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IAN STEPHENSON on Rhythm: Lesson #2


LESSON POINTS:
 Quaver and semiquaver rhythms
[eighth and sixteenth]
In the last lesson we counted crotchet (quarter note) beats as 1,2,3,4...
      |       |       |       |        |       |       |       |
      |       |       |       |        |       |       |       |
|4/4-@|------@|------@|------@|-----|-@|------@|---- -@|------@|------||
|    1       2       3       4      | 1       2       3       4       ||
When these are divided into quavers, the extra notes are placed by counting 1,&,2,&,3,&,4,&. Notes are played both on the numbers, and the &s, with a slight emphasis on the first of each pair:
      |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\   |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\  |\
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--||
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   ||
We're now getting rather a lot of notes, so in order to make things clearer the grouping of quavers into pairs (to make crotchets) and groups of four (to make minims) is explicitly marked by joining the tails of the notes together where this is possible, and makes semantic sense.
                                         _____
                         |\  |\          |   | 
                         |   |    =>     |   | 
                        @|  @|          @|  @| 

                                         _____________
                 |\  |\  |\  |\          |   |   |   | 
                 |   |   |   |    =>     |   |   |   | 
                @|  @|  @|  @|          @|  @|  @|  @| 
So the previus pattern could be more clearly written as:
      _____________   _____________    _____________   _____________
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--||
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   ||
We could even have grouped this pattern in eights, but this would probably make it more difficult to read - the object is to make it obvious where the strong beats lie. For this reason quavers should only be paired like this when they form a larger beat, i.e., the following groupings are incorrect:
          _____________   _________            _____________
      |\  |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |\  |\  |   |   |   |   |\  |\ 
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--||
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   ||
So now for some quaver rhythms:

Every possible combination of crotchets and quavers is included in the following excersise. Practise each bar individually, then try putting the whole section together. Eventually you should be able to recognise a whole bar bar a glance.

      _____________   _____________    _____________   _____________
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |

              _____   _____________    _____           _____________
      |       |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |       |   |   |   | 
      |       |   |   |   |   |   |    |   |   |       |   |   |   |
|----@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |

      _____________           _____    _____________   _____
      |   |   |   |   |       |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   |  
      |   |   |   |   |       |   |    |   |   |   |   |   |   | 
|----@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------@|--@|-|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |

                      _____________            _____           _____
      |       |       |   |   |   |    |       |   |   |       |   | 
      |       |       |   |   |   |    |       |   |   |       |   |
|----@|------@|------@|--@|--@|--@|-|-@|------@|--@|--@|------@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |
              _____   _____            _____                   _____
      |       |   |   |   |   |        |   |   |       |       |   | 
      |       |   |   |   |   |        |   |   |       |       |   |
|----@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-----|-@|--@|--@|------@|------@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |
      _____           _____            _____________
      |   |   |       |   |   |        |   |   |   |   |       | 
      |   |   |       |   |   |        |   |   |   |   |       |
|----@|--@|--@|------@|--@|--@|-----|-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------@|------|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |

      _____                                    _____
      |   |   |       |       |        |       |   |   |       | 
      |   |   |       |       |        |       |   |   |       |
|----@|--@|--@|------@|------@|-----|-@|------@|--@|--@|------@|------|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |
                      _____                                    _____
      |       |       |   |   |        |       |       |       |   | 
      |       |       |   |   |        |       |       |       |   |
|----@|------@|------@|--@|--@|-----|-@|------@|------@|------@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |
                                       _____________
      |       |       |       |        |   |   |   |   | 
      |       |       |       |        |   |   |   |   | 
|----@|------@|------@|------@|-----|-@|--@|--@|--@|--O|-------------||
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  ||
Once you've mastered each bar of the above individually you should be able to sight read these rhythms, no matter what order they're presented in:
      _____________   _____            _____                   _____ 
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |        |   |   |       |       |   | 
      |   |   |   |   |   |   |        |   |   |       |       |   |
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|-----|-@|--@|--@|------@|------@|--@|--|
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   |

      _____           _____                    _____   _____
      |   |   |       |   |   |        |       |   |   |   |   |     
      |   |   |       |   |   |        |       |   |   |   |   | 
|----@|--@|--@|------@|--@|--@|-----|-@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------||
|    1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &  | 1   &   2   &   3   &   4   &   ||
Semiquaver rhythms are rwice as fast as quaver rhythms, but the patterns are exactly the same. Provided you've grasped the above exercises semiquavers should be of no difficulty.

Semiquavers are grouped together into pairs, much like quavers are, but with a double tail holding them together:

                                         _____
                         |\  |\          +---+ 
                         |\  |\   =>     |   | 
                        @|  @|          @|  @| 


                                         _____________
                 |\  |\  |\  |\          +---+---+---+ 
                 |\  |\  |\  |\   =>     |   |   |   | 
                @|  @|  @|  @|          @|  @|  @|  @|
In addition a pair of semiquavers may be grouped with a quaver to produce a block of notes with the value of a crotchet:
                                         _____________
                 |\      |\  |\          |       +---+ 
                 |       |\  |\   =>     |       |   | 
                @|      @|  @|          @|      @|  @|

                                         _____________
                 |\  |\  |\              +---+       | 
                 |\  |\  |        =>     |   |       | 
                @|  @|  @|              @|  @|      @|

and so on into bigger groups. Practise each of these paterns in turn,to see 
how they relate to the previously practised quaver/crotchet patterns.

For completeness here are a few patterns using semiquavers:

      _____________   _________       _________        
      +---+---+---+   |       |       |       |       |  
      |   |   |   |   |       |       |       |       | 
|4/4-@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------@|------@|------@|------@|--------------|
|    1       &       2       &       3       &       4       &       |

      _____________   _____________   _____________   _________
      +---+       |   |       +---+   +---+---+---+   |       | 
      |   |       |   |       |   |   |   |   |   |   |       | 
|----@|--@|------@|--@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------@|------|
|    1       &       2       &       3       &       4       &       |
                      _________       _____________   ______________
      |               +---+   |       |       +---+   +---+---+---+ 
      |               |   |   |       |       |   |   |   |   |   |
|----@|--------------@|--@|--@|------@|------@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--@|--|
|    1       &       2       &       3       &       4       &       |
      _____________   _________       _________       
      +---+---+---+   |       |       +---+   |       |  
      |   |   |   |   |       |       |   |   |       | 
|----@|--@|--@|--@|--@|------@|------@|--@|--@|------@|--------------||
|    1       &       2       &       3       &       4       &       ||

End of Lesson #2. [Ian Stephenson on Rhythm: Lesson#3 Ian Stephenson on Rhythm: Lesson#1] [BassWork Index]