Rhythm 101 (#2)




Now we’ll look at a few examples of 4/4, with 4 bars, using a mix of whole, half, and quarter notes with rests.

What you will learn

We will look at counting out rhythms first, followed by several examples.


The easiest way to count rhythm is by looking at each beat in a bar.   The meter shows how many beats to expect per bar.

At the start of each beat, you have to decide whether a sound starts there, or is held over from the end of the previous bar.

You then need to decide where else in the bar any sounds need to be played, and for how long.

What you don’t want to do is look at the duration of the next sound, and count out its duration from where it starts.


Here are examples to try (8 tracks named Ex 1 to Ex 8, 1 part each), with two additional tracks (gtr chords and snare). They provide some example rhythms using 1/4 and 1/8th notes for you to listen to, tap against, and play yourself on your guitar.

When you load this below, only one of the eight examples is unmuted.  The snare and gtr chords track are unmuted as well.  You may need to drag the horizontal border of Rhythm-X upwards to see all tracks.

The gtr chords track has a chord per beat, some of which are muted.  It’s there so you have something to play against, using which every example you are practicing.

The idea is to play one note per note sounded in the example, with the correct duration.  And make sure you leave silence for each rest.

You can of course (un)mute individual chords, and join onsets for a less busy chord track.

Click the eye-ear icon above to load the examples.  You’ll see the examples, and Rhythm-X’s main toolbar. Before you start practicing, here’s a reminder of how to set the metronome to provide clicks for a count-in, and/or during playback.

Click on the metronome icon on the playback controls on the toolbar. A small widget appears. Click  its “Click..” button to bring up the widget for adjusting the metronome settings.  Uncheck the “During playback” so the metronome to just generate a count-in.  The metronome widget is at the top of this image (Change to “Lesson full-screen” and click to enlarge).



  1. Click play.
  2. Adjust the volume of each track if needed (all of the examples are using MIDI channel 2, so any changes you make affects all of them the same). To adjust the volume, click on the track name, and when done, click Back.  The gtr chords track is on channel 3, and the snare must be on channel 10 as drums and percussion must use this channel as set by the MIDI standard.
  3. Mute the gtr chord and snare parts ideally.

Now work your way through the examples in order.

For a given example, initially turn on the click, and watch the graphics on the example part.  Notice where the notes visually start and stop against the beat.  Then change the metronome to only generate a count-in, and do the same.  Now tap each beat, and sing ” Ta” for the duration of each note you hear/see.  Then use the mouse to grab the horizontal divider line at the the top of Rhythm-X and drag it vertically down so you can’t see the tracks anymore, and use your memory to sing the notes at the right times and with the right durations.

Then pick up your guitar, and instead of singing, play the open E string at the right times and with the right durations.



What you have learned.


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