The Complete Language of Music – Rhythm 2

Having looked at the big picture of Rhythm it is time to look at the mechanics of Rhythm.

Tempo is the speed at which a piece of music is played. The way rhythm is represented remains the same but when you add tempo to it the change can be very dramatic. The difference to simple rhythm at 40 beats per minute to the same rhythm played at 120 beats per minute is very noticeable.

Time signature is the way the bars are split up. The diagram shows 4 beats in a bar. The general rule is that the beats are called crotchets and they are given the number 4.

So the time signature for this bar is:-

4

4

The diagram shows numbers, the “&” sign, thick lines and thin lines. The general rules are that he thick lines represent the bar lines. The thin lines represent the beats to be played. The numbers below the lines represent the counting of the beats to be played and the “&” above the lines are to be counted but not played. The diagram shows a regular beat which is like the tick of a clock or a metronome.

Rhythm 1

Therefore you:-

Clap and Count on beat 1.

      Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 2.

Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 3.

Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 4.

Count on beat &.

Rhythm 2

The next rhythm shows another regular beat but all the numbers and “&” are played.

Therefore you:-

Clap and Count on beat 1.

Clap and Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 2.

Clap and Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 3.

Clap and Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 4.

Clap and Count on beat &.

By using some of Rhythm 1 and some of Rhythm 2 you can get a number of different rhythms. These are basic rhythms that are used across a wide range of styles and tempos.

To make these and all rhythms work you must always play beat 1 louder than all other beats. This will always give you a sense of how the rhythm goes. If you don’t do this then all 4 of the following rhythms will sound the same. There only difference is in relation to beat 1.

Rhythm 3

Therefore you:-

Clap and Count on beat 1.

Clap and Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 2.

Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 3.

Count on beat &.

Clap and Count on beat 4.

Count on beat &.

If you look at combining Rhythms 1 and 2 you can come up with about 16 Rhythms.

These are found in the Rhythms Factsheet 1. Go and have a look and practice the rhythms with a metronome. There are free metronome apps available for your computer or phone. Enjoy.

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