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Thread: Rhythms?

  1. #1
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    Rhythms?

    I am very very very new to music. I am taking a music appreciation class and it's very confusing. One of our assignments is to count the rhytm in a piece of music but the one I picked I am having trouble. I chose The Sleeping Beauty, Suite, Op. 66a: Pas De Caractere: Puss in Boots and I can't tell if it's 4/4 because it jumps around so much. Sorry if this is a stupid question. again, I am new so any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    You're right it's hard - why did you pick that one, or was there a limited series of choices?
    (If you are really "very very very new to music", this is a ridiculously complicated piece to test yourself with.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzR0OrsR5IU

    A few things make it difficult:
    1. Missing downbeat in first bar (which I wouldn't have known if I hadn't cheated and looked at the music first )
    2. No obvious pulse
    3. In the first long series of 8th notes (from 0:12) there are accents off the beat.
    4. There is a pause (so the rhythm stops) about 17 seconds into it, before it starts up again.

    But try counting from the accented first chord (after those 1st 3 notes), to the next one. It should come out as 6 beats.
    When it gets going a bit more, the chords come every 3 beats. (And the pulse does hold pretty steady.)

    Hope that's given you a big enough clue... (Just don't try counting through the pause at 0:17...)

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanna View Post
    I am very very very new to music. I am taking a music appreciation class and it's very confusing. One of our assignments is to count the rhytm in a piece of music but the one I picked I am having trouble.
    Yes - for a music appreciation class start with something a little simpler.
    Go get some sheet music that has lyrics.
    Look at how lyric words are tied to the melody notes.
    One lyric word per melody note. Two syllable words get two notes.
    Now count how many words (syllables) there are per measure. I bet they will follow pretty close to the time signature, i.e. a 4/4 signature -- using quarter notes you will have 4 quarter notes to a measure.
    OK once you "see that" I think that will help. See if you can "see" that in Happy Birthday.



    Happy Birthday in 3/4 time. See how the notes, and rests, are placed in the measures.......... now notice how the lyric words hitch hike on this.

    Rest - Hap-py --- fill one measure..
    Birth-day to --- fill the next measure..
    Take it from there.

    Have fun.

    P.S. I took you to lyric words because when counting rhythm with no sheet music, you can count on the lyrics to help you with the rhythm count. If I confused more than helped, sorry.

    P.P.S. I've seen Happy Birthday in 4/4 as well as 3/4 time, don't let that throw you.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-18-2012 at 06:12 PM.

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    Yeah we didn't really get a choice. It's a crazy hard intro class. It's a course a tech school so I am very confused why he is making it so hard. Thank you for all the advice! I need all the help I can get.



    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    You're right it's hard - why did you pick that one, or was there a limited series of choices?
    (If you are really "very very very new to music", this is a ridiculously complicated piece to test yourself with.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzR0OrsR5IU

    A few things make it difficult:
    1. Missing downbeat in first bar (which I wouldn't have known if I hadn't cheated and looked at the music first )
    2. No obvious pulse
    3. In the first long series of 8th notes (from 0:12) there are accents off the beat.
    4. There is a pause (so the rhythm stops) about 17 seconds into it, before it starts up again.

    But try counting from the accented first chord (after those 1st 3 notes), to the next one. It should come out as 6 beats.
    When it gets going a bit more, the chords come every 3 beats. (And the pulse does hold pretty steady.)

    Hope that's given you a big enough clue... (Just don't try counting through the pause at 0:17...)

  5. #5
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    I would have started with something easier but I had to pick this piece. I also have to break down texture, form, harmony, timbre, rhythm, tempo, and dynamics. Did I mention this is a 101 class at a tech school. I am a early care and education major! But, I really appreciated all of your help! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    Yes - for a music appreciation class start with something a little simpler.
    Go get some sheet music that has lyrics.
    Look at how lyric words are tied to the melody notes.
    One lyric word per melody note. Two syllable words get two notes.
    Now count how many words (syllables) there are per measure. I bet they will follow pretty close to the time signature, i.e. a 4/4 signature -- using quarter notes you will have 4 quarter notes to a measure.
    OK once you "see that" I think that will help. See if you can "see" that in Happy Birthday.



    Happy Birthday in 3/4 time. See how the notes, and rests, are placed in the measures.......... now notice how the lyric words hitch hike on this.

    Rest - Hap-py --- fill one measure..
    Birth-day to --- fill the next measure..
    Take it from there.

    Have fun.

    P.S. I took you to lyric words because when counting rhythm with no sheet music, you can count on the lyrics to help you with the rhythm count. If I confused more than helped, sorry.

    P.P.S. I've seen Happy Birthday in 4/4 as well as 3/4 time, don't let that throw you.

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    I am sorry but I don't really get what you mean.

