So this is an example of a time signature. Before I explain how it relates to beats and so on let me explain what it means. On the right side of the Treble Clef (which I had explained in the previous lesson). There is numbers, in this case its 4/4 which means each measure gets 4 beats and the quarter note gets the 1 count. To explain that more we will just focus on the top number for now which indicates how many beats are in one measure.
First, let me explain the different types of notes there are in musical literature.
So following the time signature that we are at (4/4) lets break down the measures.
- Whole notes means 1 note in 1 measure
- Half notes means 2 notes in 1 measure
- Quarter notes means 4 notes in 1 measure
- Eighth notes means 8 notes in 1 measure
- Sixteenth notes means 16 notes in 1 measure.
Ok so we can go on forever with this but you should get the math now. Moving on, now that you see what the top part of the time signature means let’s look at the bottom which should be a little easier to pick up. Long story short each note is given a number value like so:
- whole notes =1
- half notes =2
- quarter notes=4
- eighth notes=8
- 16th notes=16
So if we change the time signature to 4/8 it means we get 4 notes per measure and the eight note is counted as 1. So anytime you see an eighth notes you just count it as 1, 2, 3, 4-new measure.
Now let’s see how this will relate to studio work or music writing. Now the base of any song is the beat of the song. Now usually we would just assume that it’s the drum pattern which is true in most cases but remember it is not limited to just drums. So without getting complicated let’s look at counting a simple beat. Now we will count a measure in quarter notes with a time signature in 4/4
Now the count will be 1234 then repeat.
So following that count we will use that basic beat on a typical high hat or cymbal. So tap the cymbal for every beat in that measure following that counting pattern. Next we will look at the bass which will be played on EVERY odd number so in this case 1 &3 and last the snare drum which will be played on all the even numbers 2&4.