A Good Way To Understand Rhythm Notation

A Good Way To Understanding Rhythm Notation

Ever thought to yourself ,is rhythm notation is important to learn? Today I’m going to talk about how to understand certain rhythm notations. First, let’s talk about quarter notes, a quarter note is a note that has a value of one beat. Here is an example of what quarter note looks like:

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So now we’ve talked about quarter notes, let’s take a step back and talk about whole notes. What is a whole note? A whole note is a note that has the value of 4 beats, this means you play the note and let it ring for 4 beats.

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You’re probably wondering, why rhythm notation is important. A couple of things that make rhythm notation so important are, you will know at the exact time when a note needs to be played, this will make it so you don’t have to keep listening to that part of that song that you’ve been trying to nail for weeks. Also over time, when you learn enough rhythm patterns will be able to pick them out of your favorite songs. This in terms, means that you will be able to learn songs much faster.

Here is what is called a half note, a half note is a note that has a value of 2 beats.

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A way to look at this is to take the duration of a whole note and cut it in half that’s how long you should play a half note for. Next, let’s talk about eighth notes, eighth notes are a subdivision of a quarter note. What that means, is two eighth notes equal one-quarter note, here is an example below.

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Now we’re going talk about time signatures, today we’re just going to talk about 4/4 timing, this also called common time. So let’s talk about the top number, the top number four means there are four notes in a measure and the bottom number means what kind of note value gets the beat, which in this case, the note value is a quarter.

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Let’s talk about now another time signature that is very common, this is called 3/4, this time signature is known for having a waltz type of feeling. The top number means there are 3 beats in this measure and bottom means the value of those beats are quarter notes.

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One last thing I want to talk about today is quarter rests. What is a quarter rest? A quarter rest is a period of silence that lasts the same length as a quarter note.

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So why is this stuff above important? All of the things that we talked about today is important because it all relates to rhythm and understanding how to read rhythms. Rhythm is by far one of the most important subjects in music. So here is an exercise you can do and you won’t even have to have your guitar to do it. Take the material above and write out as many variations you can think of.

About the author, Zach Payton is a guitar teacher based out of Lewiston Idaho, that likes helping his students become musicians.