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Old 2007-11-28, 06:31
priji priji is offline
New Blood
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 8
The first step in understanding rhythms is to memorize the various notes and their 'values.' You don't need to understand them now, but for information's sake, look over the five most commonly used notes:

It's confusing to think of something being an eighth of a beat, and you may wonder why a note that is one beat long is called a quarter note. Why wouldn't it be called a whole note, since it's a whole beat?

It's because we name our notes based on the length of time they are played within a measure, not based on how many beats they are.

I often tell my students to think of a measure as a whole pie, in that it can be cut into quarters (4 pieces), eighths (8 pieces), and so on. A whole note is called a whole note because it is played and held for a whole measure. A quarter note is called a quarter note because a full quarter note takes up exactly one quarter of a measure.

I know what you're saying. "Yuck! Fractions!" To this, I hang my head sadly and nod. You're absolutely right. But I'm not going to make you add fractions, or anything like that. If you get the pie illustration, then you're set.

Now that we understand why the notes are named the way they are, let's look at the chart again:

Dividing a measure up into eighths and sixteenths on the fly while playing would be difficult, especially with complicated rhythms, so this is useful mostly as an understanding of the basics. The next step to take is to actually count through the rhythms.
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