1

I've found "1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a" notation is often used to describe ballroom step timing, but I've not found any authoritative source for it. It even looks like a recent invention for the Internet era. So my question is, is it really widely used and unambiguously understood? Are there thorough instructions for using it?

  • is it really widely used and unambiguously understood Are you asking specifically for ballroom environments or for any other music context as well? – Arsak Jul 3 at 9:36
  • I'm curious to hear about contexts other than ballroom as well. I wouldn't expect it's used for writing music, as I think western musical notation using a staff and note signs is out of competition. – Konstantin Pelepelin Jul 9 at 20:12
4

At least in the US, this notation is very commonly used for counting rhythm. In fact, in my experience it's the most common method, but that's just based off of first-hand, anecdotal evidence.

But although this notation for sixteenth notes is pretty standard, notation for other subdivisions varies much more. For triplets I've seen "one trip-let," "two la-li," "three ki-da," and so on. Although your sixteenth-note notation doesn't need any clarification, you may find yourself having to clarify your notation for note values of a triplet and smaller.

Other famous systems include the Kodaly method, the Edwin Gordon method, and the (perhaps infamous) Takadimi system. A number of these systems are summarized on Wikipedia's Counting (music) page.

  • In the UK too.. – Tim Jun 26 at 9:38
  • thanks for the wiki link, where it's called "Traditional American system" – Konstantin Pelepelin Jul 2 at 19:22
1

It's not recent, I'm in my 50's and when I started taking piano lessons (I still play!) that's how 16th notes were counted!

  • when did you started? was it used for written or only spoken counting? – Konstantin Pelepelin Jul 9 at 19:48

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