Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 3, last updated 6/25/2013
eighth note
quarter note
half note
whole note
Table 3.3 Notes and their duration
Figure 3.15 Flag on note Rhythm, Tempo, and Meter
The timing of a musical composition and its performance is a matter of rhythm,
tempo, and meter. Rhythm is a pattern in the length and accents of sounds.
Tempo is the pace at which music is performed. We can sing "Yankee Doodle"
in a fast, snappy pace or slowly, like a dirge. Obviously, most songs have
tempos that seem more appropriate for them. Meter is the regular grouping of
beats and placement of accents in notes. Let’s consider meter in more detail.
Since the durations of different notes are defined relative to each other,
we have to have some base line. This is given in a score’s time signature,
which indicates which note gets one beat. Beats and notes are grouped into
measures. Measures are sometimes called bars because they are separated from each other on
the staff by a vertical line called a bar. A time signature of , where x and y are integers,
indicates that there are x beats to a measure, and a note of size gets one beat. (A half note is
Beats in a
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