What are the rhythm patterns

Music theory: rhythm

The musical rhythm is a series of notes of different lengths according to a certain pattern. There are two types of rhythms in Western music today: meter and phrasing.

A meter is a recurring basic rhythm that is arranged in a bar. The two terms meter and time must be differentiated from each other, as the following example illustrates: The meter "waltz" is arranged in 3/4 time. The measure indicates the number of basic beats of a meter as well as their counting unit (with 3/4 time there are 3 basic beats that take place on the rhythmic counting unit quarter). The term meter, on the other hand, specifies this information: It supplements information about the emphasis of these beats and usually an approximate indication of the tempo.

The phrasing is a free rhythm that can stand on its own or takes place in a meter. A phrasing that corresponds to a meter can in this way generate a great rhythmic tension, for example through syncopation, i.e. shifting the accentuation of the phrasing compared to the accentuation of the meter.

Our current notation system is based on a fixed beat, according to which the notated rhythms are oriented in their speed of execution. This has advantages as well as disadvantages: With our notation system, which is mainly designed for the exact notation of multiple sounds, small rhythmic ostinati (recurring elements) can be noted without problems - a complex rhythm that may need to extend beyond a bar but an almost unmanageable amount of breaks or commitments, so that the overview is lost and the rhythm is difficult to read. Since European cultural music grew up with the development of harmony, the rhythms in this music are kept relatively simple. In many other cultures, in jazz and to some extent in popular music, as well as in some forms of contemporary European and American music, rhythm plays a larger role.

It was not always the case that there was a fixed pulse in European cultural music: around 800 and earlier, music performers oriented themselves to the flow of the text they sang or accompanied (e.g. Gregorian chant). Such complex rhythms were recorded using neumes, an early musical notation. However, pitches could not be reproduced with this system.

From the time of the Renaissance onwards, a solid pulse crept into the music with polyphony (more musicians have to be coordinated somehow). This pulse can vary in speed, as is often the case with romantic music, or it can remain quite rigid, which was the taste of the Baroque.

Note values ​​always indicate a temporal relationship to the beat. Example: If a whole measure lasts 4 seconds, a quarter note notated in this measure lasts 1 second, i.e. a quarter as long.

The following symbols apply to the time values ​​of the notes and rests:

When counting beats, there is a natural alternation between stressed and unstressed beats. If there is alternating a stressed and an unstressed beat, then one speaks of a 2-part bar, like in a march. If every accented beat is followed by two unstressed beats, a 3-part measure is created, like in a waltz. If you try to follow a stressed beat of more than two unstressed beats, you will not succeed without one or more of the following beats being given a secondary accent. Two and three-part bars are therefore called simple bars; Bars with more than three beats are called compound.

How many basic beats (beats) are provided in a measure is indicated by the "upper number" of the time signature. This number determines the rhythmic structure of the measure. The lower number of the time signature shows which note represents a beat and is only used to determine the tempo.

One still differentiates even bars and odd measures, with an even or odd number of beats in the measure.

even bars [edit]

Even measures are either simple, i.e. two-part, or composed. Because one generally assigns a certain duration to a quarter note, slow tempos are noted as 2/2 and fast ones as 2/8, etc.

odd measures [edit]

There are numerous rhythms that require an odd number of basic beats per measure. The prime example of this is the waltz, which is based on 3/4 time.

Time signature [edit]

The time signature is indicated by two numbers one above the other.

  • The lower number the time signature indicates which note value corresponds to a basic beat (beat).
  • The top number The time signature not only indicates how many basic beats complete the measure, but also determines the rhythmic structure of a measure.

For a 3/4 time, the result is that the time is a 3-part time, i.e. with a main accent on the first note and no secondary accent, and that's exactly three Quarter notes make up a complete measure. That would basically be three quarter notes or their subdivisions, or sometimes a half and a quarter note or a dotted half note. Two dotted quarter notes could occasionally also appear, but such a measure is actually in two parts.

Three-part measures are noted as follows:

The 3/2 timeThe 3/4 timeThe 3/8 time

The only difference is that other notes are used for notation, which gives the musician an impression of the tempo.

compound bars [edit]

The 9/8 timeThe 6/8 time
3/4 time]]

combined bars [edit]

The 5/4 timeThe 7/4 time

Polyrhythmics [edit]

Mixes of even and odd bars that are stacked, which is very common in African and South American music.

Now we want to address a chapter that is very easy to underestimate. While it is easy to learn how many notes of a given note value complete a measure, counting these rhythms correctly is something completely different!