I feel like I'm still shaky in understanding even the basics when it comes down to reading rhythms. I know that in 4/4 time you would count eighth notes as (one and) and sixteenth as (one-and-a) but I get totally lost when it's say something like an eighth note and a quarter note proceeding it followed by say.. let's say a dotted eighth? I just get so confused, even with the inclusion of ties and and dots and I get what they do, but can't seem to figure it out when I read sheet that has all of this put together.

If someone were to be kind enough to help me out here I'd really appreciate it, would it be too much to ask if I wanted examples of how to take apart rhythm in a different time signature like 3/2 or 5/8?

Thanks again guys
Everything shorter than a whole note is a subdivision, technically.

Usually you mean subdividing the actual beat, which, in most music, is a quarter note or a dotted quarter note. In time signatures ending in 4, the beat is on quarter notes, and each of those subdivides into two 8th notes. Each 8th note subdivides into tw 16ths, each 16th into two 32nds, etc.

In any kind of 4 time:
whole = 2 halves = 4 quarters = 16 sixteenths

In a time signatures like 3/8, 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8, the beat is on a dotted quarter, and each of those beats subdivides into three 8th notes. BUT each of those 8ths still only subdivides into two 16ths.

So, in those triple meters, you have:

dotted quarter = three 8ths = six sixteenths (grouped in twos)

---------

Don't worry so much about what syllables to use when counting, but try to place the note relative to the beat.

Try writing out some really basic rhythms. Start with 4 quarter notes. Then 3 quarter notes and two 8ths. Move that group of 8ths so it's falls on different beats (like 1+2 3 4; 1 2+3 4; etc).

Then add a lengthened note - two qauarters, a dotted quarter, and an 8th. You'd count 1 2 3 4+. And like above, move that dotted quarter/8th pattern through out the measure.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 3, 2013,
Quote by BrownGibsonDude
I feel like I'm still shaky in understanding even the basics when it comes down to reading rhythms. I know that in 4/4 time you would count eighth notes as (one and) and sixteenth as (one-and-a) but I get totally lost when it's say something like an eighth note and a quarter note proceeding it followed by say.. let's say a dotted eighth? I just get so confused, even with the inclusion of ties and and dots and I get what they do, but can't seem to figure it out when I read sheet that has all of this put together.

If someone were to be kind enough to help me out here I'd really appreciate it, would it be too much to ask if I wanted examples of how to take apart rhythm in a different time signature like 3/2 or 5/8?

Thanks again guys

Quote by mdc

It's best to be able to do both
Yeah it is. I got the impression TS was only reading about it and not combining it with physical application.
Quote by cdgraves
Everything shorter than a whole note is a subdivision, technically.

False. Anything smaller than the division of the beat (which determines whether or not you are playing a simple, compound, or hybrid meter) is subdivision.
Quote by mdc
Yeah it is. I got the impression TS was only reading about it and not combining it with physical application.

Yea that's very important to actually do it and mess around after reading about it.
Quote by rob904
False. Anything smaller than the division of the beat (which determines whether or not you are playing a simple, compound, or hybrid meter) is subdivision.

Hence, the entire rest of my post that you did not read.
In general:

quarter notes - 1 2 3 4

eighth notes - 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

sixteenth notes - 1 ee and ah 2 ee and ah 3 ee and ah 4 eh and ah

eight note triplets - 1 and ah 2 and ah 3 and ah 4 and ah
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

I get what you guys are saying but I can't really apply anything that I don't understand.

I understand how a series of eighth notes or sixteenth notes would be counted if there was a bunch of them in a row but what I don't understand is how I would count a single sixteenth note or an eighth note if it were placed say before a quarter note in a 4/4 measure.

I understand maybe people don't want to type out a huge paragraph to help out a newbie with this, but if anyone can spare me a couple of moments to just clarify this and put some actual examples I'd really appreciate it. Rhythms aren't particularly hard for me when I have the actual music to listen to, it's when it's just in sheet format that I don't understand.
``````1 ti te ta 2
* *---------``````
modes are a social construct
I don't know about most people, but for me, I don't count single notes. I count every note. If it's at a reasonable tempo, I just count the smallest regular note. Say I'm in a measure of 4/4 and it's almost all 16ths. I just count the 16ths. If the rhythm changes to an 8th, I just count two 16ths. If the rhythm changes to 32nds I just count one 16ths for every two 32nds.
"I agree with Matthew about everything" - Everyone
What Hail means is that you just use the corresponding rhythm syllable to wherever that 8th or 16th appears within the beat.

If you have...

Four 16ths = 1 e & a 2
8th and two 16ths = 1 _ & a 2
Dotted 8th and one = 16th 1 _ _ a 2

Two 16ths and an 8th = 1 e & _ 2
One 16th and a dotted 8th = 1 e _ _ 2

And then if you have a tie, you'd just omit the downbeat syllable, so it'd be: _ e & a 2; _ _ & a 2; etc.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 5, 2013,
That makes more sense! I'm still kind of struggling though, if I can ask for one more thing (I know you've guys have been exceptionally patient with me already) can you guys look at these examples and tell me how they are counted? I know these might be harder examples but this would really help me understand how you guys go about breaking stuff apart.

http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q684/Christopher_Flores/b8bbaa745b495660edf1e5392ba16f29_zps9b21f870.jpg

http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q684/Christopher_Flores/e85a362176f4ff9d56b0064511ebdce4_zps560710ac.jpg

http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q684/Christopher_Flores/2eb783c28cda62a58ebd0496cb1d5752_zpsd730934e.jpg
The first one is:

1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 & 4 & 1 &

I think you need to start with some very basic counting and reading. Do you know your basic not lengths? I suggest going through and writing the beats above each bar in your music.

Try to think of note values in terms of addition and subtraction. If you know a half note is 2 beats long, how many quarter notes fit in the remaining half measure? How many 8ths?
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 7, 2013,
Quote by cdgraves
The first one is:

1 2 3 4 & 1 2 3 & 4 & 1 &

I think you need to start with some very basic counting and reading. Do you know your basic not lengths? I suggest going through and writing the beats above each bar in your music.

Try to think of note values in terms of addition and subtraction. If you know a half note is 2 beats long, how many quarter notes fit in the remaining half measure? How many 8ths?

I thought I did

What do you mean about writing the beats in each bar though? What I get confused with is where an eighth or sixteenth note would fall in the beat.

Do you mean

1-2-3-4

And then eighth notes would be

1[&]2[&]3[&]4 - So are eighths always on the upbeat? So how would a dotted eighth for example work here?

Sixteenth notes confuse the hell out of me, what I'm looking for is how would a sixteenth or eighth work if it were just one of them in a single measure.

Thanks again, physically seeing the examples with the way you counted them out really helped me understand it a bit better but I'm missing alot :l
Those rhythm syllables refer to a place within the beat, not the length of note. "&" does not mean it's an 8th note in duration, only that it falls on the upbeat.

I think you need to go back and make sure you know your basic rhythm durations. Don't worry about these rhythm syllables right now. Start with something like tapping/clapping exercises, you can find plenty on google.

Do you know how many 16ths are in a quarter note, etc? are you able to count a measure of straight 16ths?
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 7, 2013,