Western sheet music is a universal language. No matter what instrument or style of music you play, eighth notes are eighth notes, right? Well, maybe not exactly.

According to jazz bassist, composer, and music educator Adam Neely, pop and classical musicians understand rhythm quite differently. A rhythm that’s simple to a jazz drummer may be a stumbling block to a string ensemble. But then again that string ensemble could breeze through a passage that trips up a funk rhythm section. What’s going on?