This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.


Rhythm is an extremely hard thing to explain. It is the beat, the back bone, the feel, the pulse, the engine. I find the definition from the Merriam - Webster Dictionary pretty good.

"An ordered recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in speech"( Not just speech but also sounds.


So music notes as we have seen so far are written as circles. But there are different circles/symbols that define what specific rhythm the note should be.


This means the length of the note in all essence. How slow or fast to play the note. When to pause, how short or long the note is. And It is more about the silence in-between the notes than it is the actual note.


So different symbols represent different lengths of notes. And there are different names of these notes.


The 4 we will be covering are the most common ones that you will encounter and use.


First we have a Whole Note: A Whole Note gets 4 beats, and looks like a complete circle not colored in and with no line. Like an O.


We then have a Half Note: A Half Note gets 2 beats and is also a complete circle, not colored in as well, but has a line attached to it.


The third is a Quarter Note: A Quarter Note gets 1 beat and is a complete circle but filled in and it also has a line attached to it.


The last one is an Eighth Note: An Eighth Note gets half of a beat and is a complete circle, filled in with a flag on the end of the line. Yes a flag. 


Here are pictures of all of these notes and what they look like:



So there are also rests. A rest is an absence of sound. It tells when not to play for a designated length as well. 

There are whole rests, half rests, quarter rests, and eighth rests. They each have their own unique symbol and are the same length as the notes.


A Whole Rest looks like a block underneath the fourth line. 


A Half Rest looks like a block on top of the third line.


A Quarter Rest looks like a lowercase z (that is angled)) with a lower case c under it, with the bottom of the z touching the top of the c.


An Eighth Rest looks like a swish with the ball part starting on the left, swishing upwards a bit to the right then a line downwards.

Here is an infographic:


So the rhythms we will be talking about will always be adding up to 4.

I mean that if you added the rhythms together in a measure it will equal 4.

A measure is a part of music. It is shown by vertical line(s) on the staff. To show when the next part of music. So there will be a melody let's say or part of a melody. But you can only fit so many notes in one measure due to rhythm. You wouldn't want to read an entire piece of music with only 1 measure. It would be too hard or confusing. A measure breaks it up into parts for easier reading and an easier understanding for rhythm.

So an example of a rhythm that equals up to 4 would be:

Example #1: Quarter Note, Quarter Note, Half note. We have a 1 beat note, a 1 beat note, and a 2 beat note. Equaling 4 beats. This can also be shown with rests.

Example #2: Quarter Rest, Quarter Rest, Half rest.

You can also have both in a rhythm like so:

Example #3: Quarter Rest, Quarter Note, Half note. OR Example #4: Quarter note, Quarter Note, Half Rest.

Example #5:You can even have just a whole note as one measure since it equals up to 4.


Here are those examples shown: 


TASK: Write four examples either in text or through finale of rhythms that add up to 4! Similar to how I wrote it in examples 1 through 5.

Task Discussion