Welcome to Renate's Baton. This blog is mostly for and about my choir, The York Region Community Choir.

But, While I'm holding the baton, I'm in charge. So, if I want to talk about other parts of my life, I will. :)

The choir itself is a community and I'm discovering that we have a lot in common with one another besides our love of music and singing.

When I go off on a tangent, there is always a crowd coming along. Join us!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reading music: weekly lessons started. How many beats?

Here's a chart of note values to help you remember what we learned in Heather's music reading lesson before choir this week.

 Remember that the value of a note depends on the time signature: 
Different time signatures.
4/4 means there are 4 quarter notes in a bar. This is called Common Time, used for marches in particular, and common for most music. So, a whole note gets 4 beats. 
We  count 123412341234...

2/2 means there are 2 half notes in a bar. You're thinking that in 4/4 we can have 2 half notes in a bar. Right. But,  2/2 is faster. A half note gets 1 beat.  We count 121212121212...

3/4 means 3 quarter notes. This is used to give a dancing feel. So, a whole note gets 3 beats.
 We count 123123123...

2/4 means there are 2 quarter notes in a bar. And, it ends up sounding like cut time
We count 1212121212...

6/8 means 6 eighth notes (Lots of music is 6/8). A whole note gets 6 beats. 
We count 123456123456123456... 
Or, we can count 121212... 
Or, sometimes, 123123123123...
We can divide the bars in half depending on the tempo. 

Each note has a corresponding rest. Here's a chart of rest values.
Different musical rest lengths.

Heather also taught us about dotted notes and then we had several examples in our music. Remember that a dot makes the note longer by 50%. (A second dot, which not very common, adds half of that, so another 25%.) Here's a chart to help you with dotted notes.

A dotted half note, and a dotted quarter note.

Often, the use of dotted notes gives a swingy feel to the music, bum ba-dum. 

There's a lot of stuff about music theory on the Internet. Much of it is for learning to play piano. I found this article on About.com clear and thorough. I like Brandy Kraemer's charts. 

I'm looking forward to hearing more of Heather's music lessons. Can't wait to see what she teaches us next week. I'll follow up with a review here after each lesson. 

Yours in harmony,

1 comment:

  1. Check out my Blog called What My Baton Does which I wrote in October of 2011 to see how the counting translates to the conducting. The important thing to remember is that beat #1 is always a down-stroke preceded by an up-stroke.