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Rhythmic Notation: Note Values

All of this information in the previous introduction sections can be communicated from one musician to another through the use of rhythmic notation. We can indicate any aspect of music and rhythm by writing it down on paper or inputting it into a computer. The Fundamentals of Rhythm uses rhythmic notation to communicate patterns that will teach you the fundamentals of rhythm and help you improve your music reading skills.

The durations of sounds are represented in written music by note values. Here are examples of some note values.

Example of different note values

Lesson 1 features the quarter note, which is shown below.

The Quarter Note

= The Quarter Note



The Staff

Note values are written on a staff (the plural of staff is staves). Most instruments read music on a staff that is a group of five parallel lines, as shown below. However, the patterns in The Fundamentals of Rhythm are written on a one-line staff, which is often used for percussion music.

Example of a five-line staff


Example of a one-line staff


Continue on to the next step of the introduction and music notation: Measures, and Time Signatures
Back to the Table of Contents



Get the Book

The Fundamentals of Rhythm, book by Kyle Coughlin

Fundamentals of Rhythm book

If you would like all of this information in book format so that you can put it on your music stand and practice it wherever you go, get The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin. The book includes all of the lesson information and practice exercises found on the website.


Use MetronomeBot for a fun online metronome!

MetronomeBot, the talking online metronome

The online metronome that counts the beat, subdivides, and offers encouraging practice tips.

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