Learn about Rhythm
Up to this point, all of the rhythm patterns in The Fundamentals of Rhythm have been in time signatures with the quarter note equal to one beat. However, the quarter note is not always equal to one beat.
Recall from the introduction at the beginning of the book that the bottom number in the time signature tells us what note value is equal to one beat. When the bottom number is 4, then the quarter note is equal to one beat. This lesson features a time signature in which the quarter note is not the unit of measurement: 2/2, which is more frequently called cut time. It is represented with the symbol of a letter C with a line running through it, as shown below.
The top number indicates that there are two beats in a measure and the bottom number indicates that the half note is equal to one beat. The relative length of each note value remains the same, regardless of the time signature. For example, a whole note is always equal to the length of two half notes tied together. However, the number of beats a note is played depends on the time signature. The chart below shows how many beats each note will be played in cut time. The patterns in this lesson demonstrate how they will be counted.
One whole note = two half notes = 2 beats:
One dotted half note = a half note tied to a quarter note = 1 1/2 beats:
One dotted quarter note = a quarter note tied to an eighth note = 3/4 of a beat:
One quarter note = half of a half note = 1/2 a beat:
One eighth note = one fourth of a half note = 1/4 of a beat:
Learn how to play in time signatures with the eighth note equal to one beat in Lesson 12.
Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.