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M U S I C A L B R A I N . R h y t h m .

50

Bandwa gon Mu s i c S t ud i o s

An easy way to understand note lengths is to know

that the different lengths are relative to each

other. Each note doesn’t have a set length of time

to ring. The lengths or values will either divide or

multiply by two.

As the notes get shorter they do so by dividing by

two.

As the notes get longer they do so by multiplying

by two.

This is why the notes have the names whole, half

and quarter.

The half note is half as long as the whole note, the

quarter note is half as long as the half note (the

quarter note would therefore be a quarter as long as

the whole note).

So however long you let the quarter note ring for the

eighth note will ring twice as short, and half note will

ring twice as long.

The quarter note is the “foundation value” in rhythm.

This is because it is in the middle of the values. You

only have to make two steps to get to the longest

values and two steps to get to the shortest values. If

the whole note was the foundation you have to make 4

steps to get to the 16ths – too many steps and too

hard to calculate.