Today we’re talking about rhythm! The one thing that universally pulls music together! Wow! Music is a culmination of so many great things working together- tone, pitch, emotion, creativity. But rhythm is the one piece that changes a bunch of sound, into an organized piece of music. So no more to wait- here we go.
What is rhythm?
Rhythm is the pulse of music. It’s a repeating pattern. When you’re listening to a song, and tapping your pencil along with it- that’s rhythm! Or driving around using your steering wheel as a drum- rhythm! Some people claim to have no rhythm- and that’s untrue. We all follow rhythm in our daily lives. Walking, one foot in front of the other is a steady, even rhythm. Even a person who’s not very musical knows the ABC’s and that pause after the letter G is a rhythmic pause. You just sang the ABC’s in your head didn’t you?
What is common time?
To help us get a grasp on rhythm, we’ll use what’s known as common time. Common time is when a song has 4 beats per measure, also known as 4/4 time. So with each rhythmic note, we’ll only count up to 4!
Whole note (1 2 3 4)
A whole note is names this because it lasts for a whole measure. If we were to count out loud and clap our hands to the beat we’d only clap on one.
Half notes (1 2 3 4)
Half notes last half as long as whole notes. Instead of clapping only once per measure, we’d clap twice per measure. We’d clap on the 1 and the 3 of a measure.
Quarter notes (1 2 3 4)
Quarter notes are the most common pulse you’d feel in a song. We count them and clap them at the same time 1-2-3-4. Easy enough right? Everybody can count to 4!
Eighth notes (1+2+3+4+)
You’ve probably seen the symbols for eighth notes before. Here’s our second level of counting! Eighth notes are worth half of a quarter note and counted/clapped by using the word “and” in between every number.
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and
Yes! We say “and” after 4 as well! “And” is symbolized by a tiny plus sign in between each number.
Sixteenth notes (1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a)
That is a mouthful! How do we say it?
1-E-and-AH 2-E-and-Ah 3-E-and-Ah 4-E-and-Ah
sixteenth notes are worth half of an eighth note, which means there are four of these for every one quarter note!
Ok, so this was just a quick introduction to rhythm. There is so much more to rhythm! But don’t let it be daunting or scare you. You’ve got rhythm in you! Every time you play your instrument you’re using rhythm even if you’re not thinking about it. Every time you sing along with a song or tap your foot to a song- you’re using rhythm already.
If you want to learn more about rhythm, and you’re in the Denver area, or Littleton area, call Littleton School of Music! We teach musicians of all ages and skill levels and we can help you learn rhythm, or even just help you learn your favorite song! Mention this blog to get $25 off your first month of lessons! Call us today at 303-972-7625, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or learn more here on our website.
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