Sunday, March 13, 2016

How to Write Counts in Music

Writing in counts for music is a process that can help the beginning musician learn to properly play rhythms. By learning to count through a process called subdivision, musicians can quickly practice and learn rhythms with accuracy. Professional musicians and amateurs count music internally in order to play accurate rhythms in time with the ensemble.

Determine the time signature. The time signature is going to determine how many beats there are in a measure and which note value is worth one beat. Time signatures have two numbers at the beginning of the staff system. The number on top indicates how many beats there are in a measure. The number on bottom indicates which note value is worth one beat.

Determine what note gets one beat. The most common numbers are one, two and four. The one means a whole note gets one beat, the two indicates a half note gets one beat and a four indicates a quarter note gets one beat. Using the top number in the time signature, determine how many beats there are in the measure. If the top number is a three, then there will be three beats in a measure.

Determine the shortest note value; this is the value that subdivides the music. The subdivision will determine the fastest note value in the piece. By determining this ahead of time you can decide what musical shorthand you will have to use to write in counts.

Write counts in the music using numerical values for notes that fall directly on a main beat, the plus sign for notes that fall on half beats and alternate "E" and "A" for notes that fall on quarter beats. The "E" is reserved for the second quarter of the beat, while the "A" is reserved for the fourth quarter. An example with one quarter note, two eighths and four sixteenths in 3/4 time would be written as: 1 2 + 3 e + a.