Steady beat – the pulse of music.
Tap to the steady beat in the following excerpts.
You will notice that some notes are equal to the steady beat,
some are longer, and some are shorter.
Durations of Notes
Quarter Note – q lasts for one steady beat
Eighth Note – e two eighth notes are equal to one steady beat
Sixteenth Note – xfour sixteenth notes are equal to one
Half Note – h lasts for two steady beats
Whole Note – w four steady beats long
Rhythmical exercise: tap your foot and clap your hands twice faster than a foot tap.
You will clap two eighth notes (ee) per one quarter (q) foot tap.
Experiment with various note durations.
1 2 3 4
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a
1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4
Durations of Rests
Quarter Rest – lasts for one steady beat
Eighth Rest – two eighth rests equal to one steady beat
Sixteenth Rest – four sixteenth rests equal to one steady
Half Rest – lasts for two steady beats
Whole Rest – four steady beats long
Rests identify measured segments of silence in music.
Rhythm – a pattern of durations of notes synchronized with the steady
Clap the following examples:
q q q q
iq q iq q
h q q
Arrangement of rhythms in a repetitive pattern of strong and
Meters can be classified by counting the number of beats from
one strong beat to the next.
Measure – a segment of time defined by a given number of
Bar lines – vertical lines that separate measures.
The first beat in each measure is always strong.
q q q q q q
Example above can be represented by 2/4 time signature, in
which 2 means that there are two beats in each measure and
4 stands for the value of one beat - 1/4 or a quarter note.
Time signature can be considered as a fraction.
Clap the following excerpts:
q q h iiiq
q q q iq q iq
q q h q q q iq
Clap the following. What are the time signatures?
q q h iiiq jjjq q
q q q iq q iq h q
q q h q q q iq w
3 – three steady beats in each
8 – each beat is equal to an e
Common Time Signatures
• Top numeral indicates how many
beats are in each measure.
• Lower numeral indicates the note
value that represents one beat.
Simple meters – each beat is divided into halves.
• 2/4, 2/2, 4/4, 4/8, ¾
Listen to the 1st Movement of Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony tapping to the
steady beat. The beat can easily be divided onto two eighth notes.
Compound meters – each beat is divided into thirds.
• 6/8, 6/4, 9/8, 12/8
Listen to the final movement of Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto” and tap to its
slow steady beat.
Each beat can easily be split onto three equal portions.
Conductors use hand patterns to communicate meters (time
This helps musicians to follow and play together.
A disruption of the regular flow of rhythm, a replacement of
stresses to where they would not occur.
Please study the following.
Listen to and conduct to the samples on this page.
• http://www.musictheory.net/lessons - read Note
Duration and Measures and Time Signature in the