Learn about Rhythm
In Lesson 11 we learned about cut time, the time signature in which the half note is equal to one beat. There are other time signatures with the half note equal to one beat, as well. Although most of these do not occur frequently, it is possible to have any number of beats in a measure, so you may encounter 3/2, 4/2, 5/2, 6/2, etc. 3/2 is fairly common, so this lesson will focus on that time signature. Each note value will be the same length as it is in cut time.
In this lesson we will also learn 6/4 time, which can be performed in two different ways. At slower tempos, 6/4 is counted with the quarter note equal to one beat, and six beats per measure.
At faster tempos we can perform music in 6/4 with two beats in a measure and with the dotted half note equal to one beat. When the dotted half note is equal to one beat 6/4 becomes a compound meter with the beat subdivided into three equal parts. We can subdivide it using the same syllables as we did for 6/8.
The examples below show how long each note value will be held when the dotted half note equals one beat.
One dotted whole note = two dotted half notes = 2 beats:
One half note = two-thirds of a dotted half note = 2/3 of a beat:
One quarter note = one-third of a dotted half note = 1/3 of a beat:
One eighth note = one-sixth of a dotted half note = 1/6 of a beat:
Learn how to play in odd meter in Lesson 19.
Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.