#1
First off, I know a little theory and I'm trying to learn more. This question is just something I'm hearing about and want to understand it. I kinda understand what whole, quarter, 8th and 16th notes are but still confused with this.
Take this video for example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIYuH0y4j4c&feature=feedu
at 50 seconds in he'll talk about play in a 4/4(I believe) than he'll say he's going to add some 8th notes. Now, obviously the notes are the same time apart besides the 8th notes in between, but what makes them 8th notes? It's because they between the quarter notes? And what are 16th in a situation like this and how do they differ from the 8th notes?

Hopefully that makes sense.
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#2
8th notes are half as long as quarter notes. So, if you play over four quarter notes, you can fit eight 8th notes in the same amount of time. 16th notes would be half of an 8th note, or twice as fast. You can fit four inside of one quarter note and two inside of an eighth note.
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#3
They're 8th notes because they're half the length of a quarter note.

16ths are half the length of an 8th note.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
No, I know that. Here, let me try and explain better...

For example, lets say you have a basic 4/4 like this:

-----(1)-----(2)-----(3)-----(4)-----
Numbers in () are the beat, the - represents the space between beats.

Now, would every note in between each beat be considered an 8th note? or only the first two? And if only the first two are considered 8th notes, would every one after that be considered a 16th note?
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
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#5
Quote by unicornfist
No, I know that. Here, let me try and explain better...

For example, lets say you have a basic 4/4 like this:

-----(1)-----(2)-----(3)-----(4)-----
Numbers in () are the beat, the - represents the space between beats.

Now, would every note in between each beat be considered an 8th note? or only the first two? And if only the first two are considered 8th notes, would every one after that be considered a 16th note?



Wow my friend. Yes. That's the basic idea of it. I'd suggest that you get some help for this though, because its all about understanding how to COUNT them long before playing them. When I teach rhythmic notation, the student doesn't even touch the instrument for a couple of weeks, until they've learned how to internalize the beat and pulse and understand the subdivision. Then when we take it to the guitar, they merely transfer that knowledge to the mechanics. But, I'll say this, if you cannot read and count rhythms, you cannot play them.

I'd suggest getting some sort of teacher or guide to make sure you;re doing it right. And, if you have to ask a question like this, I'm not confident that you can teach yourself in this instance. If you have a drummer friend, they can probably help you there as well. I'd also recommend a book, Music Reading for Guitar by David Oates on the MI Publishing label - its the ONLY MI book I like on that label, so this is NOT a wholesale endorsement for MI Publications, just that one book.

They are called 8th notes because if you divided a 4/4 measure by 8th notes where some are falling on the beat, mathematically you'd end up having counted 8 of them. The same goes for 16th

so you'd have 1 (e) 2 (e) 3 (e) 4 (e)

Count the instances and you'll count 8 of them.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 24, 2011,
#6
Quote by Sean0913
Wow my friend. Yes. That's the basic idea of it. I'd suggest that you get some help for this though, because its all about understanding how to COUNT them long before playing them. When I teach rhythmic notation, the student doesn't even touch the instrument for a couple of weeks, until they've learned how to internalize the beat and pulse and understand the subdivision. Then when we take it to the guitar, they merely transfer that knowledge to the mechanics. But, I'll say this, if you cannot read and count rhythms, you cannot play them.

I'd suggest getting some sort of teacher or guide to make sure you;re doing it right. And, if you have to ask a question like this, I'm not confident that you can teach yourself in this instance. If you have a drummer friend, they can probably help you there as well. I'd also recommend a book, Music Reading for Guitar by David Oates on the MI Publishing label - its the ONLY MI book I like on that label, so this is NOT a wholesale endorsement for MI Publications, just that one book.

They are called 8th notes because if you divided a 4/4 measure by 8th notes where some are falling on the beat, mathematically you'd end up having counted 8 of them. The same goes for 16th

so you'd have 1 (e) 2 (e) 3 (e) 4 (e)

Count the instances and you'll count 8 of them.

Best,

Sean



So I was right with the first two notes in between would be 8th and everyone between the same beat after the first two notes are 16th notes?

Also, I've been really thinking about getting a teacher with a summer job. What would I look up for the stuff you're talking about? Just to understand a little more on it.
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
#7
Quote by unicornfist
So I was right with the first two notes in between would be 8th and everyone between the same beat after the first two notes are 16th notes?

Also, I've been really thinking about getting a teacher with a summer job. What would I look up for the stuff you're talking about? Just to understand a little more on it.


No man, 8th or 16th notes have nothing to do with their placement in a bar. It's a subdivision of the basic pulse (in the case of 4/4, the quarter note). If you take the space of a quarter note and place two notes there instead of one, you have 8th notes, take one of those and cut it in half and you have an 8th and two 16ths, which still equals one quarter note. The same principle applies to 32nd and 64th notes after that.
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#8
Quote by unicornfist
-----(1)-----(2)-----(3)-----(4)-----
Numbers in () are the beat, the - represents the space between beats.
You picture this wrong. First of all, you should see it like this:

(1)----(2)----(3)----(4)----

That's 4 quarter notes in a 4/4 time. The beat starts from the very beginning. There's nothing before the first beat. And the duration of the note shows how long nothing else can start (at least for this voice).

If you want eights, this is what you get:

(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)--(5)--(6)--(7)--(8)--

The total time you play those eight notes is the same as the previous example, but each note lasts half as long. That's why you can play twice as many notes.

