Rhythms are of course very important. Not only to play better solos, but also to be able to play better rhythms.

Let’s start from scratch. What is a bar? Marked in red here.

A „beat“ means „one click of the metronome“. A song with a 4/4 time signature has four beats per bar.

Note lengths

A full note you should dwell the note completely. To dwell means; Play it on beat 1 and let it sound up to and including beat four. The new note is not played until the next bar.

That sounds something like this:

With the half notes, we play on beat 1 and let the sound fade away up to and including beat 2. Only on beat 3 is the new note played again without interruption.

The quarter notes are the easiest because you can play them exactly as you tap the beat with your foot.

Attention! If you have a 4/4 time as on the PDF, then you tap the 4/4 time with your foot. But should you, for example. have an 8/8 time, then of course you tap the 8th and count differently!

Try to synchronize the sound with your foot. The note can be played at exactly the same time or tapped with the foot.

Try to play the 8th notes twice as fast as your foot indicates which beat. So at the same time that your foot hits the floor, you should play two notes. Play the notes regularly, not one longer or shorter. Remember, even notes must always be played evenly.

The most difficult notes are the 16th notes. Not because they are abstract or illogical, but because they are usually very fast. It helps to set the metronome a little slower. =)

Try to tap twice with your foot and play four evenly spaced notes in between.


I was most afraid of the triplets, but I was actually wrong because they don’t really do anything bad. : P

In the end, triplets are nothing more than fourths, eighth notes or sixteenth notes, with the only difference that instead of having two notes in one beat for the eighth notes you have this time three notes for the eighth note triplets.

As already described, try to insert three notes into a whole measure for the half triplets.

In the quarter triplets, three notes can be heard during two beats. This is also called ‚polyrhythmics‘, i.e. two different but evenly played rhythms on top of each other.

Try counting the measure once -> 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 and then counting the triplet. Here you can for example. Say / sing ‚Ri – mi – ni‘.

The same also applies to the eighth triplets. Here, however, 3 triplets are played during one beat. So a total of 4×3 triplets per measure.

Dotted notes

Dotted notes also look worse than they are. However, these are definitely more difficult to count than others (I think).

A dotted quarter is not more or less than: Quarter note x 1.5 or quarter note + half. In this example we would have a quarter note + an eighth note. Another way to represent this is a quarter tied with an eighth note . This variant is needed to connect notes that are in a different bar. So if a note should be dotted, but it no longer fits into a bar, the note has to be lengthened and ‚connected‘ to a note from the next bar. This is called a tied note.

Another way of counting dotted quarters: Breaking all notes down to the lowest denominator. So (1 quarter + 1 eighth = 3 eighth). Now we count in eighths and would only play the numbers marked in bold -> | 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 |

Remember, if we play 8th notes, then 8 notes fit in a 4/4 time and must therefore be played twice as fast.

The same applies to dotted eighth notes. Here it is reduced again, i.e. (an 8th note + a 16th note = a dotted 8th note). Count 16th notes, but again only play every 4th note.

| 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12 – 13 – 14-15 – 16 |

Remember, if we play 16th notes, then 16 notes fit into a 4/4 time and must be played accordingly faster.

3/4 time

In three quarters of a time there is – as the name suggests – only three quarters of space. This means; everything stays the same, all rhythms are played the same, all notes are sustained for the same length of time, etc. with the only difference; the measure only goes up to 3 and not as before to 4. The best example of a 3/4 time is a waltz.

Quarter notes in 3/4 time

Eighth notes in 3/4 time

1/10 notes in 3/4 time

The same principle as triplets, but the duoles are played / counted the other way around.

That means: Here two notes are played during three beats. In quarter triplets, three triplets are played during two beats.

Or with the „4 over 3“ rhythm, four notes are played over three beats. Again exactly the opposite of what we had with the ‚half triplets‘. With the half triplets we play three notes during 4 beats (3 over 4 rhythm). With the 4 over 3 rhythm we play 4 notes during the 3 beats in 3/4 time.

Swing phrasing

In swing phrasing, for example. eighth notes are written exactly the same as in the ’normal‘ variety, but are played differently.

While this symbol is used on certain sheets of music In jazz, ‚Swing‘ is simply written at the top of a sheet of music. Different spelling, however, means exactly the same thing.

But what is always the same is the type of game.

A ’normal‘ eighth rhythm as described above sounds without Swing phrasing like this:

While 8th notes are phrased in the swing sound like this:

Both are written down exactly the same, with the small difference at the beginning.

Without swing feel:

With swing feel:


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