I want to be able to play this rhythm below. Here are my best attempts at notating it:enter image description here

My best attempt at a mnemonic (after trying all day, and going a little crazy) is:

TAY-(toom) d-da-toom Tay-toom DAH-AAH toom TAY-AY too da-dum

I was inspired a bit by South Indian Konnakkol, but I have no idea what I'm doing. 😜

  • 3
    Just a suggestion: Why not re-write it using a crotchet (quarter note) or even a minim (half note) as the beat. So in 15/4 or 15/2. It might make the actual note values easier to see rather than having to count all those tails. Or why not write it in 5/8 thus getting the benefit of some bar lines. It seems to split up into groups of 5 fairly easily
    – JimM
    Apr 3, 2020 at 8:53
  • @JimM: My answer is suggesting the same like your comment. It is helpful comment to a helpless question. I will edit it to give a resume to other similar questions. Apr 3, 2020 at 9:06
  • It's a palindrome. If you repeat it that will become clear. (Well - FAIRLY clear.) Apr 3, 2020 at 9:27
  • ... * but I have no idea what I'm doing. 😜* is good ... Apr 3, 2020 at 10:48

3 Answers 3


If you write it in larger note-values

I think the palindrome becomes clearer.

Did you transcribe it from some recording, or make it up?

  • 1
    wow, it was well hidden ;-) Apr 3, 2020 at 11:23
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    That's so much better. I think I could even play it backwards now...
    – Tim
    Apr 3, 2020 at 12:20
  • @Tim Shame on you! :-) Apr 3, 2020 at 12:56
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    @CarlWitthoft - in one big band, we all learned a piece totally backwards. It was fun when we had cocky deps in, to say 'number 59, bottom to top, no repeats', and count us all in... This would be easier for them.
    – Tim
    Apr 3, 2020 at 13:17
  • 1
    You'd really think Bach had nothing better to do, wouldn't you...
    – Tim
    Apr 3, 2020 at 15:21

This notation is absolute nonsense! The aim of a rhythmic notation is to convey and transfer a rhythmic idea that is readable and hopefully performable for the musicians and understandably for the audience.

We even don’t know what to count and where to place an accent, which notes are on or off beat.

If 1/8 is the beat a 15/8 time could be notated in 3x5/8 and then play it counting the 32nd notes (5 times one two three four = 1 bar of 5/8 and the underline or circle in the number where you have to play:

To make this process easier I propose to notate the value of 32nd above the rests!

I do just for the first note by bolding it ... the rest is up to you:

(1234 1234 1234 1234 1234 ( 5x1234 = 5/8 or 15*1234 = 15/8 for sado - masochists)

I also would suggest to double the note lengths for easier reading: 15/4 respectively 5/4 and transcribe it grouping them differently to find a sense.

Or just don’t notate it, as you can improvise anything that nobody can decode and understand but just have good feelings.


If you have problems with reading a rhythm try following steps:

  • Double the note lengths and rests
  • Divide the whole measures in sub-measure
  • Count 1234 the elements of sub-groups and don’t read with daa-da ...
  • Underline the numbers of the accented notes in the soup-groups

  • Regroup or reorganize the entire passage if necessary (May be you or the program didn’t understand what you’ve been playing )

  • 1
    I wanna join your soup-groups! Apr 3, 2020 at 9:38
  • 1
    Soap, soup and salvation was always the devise of this organization ;) Apr 3, 2020 at 10:46

Better notation would be a start. The notation you gave actually isn't enough to figure out what the rhythm is; the notation tells us the duration of each note, but it fails to tell us what the grouping of notes is.

I listened to it, and to me, the grouping sounds like this:

But quite honestly, to me, the above just sounds like a less precise version of this:

Go ahead and give that a listen; does it sound like it's the rhythm you're going for, or do you really want the 15/8 version?

(A side question for those who have more experience with music notation than I do: do the tied sixteenths above look good, or would it be better to just use an eighth?)

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