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Piano for dummies - Blake N.

Blake N. Piano for dummies - IDG, 1996. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Chapter 5: Joining the Rhythm Nation
Count: 1, 2, 3, 4 1, 2, 3,
1,2 3,
Figure 5-7:
Mixing up all the notes.
1, 2,3, 4 1, 2,3, 4 1,2,3,4
1,2 3, 4 1, 2, 3,4
1, 2, 3,4
Faster, Faster, Alley Cat
Just because a measure has four beats in it doesn’t mean that it can only have four notes. Unlike quarter, half, and whole notes (which I talk about in the preceding section), some notes last only a fraction of a beat. The smaller the fraction, the faster the music sounds, because you hear more notes for every beat, or foot tap.
Listen to Track 7 on the CD. Each beat — represented by the steady clicking sound — is the length of one quarter note, which creates a quarter note feel. However, the shorter note lengths make the music sound like it’s getting faster and faster.
Actually, the speed of the music doesn’t change at all. Rather, in each successive measure, the length of the notes is a smaller and smaller fraction of the beat. Dividing the beat like this allows you to play more notes in the same amount of time, as well as giving the music a slightly different, perhaps more danceable, rhythm.
If you find it difficult to play these faster notes, simply slow down the tempo by tapping a slower quarter-note beat. This allows you to play these faster note patterns at a slower tempo. You can increase the tempo as you become more familiar with the music.
56 Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
A note by any other name
Other English-speaking countries (and a few snobbish music circles in the U.S.) use different names for lengths of notes. For example, in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia,
you hear the quarter note referred to as a crotchet, the half note as a menim, and a whole note as a semibreve. Never fear — the notes, by any name, all have the same values.
Eighth notes
When you cut four pie pieces in half, you get eight pieces. When you cut the four beats in a measure in half, you get eighth notes. It takes two eighth notes to equal one beat, or one quarter note. Likewise, it takes four eighths to make one half note. It takes eight... you get the idea.
You can write eighth notes in two different ways, shown in Figures 5-8. By itself, one eighth looks like a quarter note with a flag (also called a flag in I (Ojl many elite music circles). When two or even four eighth notes are present, a beam replaces their flags and groups the notes. This beam groups the eighth notes, making it much easier to spot each beat.
FE?gh"isn*t ^
enough. Count: 1 - and 2 - and 3 - and 4 - and
To play the eighth notes like the ones in Figure 5-8, count the beat out loud as “1-and, 2-and, 3-and, 4-and,” and so on. Every time your foot taps down, say a number; when your foot is up, say “and.” If anyone is nearby, change “and” to “grand” so they think you’re counting money. Won’t they feel silly when they ask to borrow some? “Sure,” you say, “you can have an eighth note.”
Sixteenth notes and more
By dividing one beat, or quarter note, into four separate parts, you get a sixteenth note. Two sixteenth notes equal one eighth note, so it takes four sixteenth notes to equal one beat, or quarter note.
Chapter 5: Joining the Rhythm Nation
As with eighth notes, you can write sixteenth notes in two different ways: with flags and beams. One sixteenth note alone gets two flags, while grouped sixteenth notes use two beams. Most often you see four sixteenth notes “beamed” together, because four sixteenth notes equal one beat. And frequently, you see one eighth note beamed to two sixteenth notes, also equaling one beat. Figure 5-9 shows examples of flagged and beamed sixteenth notes plus eighth notes joined to sixteenth notes.
Figure 5-9:
Sixteen going on sixteen.
Figure 5-10:
Count: 1 e and a 2 e and a 3-e and a 4 e and-a
To count sixteenth notes, divide the beat by saying “1-e-and-a, 2-e-and-a,” and so on. You say the numbers on a downward tap; the “and” is on an upward tap, and the “e” and “a” are in between. It’s also fun to count sixteenth notes as “1-banana, 2-banana,” and so on. Try it at the supermarket and listen as the clerks announce over the loudspeaker, “Crazy person in aisle three!”
Sixteenth notes aren’t so difficult to play at a slow ballad tempo, but try pounding out sixteenth notes in a fast song and you sound like Jerry Lee Lewis — and that’s a good thing! (You can read more about Jerry Lee Lewis in Chapter 18.)
1 could divide the beat even more, and some composers do until there’s virtually nothing left of the beat. Figure 5-10 shows that from sixteenth notes you can divide the beat into 32nds, then 64ths, and even 128ths. But really, Professor Over-the-Top, this is getting a bit ridiculous.
1&, 2e & a, oh my gosh you must be jok - ing ! ! ! !
If you happen to encounter very small, very short note lengths, simply slow the tempo way, way down and count out the fraction of the beat in a way that makes sense to you. Then speed the tempo back up and try to play it. Or you can just play a different song without such small note lengths.
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