Learn about Rhythm
Home - Fundamentals - Rhythm? - Beat and Tempo - Meter and Durations - Note Values
To make music and rhythms easier to read, beats are grouped into measures. The measures are marked by vertical lines on the staff. They are called measure lines, or bar lines.
The number of beats in a measure is determined by the meter and is indicated by the time signature, which consists of two numbers written vertically.
The top number in the time signature indicates the number of beats in a measure. The bottom number in the time signature indicates what note value is equal to one beat. We will begin with three different time signatures:
Two beats in a measure. The quarter note equals one beat. Pronounced “two-four.”
Three beats in a measure. The quarter note equals one beat. Pronounced “three-four.”
Four beats in a measure. The quarter note equals one beat. Pronounced “four-four.”
2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 are not the only possible time signatures, but they are very common. In fact, 4/4 is also called common time and is sometimes represented by this symbol:
Continue on to the next step of the introduction: Counting Rhythms
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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!
The online metronome that counts the beat, subdivides, and offers encouraging practice tips.
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