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Sormelharf Home > Rhythm > Clapping and Counting Quarter Notes

An Introduction to Performing Rhythms

Part 1: Clapping and Counting Quarter Notes

To perform written rhythms, we need to have a clear understanding of the following terms: beat, tempo, meter, time signature, and duration. If you haven't already done so, please read the Basic Introduction to Rhythm.

We will begin with rhythms in three of the most common times signatures: 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4. The bottom number is “4” for all of these time signatures, so therefore, the quarter notes is equal to one beat.

One of the best ways to learn rhythms and perform them accurately is to clap the rhythms while counting the beats. It is a simple process in which we count every beat in the measure and clap at the beginning of each note.

Here are examples with four measures of repeating quarter notes in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time. Since each quarter note is equal to one beat, you will clap on every beat. For all of the examples in this section, you will hear MetronomeBot counting along with you on every beat.

Clapping and counting is very helpful for learning rhythms, but there is one drawback -- when you clap your hands together, the sound is not sustained. An instant after you clap your hands, the sound stops. The quarter notes in these examples are each one full beat, but the sound of your hands clapping is only a small fraction of one beat.

Another way to practice rhythms is to play them on an instrument that can sustain tones for a long period of time. Woodwinds, brass, strings, and most keyboard instruments can sustain a tone for much longer than one beat. By practicing rhythms on one of those instruments, we can play notes for their full value.

The following example is the same as the above clapping example in 2/4 time, but instead of clapping, you will hear the rhythms played on a keyboard.

Rhythm Home
Part 1: Clapping and Counting Quarter Notes
Part 2: Quarter Rests
Part 3: Half Notes
Part 4: Dotted Half Notes and Whole Notes
Part 5: Half Rests
Part 6: Whole Rests

Sormelharf Home > Rhythm >Clapping and Counting Quarter Notes

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