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Country Vocals Lessons: Ear Training - Notating Rhythm & Meter

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Let's dig a little bit deeper
into one of my favorite
aspects of music the rhythm.
The beat, the groove, we're going to take
a look at how rhythm is notated,
and defined and
how musicians communicate
in terms of rhythm.
We've already talked
about the vocabulary of
meter which is the underlying
pulse of accents
that lives underneath a groove and
One, two, three, four, one, two,
three, four, one, two, three,
four, that's a meter, I am giving
this meter at a particular tempo.
So the tempo is how many beats you
feel within a certain span of time.
And we usually speak about
beats per minute, so,
how many beats happen in
the span of 60 seconds.
That's how we define tempo,
typically we speak of beats per minute.
So we've talked about meter and tempo.
Now, we're gonna put it in application.
So when you hear a drummer count
off that wonderful, familiar,
how many times have we heard it?
1, 2, 3, 4 his hitting his
sticks together counting off for
the entire band in a singer and sometimes
for the audience and everybody to hear.
1, 2, 3, 4 he is giving the critical,
a central information for all
the musicians on the stage of tempo and
meter, that's exactly
what he is communicating.
He's giving the pulse,
the underlying pulse that's going to
live underneath the entire song
the whole groove of the song.
And he's giving the tempo,
this is how fast,
this is how many beats per
minute were going to be working.
So I'm gonna ask in to play us a tempo,
let's go for
a tempo of 84 beats per minute.
So what you're gonna hear is a simulation
of a drummer counting off or
laying down,
this is where we are for the groove.
We're at 84 beats per minute with
this underlying pulse of meter.
And our brains,
just love, they love to
hear a pattern like that.
We can and done in lightning fast, so
fast we can't even be conscious of it,
how quickly we recognize.
This is something happening
at a regular interval,
this is something
happening with a pattern.
Our brains love patterns, and
we identify them really quickly, and
we internalize them really quickly.
So let's take a look at what
that beat at that meter and
tempo, what that looks like in notes.
We can notate what that pulse looks like,
and drummers use this kind of notation,
because obviously,
they're not playing pitch and notes.
We're gonna get to that in a minute.
They're not playing pitched notes
they're just playing rhythmic notes,
so this is how drummers
notate just rhythm.
So this is what that meter,
that pulse looks like on paper,
so what your seeing is
A four-four time signature,
that drummer has told us
we've got four beats.
One, two, three, four, we've got four
beats to a measure, one, two, three,
four at that tempo.
So we're going to write our tempo,
which is 84 beats per minute and
we're gonna write that one measure,
that count off measure in quarter notes.
Quarter notes are these black notes
with a stem that show us that
in this time signature four-four which
is what the drummer is defining for
us as the meter of the song 1, 2, 3, 4,
we know it's four beats to a measure.
The way we know that it's quarter notes
is that he has already defined for us.
I'm giving you one fourth of the measure
with every beat or one quarter
of the measure with a quarter note,
that's why we call it a quarter note.
So he's giving us that information
that we are four-four meter,
four beats to a measure with
quarter notes defining each beat.
[SOUND] So let's hear that tempo again.
So here is how those quarter
notes look in one measure.
We're gonna count one, two, three,
four [SOUND] and
that's what they look like.
Now, obviously we need other
kinds of durations, we need other notes.
And we want some notes to be longer,
some notes to be shorter,
and the way we notate that
is very mathematical.
It's very simple and very clear,
and it's always consistent.
So if we see that our quarter
notes are written out like this,
with every quarter note getting one beat,
Let's say we want to hold
a note twice as long.
We want a note that's
twice as long as that.
Two quarter notes
are the equivalent of a half note.
And we write a half note like this,
where it has a clear center,
quarter note has the black,
is solid black, a half note is just
clear in the center or a line around it,
and it looks like this.
So two quarter notes equal a half note.
But a half note has the same
duration as two quarters.
So we hear our pulse, 84 beats per minute,
we see how it's written in quarter notes.
Let's take a look at what that looks like
written with two half notes to a measure.
So here's, I'm gonna clap over this pulse,
the quarter note beats,
one, two, three, four,
that's how that looks.
Now we're gonna clap out two half notes,
cuz we wanna hold the notes
twice as long as the quarters.
One, two, three, four,
half note, half note.
And this is what the half notes look like.
They're clear,
you write a half note with a circle and
a line instead of a solid note and a line.
So it's simple math,
it takes two quarter notes to have
the same duration as a half note.
Well what if you want a note that's held
even twice as long as the half notes?
Or you want a note that is held
the entire duration of the measure,
which is four beats?
Well, we need four quarter notes to
give us the duration of a whole measure.
So four quarter notes
are the same as one whole note.
So here's our pulse, here's our
tempo at 84 beats per minute again.
[SOUND] Here would be a whole note.
I'm gonna clap a whole note.
[SOUND] Two, three, four.
[SOUND] One more time,
[SOUND] two, three, four.
So you can see that four beats or
four quarter notes is
the duration of one measure or
two half notes or one whole note.
Now let's say we want to do
something that's quicker,
twice as fast as the quarter
notes that we have going.
Here's our pulse at 84 beats per minute.
[SOUND] That's our
measure in quarter notes.
Now we wanna do something that's
a little more energetic and
divide those beats in half and
have [SOUND].
That's twice as many beats happening
in the same amount of time.
You have to halve a quarter note
in order to get beats that quick.
[SOUND] And when you half a quarter note,
you get an eighth note,
again, simple math.
So quarter notes, two, three, four.
Eighth notes, [SOUND], one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
That's eight eighth
notes are the equivalent
in duration to four quarter notes,
two half notes,
one, two, [SOUND], or one whole note.
One, two, three, four.
If we stack these measures on top of each
other, it's very clear to see that for
the duration of one measure,
one, two, three, four.
You can write rhythms in that space
of time in quarter note beats,
one, two, three, four.
Half note beats, one, two, three, four.
Whole note beats, one, two, three,
four, and eighth note beats,
one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
[SOUND] Okay,
that gives you a really clear
visual on the relationship
between quarter notes,
half notes, whole notes and eighth notes.
Now if you take those measures,
you can already start to write
the rhythm of a recognizable melody.
And we're gonna do that
with Frere Jacques.
Just the rhythm,
Using these different pieces,
these different elements,
we're gonna clap out the rhythm at
the same tempo, 84 beats per minute.
We're gonna clap out
the rhythm of Frere Jacques.
And if you were writing it out in
rhythmic notation, just the rhythm,
just the beat, it would look like this.
So here's our tempo,
84 beats per minute, [SOUND].
I'm gonna count it off,
one, two, three, four.
then big
We did a big finish cuz I wanted to
show you a whole note.
This is what the rhythm of
Frere Jacques looks like written out.
And you can clearly see
it's just using elements
like the building blocks of rhythm.
These varying patterns of whole notes,
half notes,
quarter notes, and eighth notes.
These are the building
blocks of writing rhythm.