Learn about Rhythm

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Beat is the foundation of rhythm. It is the steady, repeating pulse in music. When you tap your foot to music at a steady pace, you are tapping the beat. In Lesson 1, you will have the opportunity to learn, read, and perform rhythms that all include notes on the beat.
Listen to the example below to hear the beat in music. It begins with four click sounds that establish the beat, followed by RhythmBot’s Happy Little Melody. The click sound continues through the entire example, demonstrating the beat.

Play this example of beat

Example of the beat: RhythmBot’s Happy Little Melody




Tempo is the speed of the beat. It indicates how fast or slow the beat is. Musicians use metronomes to practice rhythms and keep a steady beat. A metronome is a device that produces a consistent beat at a specific tempo. It is a very important tool that helps our development as musicians. If you do not have a metronome, visit www.MetronomeBot.com for free online metronomes.

Every metronome will have a series of numbers on it that indicates the Beats Per Minute, often abbreviated with the letters BPM. The higher the BPM number, the faster the tempo. For example, 60 BPM is one beat for every second, and 120 BPM is two beats for every second. To learn the rhythms in The Fundamentals of Rhythm, it is essential to use a metronome to ensure that you are keeping a steady beat and performing the rhythms accurately.

Play the example of a slow tempo

Play RhythmBot's Happy Melody at a slow tempo

Play the example of a medium tempo

Play RhythmBot's Happy Melody at a medium tempo

Play the example of a fast tempo

Play RhythmBot's Happy Melody at a fast tempo

The audio examples above represent three basic tempos: slow, medium, and fast. The music is exactly the same, except for one change: each example is played at a different tempo. Notice that simply changing the tempo creates a very different feeling and mood for the piece.

Continue on to the next step of the introduction: Meter and Durations
Back to the Table of Contents

Get the Book

The Fundamentals of Rhythm, book by Kyle Coughlin

Fundamentals of Rhythm book

If you would like all of this information in book format so that you can put it on your music stand and practice it wherever you go, get The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin. The book includes all of the lesson information and practice exercises found on the website.


Use MetronomeBot for a fun online metronome!

MetronomeBot, the talking online metronome

The online metronome that counts the beat, subdivides, and offers encouraging practice tips.

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