My music professor taught students a cool musical rhythm count-clapping system where "1 and 2 and" would rather be "1 te 2 te," and "1 e and a" would be "1 ta te ta," and I believe triplets were "1 ta te 2 ta te," though I'm not sure. Anybody know what this system is called, and what I would say for dotted 8th notes?


2 Answers 2


Oops, I found it pretty quickly after I used the after using google quotes operator around "1 ta te ta" and found a link to the name, The Eastman Counting System. More details here

The correct way to count triplets is "1 la li, 2 la li." And to count dotted 8th notes, you just count on the right syllables, here shown in bold: "1 ta te ta, 2 ta te ta"

As I am not taking music theory classes anymore, it is good to see online documentation of this and exercises. Hope someone finds this system useful, I love it, and it needs to be spread!!!

  • I find 'Humpty Dumpty' works well for triplet quavers split in the usual 2-1 way.
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 12:32

Much discussion about methods of naming rhythms.

Very logical method taught before everything had to be 'cool' as follows:

Consonants requiring to breath out thus distinctive e.g T, F, S.

Vowels as they appear in the alphabet.

The beginning of the beat always Ta.

Ta - T + 'a' first vowel = US quarter note or UK crotchet.

Ta-te 2nd vowel 'e' pronounced as in the word 'tea' or as in the French word 'petit' thus differing spellings of the sound, = US 1/8th or UK quaver.

Ta-fa-te-fe - use of consonant 'f'. Vocalisation of the phrase requires tongue to move up and down in swift alternation, = US 1/16th or UK semi-quaver.

Each note is named differently so that it becomes easy to name subsequent sub-divisions - e.g. Ta-te-fe/Ta-fa-te = US 1/8th + two 1/16ths UK quaver + two semi-quavers combination and vice versa.

Ta-a = US 1/2 note UK minim; consonant dropped as vowel is extended for a second beat.

Ta-a-a-a = US whole note UK semi-breve.

Sa - S + 'a' = US 1 quarter note silence or UK crotchet silent beat.

Very simple and most importantly very logical.

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