I was given a 4/4 bar, and I'm trying to figure out what's the exact time at which to play the notes using these counts: 1-e-&-a-2-e-&-a-3-e-&-a-4-e-&-a

My attempt is written in grey below. I'm particularly confused about the semiquavers that are joined to the quavers.

Notes in a bar

  • 1
    So you were given the rhythmic notation, and asked to provide the "1 e" stuff? Be aware, this is not written in a standard way. The first beam (horizontal line) currently contains two quavers and a semiquaver—that's more than one beat. Beams don't usually break in the middle of beats. There's a possibility the notation is actually wrong; e.g., maybe the third note should be a semiquaver, and the 5th one should be dotted? Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:58
  • @AndyBonner This was what I was given. It could very well be wrong as you've mentioned (or at the very least confusing, as PiedPiper mentioned). The hint I was given is that the 1,2,3,4 above are correct, and it was up to me to figure out the Es, &s, and As. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 14:18
  • Hm—there's definitely a mistake, then, because there are more notes coming before the "2" than will fit. If this is an assignment, I'd ask for clarification. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 14:23
  • The person who gave the assignment (and the hint) is not the same person who created the exercise. So more than one thing could be wrong... I'll check back with them next week. Thank you! Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


The measure is confusingly notated. If you change the third note from an eighth to a sixteenth followed by a sixteenth rest then it will become much easier to understand (this appears to be a percussion part so rewriting it this way makes no musical difference). Once you've done this the '2' falls on the rest, the 'e' on the sixteenth. The rest of the beats (1, 3 and 4) you've understood correctly.

c2FF z Fc2 cFF2 c2e2
w: 1 & a e & 3 e & 4 &
  • 1
    (For completeness: if this weren't a percussion part, then an exact rewrite would have a tied semiquaver in place of the rest.)
    – gidds
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:20
  • @gidds But it is a percussion part.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 15:00
  • 1
    @PiedPiper In this case, yes — but neither the title nor the body of the question specify that, and people may arrive here looking for info about non-percussion parts.  While it's good to help one person with one particular circumstance, it's even better if we can help lots more people in future too!
    – gidds
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 15:33
  • Thanks! You are absolutely spot on, PiedPiper. (I've since verified it with the person who came up with the original notation) Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 4:32

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