In these posts we will introduce specific rhythms, along with demonstrations of how to count and play them.… Read more
Here is the 3-2 form:
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a * _ _ * _ _ * _ _ _ * _ _ * _ _
Here is the 2-3 form:
… Read more
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a _ _ * _ _ * _ _ * _ _ *
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a _ * _ * _ * * _ * _ * _ * * _ *
To set up a language for describing rhythms, we’ll explain the syllables for counting rhythms, and then introduce some notation.
We’ll start with samba as an example. But this will lead us to the tools needed for talking about Brazilian music in general.
Syllables for counting a measure of samba in 4
As described in this post from the previous series, one can count a measure of samba as four … Read more
Welcome to time in music! This series of posts will explain key concepts for time in music, including beat, pulse, beat size, cut-time, measure, phrase, count, meter and time signature. This material sets a foundation for further explorations of rhythm. We conclude by applying it to the basic time structures for a few forms of … Read more
A beat within a musical composition is a rhythmic event with some well-defined duration. Note this means a beat is not just an isolated point in time.
Within a musical composition, the pulses are the beats that mark the time skeleton; they are the ‘conducting beats’, which are naturally expressed
Cut-time music has pulses that feel somehow “large,” in a sense that is not easy to objectively define. You feel it when you hear it.
The typical explanations of cut-time are based around the idea that it is “conducted on the half note.” But this just leads to more questions: what
Beats can be ranked by size. Here are four levels in the hierarchy of beat sizes:
- Double pulse = half note = minum =
- Single pulse = quarter note = crotchet =
- Tier 1 subdivision = division of single pulse into 2 or 3 = quaver = eighth note =
- Tier 2
A song may have hundreds of pulses and subdivisions. Measures and phrases give a way to organize them into manageable groups.
Separate from the concept of pulses, a song will have counting beats, aka counts. In some songs we count the pulses, while in others we count subdivisions of the
The meter of a song gives a formal description for how the pulses and counts get organized within the measures.
There are two general types of meter, depending on whether we count pulses or subdivisions. Let’s call it pulse meter if we count pulses, and subdivision meter if we count subdivisions.