    But try counting from the accented first chord (after those 1st 3 notes), to the next one. It should come out as 6 beats.
    When it gets going a bit more, the chords come every 3 beats. (And the pulse does hold pretty steady.)

    Hope that's given you a big enough clue... (Just don't try counting through the pause at 0:17...)
    Last edited by zanna; 06-19-2012 at 06:38 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanna View Post
    I am sorry but I don't really get what you mean.
    OK, seeing as I think you've been given an impossible task (for someone at 101 level), I'm attaching the sheet music (see PDF below):

    You'll see it's in 3/4 time. (Listen to that video while reading, btw.)

    (Sorry it seems to be in a mix of languages! The instrument names are Italian, and the title is given in Greek and French... go figure... It was just the first score I found.)

    The first notes you hear begin in the middle of the first bar (played by "oboi" (oboes) and "fagotti" (bassoons). That's what I meant by the "downbeat" (beat 1) missing: nothing is playing on beat 1 of that bar, so to start with we have no idea where to count from. (If we were watching a performance of the piece, we'd see the conductor drop his baton down on that missing beat.)

    What I meant by the "first accented chord" is the notes in 2nd bar played by what's labelled "Pistoni" and Trombe" (trombones) and the strings ("Violini" etc). The number of beats until the 2nd similar chord - in bar 4 - is six beats, two bars of 3/4.
    Those chords make the best markers to count from, because they are on beat 1 of their bar.
    The main beat value (the pulse you count) is represented by the quarter notes (crotchets), like the last 2 notes in each of the bars played by the oboes. There are 3 beats of this value in each bar - regardless of what notes are being played. (Ie, you count the beats, according to the regular pulse, not the notes, which are all different lengths.)

    The tempo "allegro moderato" means "moderately fast", and in the video I posted that amounts to a bpm (beats per minute) of around 100 - so you should be counting at a speed of a little less than 2 beats per second.

    If there are terms I'm using here that you don't understand, feel free to ask - but really anyone undertaking this task should be familiar with all these terms to start with. I don't understand why you've been given such a complicated piece (I'm guessing the other choices you had were equally advanced?).
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    Last edited by JonR; 06-19-2012 at 12:20 PM.

  8. #8
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    This makes SO MUCH SENSE. Thank you seriously, if I could I would hug you. It's the teacher's first year and he is used to teaching at a more advanced level and he is trying to adjust to us. You are so kind to relpy back in so much length. It makes so much sense. THANK YOU!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    OK, seeing as I think you've been given an impossible task (for someone at 101 level), I'm attaching the sheet music (see PDF below):

    You'll see it's in 3/4 time. (Listen to that video while reading, btw.)

    (Sorry it seems to be in a mix of languages! The instrument names are Italian, and the title is given in Greek and French... go figure... It was just the first score I found.)

    The first notes you hear begin in the middle of the first bar (played by "oboi" (oboes) and "fagotti" (bassoons). That's what I meant by the "downbeat" (beat 1) missing: nothing is playing on beat 1 of that bar, so to start with we have no idea where to count from. (If we were watching a performance of the piece, we'd see the conductor drop his baton down on that missing beat.)

    What I meant by the "first accented chord" is the notes in 2nd bar played by what's labelled "Pistoni" and Trombe" (trombones) and the strings ("Violini" etc). The number of beats until the 2nd similar chord - in bar 4 - is six beats, two bars of 3/4.
    Those chords make the best markers to count from, because they are on beat 1 of their bar.
    The main beat value (the pulse you count) is represented by the quarter notes (crotchets), like the last 2 notes in each of the bars played by the oboes. There are 3 beats of this value in each bar - regardless of what notes are being played. (Ie, you count the beats, according to the regular pulse, not the notes, which are all different lengths.)

    The tempo "allegro moderato" means "moderately fast", and in the video I posted that amounts to a bpm (beats per minute) of around 100 - so you should be counting at a speed of a little less than 2 beats per second.

    If there are terms I'm using here that you don't understand, feel free to ask - but really anyone undertaking this task should be familiar with all these terms to start with. I don't understand why you've been given such a complicated piece (I'm guessing the other choices you had were equally advanced?).

  9. #9
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanna View Post
    This makes SO MUCH SENSE. Thank you seriously, if I could I would hug you. It's the teacher's first year and he is used to teaching at a more advanced level and he is trying to adjust to us.
    Ah-ha!
    I'm sure when he's confronted with all your efforts, he'll learn an important lesson of his own!

    As a teacher myself, I kind of sympathise with him - I sometimes find myself taking things for granted that my students don't understand - but he really ought to have done a bit more preparation. Being "used to teaching at a more advanced level" is really no excuse, unless he really didn't know what level you were beforehand. (But be gentle with him...)

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