If you want to mix quarters and eigths, you get:

(1)----(2)--(3)--(4)----(5)--(6)--

The first and the fourth note are quarters, the others are eights.

Now, also be aware that you can change a note by a rest. Rests come in the same lengths as notes, but you cut in a moment of silence instead. No sound can be played for the duration of the rest from the beginning it is written (again for that voice).

Let us know if you get it. This is too important to be confused about.
#9
Quote by Withakay
You picture this wrong. First of all, you should see it like this:

(1)----(2)----(3)----(4)----

That's 4 quarter notes in a 4/4 time. The beat starts from the very beginning. There's nothing before the first beat. And the duration of the note shows how long nothing else can start (at least for this voice).

If you want eights, this is what you get:

(1)--(2)--(3)--(4)--(5)--(6)--(7)--(8)--

The total time you play those eight notes is the same as the previous example, but each note lasts half as long. That's why you can play twice as many notes.

If you want to mix quarters and eigths, you get:

(1)----(2)--(3)--(4)----(5)--(6)--

The first and the fourth note are quarters, the others are eights.

Now, also be aware that you can change a note by a rest. Rests come in the same lengths as notes, but you cut in a moment of silence instead. No sound can be played for the duration of the rest from the beginning it is written (again for that voice).

Let us know if you get it. This is too important to be confused about.


I'm kinda confused with a few things. How could it be in 4/4 if you are using all 8th notes instead of quarter notes?

(1)----(2)--(3)--(4)----(5)--(6)--
Q 8 8 Q 8 8

^ Is that right? Am I understanding the note duration right on the notes?

And can you mix more than 2 note types together? Like maybe quarter, 8ths and even 16ths?
Current Gear:
Mexican Fender Telecaster
Robert Smith custom Jazzmaster
Stratocaster
Vox AC4TV
#10
A whole note lasts a whole bar (in 4/4 time), a half note lasts half a bar, so you can fit two in a bar, each lasting two beats/clicks of the metronome. A quarter note lasts a quarter of a bar, and therfore there can be four of them in the bar, each lasting a beat (a metronome playing in 4/4 has a click on each beat). An eight note lasts an eighth of a bar, so there could be no more than eight of them in the bar - eighth notes last half of a beat and therfore there are two eight notes for each metronome click. Sixteenth notes last a sixteenth of a bar and therefor there can be sixteen of them in a bar - there are four sixteenth notes in a beat/metronome click.

There are even smaller note divisions than 16th notes (32nd notes, 64th - even 128th but I doubt my brain could process sounds that fast). You can have more than two of these note types together, as long as they add up to a whole bar. So you could have two quarter notes, two eighth notes and sixteen 32nd notes - if you add those fractions up they will equal one. Try visualise it as a pie chart.

Theres more to rhythms than just these note divisions such as dotted notes, triplets, quintuplets etc


I recommend downloading guitar pro and trying to write some music (anything, even if its shite) with tabs. In order for it to playback properly you will have to have given each note the correct duration (value). If you havent the bar will be red coloured rather than black, indication it is too long or too short. The program certainly taught me a lot about this stuff.
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#11
Quote by unicornfist
I'm kinda confused with a few things. How could it be in 4/4 if you are using all 8th notes instead of quarter notes?
The time signature indicates what the reference note length is in the piece (bottom number) and how many of them there are per measure (top number). It doesn't limit you to what you can use.

Like Hydra150 wrote, you can use any combination of note durations per measure that adds up to the 4 quarters equivalent. That means 1 whole, 2 halves, 4 quarters, 8 eights, and so on. Or you can have a combination of the above (well, not with the whole note obviously). You can even make longer notes than fit in a measure if you tie notes between measures. (You'll see a little arc joining the two notes, sometimes within a measure too).

(1)----(2)--(3)--(4)----(5)--(6)--
Q 8 8 Q 8 8

^ Is that right? Am I understanding the note duration right on the notes?
Yes, that's right.

Another common time signature is 6/8. So here the reference is the eighth note, and you need to fit 6 per measure, or any combination that adds up to the same sum.

Why are there so many time signatures, and why not write everything in 4/4? Well, the top number, the beats per measure, is an indication of the kind of piece you're looking at. 4 beats are most common. 2 beats per minute are (or were) used for marches. It simulates soldiers walking in a parade. Lots of national anthems are written (originally) in 2/2 too, because they are basically marches.

Pieces in 3 are typical for walzes. The 3 beats correspond to the steps of the dance. The first beat is accentuated a bit against the two others. While with the march (2/2) the first beat is strong and the second is weak.

In 4/4 the first beat is strong, the second is weak, the third is stronger than the second, but weaker than the first and the last beat is weak like the second.

There are more subtleties with the eighths as unit, but this post is too long already as it is.
Quote by Hydra150
even 128th but I doubt my brain could process sounds that fast
If you see 32nds or above, they're likely to be played fast. But here's another misconception: the time signature is not an indication of speed. The composer or the player/singer, can choose how long the reference note lasts.

Above a classical piece (and sometimes pop and rock songs too) there's an indication that tells you how quickly your reference note is to be played. This is written in beats per minute. So if you have 60 quarters per minute, you'll play slower than if it is set to 80 quarters a minute. (This number is the speed setting on a metronome).

Sorry for the long post. Ask away if you have more questions.
Last edited by Withakay at Jun 27, 2011,