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Sormelharf Home > Rhythm > Rhythmic Notation

A Basic Introduction to Rhythm

Part 3: Rhythmic Notation

Writing music on paper or on a computer is the musical equivalent of using letters to write words and sentences. Writing down music allows us to record new ideas, save them for later, and compose music for ourselves and others to perform. The ability to read music allows us to play compositions in any style from almost any period of musical history. Music is truly a universal language -- once you know how to read music, you can play compositions written by anyone in the world, regardless of the country in which they reside or the language that they speak.

Music is written on a staff, which we learned about in the section on Sound. It is a group of five parallel lines that looks like this:

The Musical Staff

The staff is divided into measures by lines that run straight up and down like this:

Measure Lines

These lines are called measure lines or bar lines.

View the next section on rhythm which explains meter.

Sormelharf Home > Rhythm >Rhythmic Notation

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