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Lesson 12: Time Signatures with the Eighth Note Equal to One Beat

Practice PatternsLesson 12 Practice Patterns

 

As we learned in Lesson 11, the quarter note is not always equal to one beat. In cut time, the half note is equal to one beat. This lesson introduces time signatures in which the eighth note is equal to one beat.

The Eighth Note Beat

Three very common time signatures are 3/8, 4/8, and 6/8. The top number indicates how many beats are in a measure, and the bottom number “8” indicates that the eighth note is equal to one beat. The relative length of each note remains the same, but the number of beats that they are played is now different.

Here is a chart similar to the one in Lesson 11, but this one shows how long each note will be played with the eighth note equal to one beat.

One dotted half note = six eighth notes = 6 beats:
A dotted half note equals 6 beats when the eighth note is one beat.

 

One half note = four eighth notes = 4 beats:
A half note equals 4 beats when the eighth note is one beat.

 

One dotted quarter note = three eighth notes = 3 beats:
A dotted quarter note equals 3 beats when the eighth note is one beat.

 

One quarter note = two eighth notes = 2 beats:
A quarter note equals 2 beats when the eighth note is one beat.

 

 

 

The whole rest indicates an entire measure of silence, regardless of the time signature.

In 3/8 the whole note represents three beats of silence, in 4/8 it represents four beats of silence, and in 6/8 it represents six beats of silence.

Whole rests in 3/8, 4/8, and 6/8

 

Practice SuggestionsLesson 12 Practice Suggestions

Practice PatternsLesson 12 Practice Patterns

 

Practice patterns with the eighth note equal to one beat

 

Learn how to play subdivided eighth note beats in Lesson 13.

Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.

 

 

 

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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