Tuesday, 6 February 2018

What is a Beat


I am writing a book on Drumming.  The word "Beat" is confusing for many Musicians and you can see why it is difficult for Drummers:  there are beats in a bar, a drum beat and we beat the drum, so do they mean the same thing?  The answer is yes.

A beat is a repeated pattern and we know where it starts.  Beating a Drum is repeated and we know where is started, a Drum Beat is repeated and we know where is starts and the beats in a bar mean the repetitions in music that we can understand, because we know where they start.

When you get to the top levels of Music, you see similarities between Music and the Written Word.  Both have Sentences, both have Paragraphs and both have Cadences.  Both also use beats.  In Poetry the rhythm is described in terms of beats. "The cat sat on the mat" The beats are in bold.  Single syllable words are the clearest for showing the beat.

As a Music Teacher, I say, "There are no tricks, there are no traps, there is just Teaching".  I ask, "How long is a beat?"  The answer is four letters: it's not a trick question.

Beat Beat Beat Beat  

I have written the word Beat four times.  There are four beats.  Clap while saying Beat four times.  You are clapping on the beat.  You know where the word starts and stops, therefore you know where the beat starts and stops.  

In Music we hear and play sounds and it can be difficult to know that what we can play is the same as what we are reading.

When you spell the word "beat" four times and clap on the letter "B", the sound is written as the first beat of music.  By clapping on the "B" and the "A", you will play a rhythm which is written as the second bar of music.  When you clap of each clap, you will play music which is written as the fourth bar of music.  I find this method of Teaching my Students to read rhythm generally works and works in most cases, but not all.  Another method is to use the words "Ant", "Spider" and "Caterpillar".

A word is the same as a beat.  The rhythm within words - syllables - is the same as the rhythms within beats.  Ant has one syllable, Spider has two and Caterpillar four: by clapping these rhythms you are playing music which is written as above.  I Teach pre-school children Music Lessons in Singing, Drums and all sorts of Percussion Instruments such as Glockenspiels and Pianos.  Learning Music helps with lots of Pre-school learning like Numeracy, Writing and Listening Skills.

I hope this Lesson has been useful.  Write different combinations of rhythms and post them in the comments.  Share your Musical Journey.  If you would like to learn more, contact me for lessons. 

Robin's Experience and Style

Robin Thornton - Teacher At a young age, I decided that I wanted to be a Musician. I did not believe that I could support...