Quick Fix Friday

Quick Fix Friday: Follow the beam

Happy Friday!

You might be a bit confused about the title (no, I’m not referring to the beams in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although this is a great series).

I’m referring to beams in regard to rhythm. A beam is the horizontal line which groups certain notes together, such as two eighth notes or four sixteenth notes.

Now, on to our quick fix:

If you’re facing a tricky rhythmic passage and don’t know where to start, look at how the notes are beamed together. Most of the time, rhythms are beamed together by beat. Once you’ve found each beat, you can further break down individual beats to understand the subdivision and rhythmic patterns being used. (Sometimes the beaming will even help you see the subdivision of each beat!) If you can identify all of the beats in each measure, the rhythm suddenly becomes much more manageable!

Note: This trick works most of the time, but sometimes beats aren’t grouped by the beam, so double check your work or consult a teacher if you encounter any rhythmic uncertainties!

Have a great weekend, and happy practicing!