinnie Boombatz

"Send me some of your squirrel-covers" ?

David Sato

Thank you for the explanation, but I just don't hear those "ones" "twos", "threes" and "fours". When I listen to music it's just like a sound of flowing water. It all just melds into a unified harmonic whole. If it weren't for your video I honestly couldn't tell the difference in clapping. How to clap on the two and four when I don't hear the "one"?

Jose Rey

The same happened to Justin Bieber in a spanish TV show called "el hormiguero". People started clapping in 1-3 and he just stop singing haha, way less professional

Thomas Seitz

Yes I could hear it immediatley. I an visually impaired. When a persons eyesight is not as good as it use to be the brain compensates by making our hearing more acute, just like a blind person whose hearing becomes more sharp. A blind person would of picked up on it immediatley.

Mina Bestina

Rachel Dolezal's book sent me here. Check's out.

Doug Penney

How to handle it when you're not nearly as talented: https://youtu.be/k1q4_GkgrE0?t=15


Nice explanation and well spotted. As a drummer I find it infuriating that a lot of audiences clap on the 1 and 3 in 4/4 music. I love odd time signatures as it's fun to watch an audience as you play say, 7/8 but still make it groove.


Video absolutely did not need to be 5 minutes long, talk too slowly and say very little for most of it. Could've been like 3mins max and would be a much better video. Genius trick by HCJr tho

Maximum Joy

I don't listen to piano music (unless it's Erik Satie) but I found this fascinating

R Stedler

Soooo cool!

Cara Lin

I will never get tired of watching this ?

Richard Cabeza

He's great. And you can really hear the influence of his teacher, James Booker in this piece.

Ancient Future

I'm a dance teacher (Hip-Hop) and I've seen and intuitively known this phenomenon but have never been able to fully articulate it. I'm so glad to have found this video. I wonder if this also makes people of ethnic background (black in particular) better dancers because they allow themselves to be 'carried' by the music with the 2 and 4 whereas emphasising the 1 and 3 makes one feel like he is 'on top' (and almost separate) from the music...hence the stereotype (which I've seen to be true in my profession) that white men 'lack rhythm'.

I've also noticed this on the opening credits of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. When the audience are happily clapping to the music I would always find myself irritated and say to my wife "Why are they clapping to THAT part of the music?! They're on time but they're off beat. It's bizarre."

I'm my experience, people that do dance on the 1 and 3 generally have a difficult time dancing and feeling their bodies/music. Perhaps this has something to do with European man's much discussed philosophical 'Mind/Body' problem. Too much (conceptual) analysis leads to (rhythmic) paralysis. Anyways, just my pennies worth.

Cats Are Rubbish

Should've put the clap indicator next to the beat number. It's difficult to concentrate on them both as they are.


Dude went private investigator on this performance


Yeah it sucks when the audience claps on weird beats like damn just don’t clap


lmfao when the drummer celebrates in the background


Thank you for understanding and celebrating his genius!


How do you know this song just doesn't have a 5/4 measure in there for that part?


Shoutout to Jesse Thorn for calling out the horror of white people clapping to music lol made me laugh.

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World Premiere: Harry Connick Jr performs "Back It Up"

World Premiere: Harry Connick Jr performs "Back It Up"9 Dec. 2016
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