We can divide time into equal units of time, divided by beats.
We can describe durations of notess consisting of a certain number of beats (see "Durations" below).
We can also stress some beats more than other beats. The pattern created by differently stressed beats is called the meter.
Duple meter is the pattern of two beats: a strong beat followed by a weak beat.
Triple meter is the pattern of three beats: a strong beat followed by two weak beats.
Many larger meters are created by combining these simple meters. The length of the meter is the measure. The measure is equal to a number of beats corresponding to the meter.
Subdivision of beats/ equivalent beats
|notes||# of beats||name||rests|
So, one whole note lasts as long as 2 half-notes, or 4 quarter notes.
Parts of a note
Some notes are made up of "heads, stems, and flags."
* the stem of a note is either on the left pointing down, or on the right pointing up.
* If a flag is present, it is on the right side of the stem.
Sometimes multiple notes with flags follow each other, and a beam is used instead of flags.
Sometimes beats are further subdivided. You can take a beat (or group of beats) and create equal subdivisions of them.
As an example:
here a triplet of half-notes has been created. the triplet takes the same number of beats as two half-notes.
here the quintuplet of eighth notes is equal to a half-beat, the same as two eighth notes.
When a dot is placed after a note or root, it adds half of the duration of that note or rest (or even another dot).
When a composer wishes to suggest an appropriate tempo for a piece, they can make it with a metronome indication stating how many beats per minute it should be performed at.
says that there should be 69 beats per minute. you can set a metronome to the appropriate beat.
Ranges of tempos are given names that coul dbe used instead of an exact tempo. Common names include
name BPM meaning ---- --- ------- Largo 40-60 Slow Larghet 60-66 Adagio 66-76 Andante 76-108 Moderato 108-120 Moderately Allegro 120-168 fast Presto 168-200 Very fast Prestissimo 200-208 (still faster)
Next lesson is on Modes and Progressions revisited.
How do I change all those numbers to letters (for notes, chords, etc.)? Here's a transposition chart simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/guitar/8theory3.html
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Next lesson - Modes and Progressions revisited
Previous lesson - Pitch Notation (Beginners Theory series, pt.2)
Last updated February 6, 2003
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