Learn about Rhythm
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.
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:
One half note = four eighth notes = 4 beats:
One dotted quarter note = three eighth notes = 3 beats:
One quarter note = two eighth notes = 2 beats:
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.
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.