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Master Theory Online

Lessons 9-14

Whole/Half/Quarter Note Rhythms

These lessons are very important to the student not only because the involve counting skills, but because they teach the student Master Theory's language for counting. The most unique and helpful facet of this language is its use of the letter "R" for rests--no matter what their value. The use of this device is controversial, but it is very helpful in the learning process.

The reason for this is that in most music classes, students will write straight beat information beneath a piece of music, including the rests. When they recite what they've written, however, they are making sound during the period of time when a rest is in effect. This often causes them to skip over these rests when applying the exercise to their instrument. Master Theory's use of the letter "R" for rests benefits the student by signalling him/her to be totally silent during rests, when reciting the rhythmic information that they have written below the passage in question. This helps greatly to reinforce their recognition and handing of rests.

Common Snag #1 - Starting in Lesson 9, watch carefully how some beat numbers are separate and others are joined by a dash. Dashes connect beats which occur within the same note. Note the middle example with the half notes. The Beats are notated as "1-2 3-4." Beats 1 and 2 are connected, and this means that the note is sounded on 1 and sustains itself through 2. Likewise with beats 3 and 4.  Beats 2 and 3 are not connected with a dash because Beat 3 marks the beginning of the next note.

Common Snag #2 - Because all of Lesson 9's examples are in 4/4 time, many students rush through Lesson 10 under the assumption that the same is true. It is not. Be careful. You won't have 1-2-3-4 in a 3/4 time example like #2. There will only be three beats per measure. Example #4 is 2/4, so there won't be four beats per measure there, either. This also translates over to Ex. #7, which is in 2/4 time. Technically, you have the choice of filling measures with quarter, half or whole notes--but how can you fit a whole note into a 2/4 measure?

Common Snag #3 - In Lessons 11 & 12, don't forget that each beat of rest gets its own separate "R." If you have two beats of rest, for example, you would note it as "R-R."

Common Snag #4 - In Lesson 12 (as with Lesson 10) you always have to watch your time signature. Common Snag #2 can repeat itself here if you're not careful.


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