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Basic Rhythm

So then, what does all this have anything to do with a time signature? Well, a lot. I'll show you how all this is implemented into the time signature. Remember when I showed you that the top number in a time signature shows the number of beats each measure gets? For example, in 4/4, 4/2, 4/8 time signatures, we have four beats in the measure. The bottom number shows the musician which division or note gets the beat. In a 4/4 time signature, the quarter notes gets the beat. Since there are four beats in a measure, there are four quarter notes in a measure in a 4/4 time signature. In a 3/4 time signature, we have three beats to the measure and each quarter note gets a beat - so there are three quarter notes in each measure, or six eighth note.

In, a 2/2 time signature there are two beats to a measure and a half note gets a beat. Therefore there are two half notes in a measure. In a 4/2 time signature, there are four beats to a measure and a half note gets a beat. Thus, there are four half notes in a measure, or eight quarter notes or sixteen eighth notes in a measure. Or two whole notes...heehee, just had to add that there. How many eighth notes are there in a measure with a 3/8 time signature? Answer: 3. The three in 3/8 tells us there are three beats to a measure and the eight tells us that the eighth note gets a beat, therefore there are three eighth notes to a measure.

Okay, in order for you to learn rhythm and tempo to a pretty good degree, you must participate in some hands-on activities. One of the least favorite but necessary activies almost all musicians must do is clap and count. During this activity, your counting stays steady. But your clapping varies in terms of the music. All the clapping and counting you'll do in Lesson #2: Basic Rhythm will be in 4/4, to make it easier. To begin, click next to continue.

Clapping and counting may be a little hard at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Here's what you do. Download the following midi file and start playing it.


You'll, hear a higher pitched sound every four beats. This indicates the start of the measure. Each beat worth one quarter note. Remember that. Now start counting one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Remember to count one on the higher pitched note. Keep repeating it. Also, remember not to close the midi file...you'll need it later.

Keep, counting and don't stop. Once you feel comfortable with your counting, go ahead and concentrate on the above picture of a bar (group of measures). You see the numbers under the notes? That's your counting. Go ahead and clap wherever you see a note, and don't stop counting. Keep repeating until you think you got it perfectly. If, you're done and think you got it perfectly correct. Go ahead and listen to the following correct MIDI File. Your clap should go where the piano note is played.

If, you got it right, Congratulations! If not, try it again. You'll get it soon enough. Once you've gotten it right, don't count up to eight, but now count up to four and repeat it. So you'll now say 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

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