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24 votes
Accepted

Do you play the upbeat when beginning to play a series of notes, and then after?

The upbeat is where the song starts. Imagine starting the song "Happy birthday to you" without the upbeat; then you would start singing "birthday to you". When you reach the end you don't play the ...
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
22 votes
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Music Theory behind build ups

There are a couple of techniques here: If you are gradually ramping up the speed, then you would use an increase in tempo. This gives a growing sense of urgency, but can be very difficult to manage, ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
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21 votes
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How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4?

Technically speaking, you can't ever say for certain until you see the composer's original score (if there even is one); a piece could literally be written in an infinite number of time signatures. As ...
Richard's user avatar
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19 votes
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Is it hopeless in terms of becoming decent musicians, if they can't count beats?

It's not hopeless, but may take more time than others would. A couple of ideas. While listening to music, start tapping, singing, nodding, whatever, and turn down the sound, initially so it's still ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 190k
18 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

Please count 1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4, then at the same tempo (speed/ bpm) count 1-2-3-1-2-3. If you can't feel or tell the difference, then, you're right, there's no need for bars. If you can, then how will ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 190k
16 votes

Do you play the upbeat when beginning to play a series of notes, and then after?

This is also called pickup note, pickup measure or anacrusis. You can read about it here: Wiki You can find them in a lot of songs, like Happy Birthday for example: Of course you don't have to use ...
Andy's user avatar
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14 votes
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What time signature has 3 out of 8 beats accented?

1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 is Calypso rhythm. Although it appears it often has a 4/4 or 8/8 time signature, I have seen it 3+3+2/8. Even with a more regular time signature, you may find it notated with two ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
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14 votes

Is it hopeless in terms of becoming decent musicians, if they can't count beats?

One of my mantras as a teacher is to tell my students to play things "painfully slow." In other words, so slow it hurts. I would say you are practicing too fast. When playing an instrument, there are ...
Heather S.'s user avatar
  • 5,567
12 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

One bar tends to be the smallest time after which there is some repetition in multiple voices. This is quite a bit of an oversimplification, but it is often observable, in approximate form, in many ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
12 votes

How are beats divided in simple/compound/odd meters supposed to sound different?

The underlying principle at work here is: Notated music "doesn't show everything." Compare, say, the sheet music of the Moonlight Sonata to a midi file capturing a performance of it.* The ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Proper way to count beats

In 4/4, if the shortest note is an 8th, your basic counting matrix is: one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and In this example the notes come on: ONE-(and)-TWO-AND-(three)-AND-(four)-AND An alternative ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 90.4k
11 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

To offer a different perspective from the other excellent answers here, I'll draw an analogy between a piece of music and a piece of prose. Barlines are separators, just like paragraphs and chapters. ...
kwypston's user avatar
  • 241
11 votes

Can I still use the staff notes that exceed the number of beats?

The whole point of having barlines is to split a piece into equal parts. If some of those parts are not equal, then they will need another time signature to accommodate them. And every bar in a piece ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 190k
10 votes

What this is, and how can it be put into Sibelius?

The three eighth notes (not 16th notes) with the "3" above the beam are a "triplet": three notes in the space of one beat. There are exactly four beats in the measure. For ...
Aaron's user avatar
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9 votes

How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4?

I'd put it in 6/8, due to the triplets feel, but the phrasing kind of repeats every two bars, thus two lots of 3/8, making 6/8. Why /8? Well, it's fairly quick, so I'd write it as quavers instead of ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 190k
9 votes

Question about beats and their inheritance of accents on the rhythm

NOTE: Most of this answer makes less sense than it used to because the asker has almost completely re-written the question. The image at the bottom of this answer is the most current content here. I'm ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 56.1k
8 votes

Gnossiennes and Free Time

Satie often does dispense with barlines. In Vexations he does so for 18 hours or so! I agree with Andy Bonner that the effect is to suppress the metric emphases we might otherwise apply. But Satie's ...
Old Brixtonian's user avatar
8 votes

Is there a name for the first beat in a piece (not including the anacrusis)?

(with anacrusis) - "First downbeat after the anacrusis/pickup bar" or simply, "first downbeat" (when there is no anacrusis)
Luki Nordo's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How do the notes on the treble and bass staves here correspond to each other? (Mozart K331 Mvmt 1 Var. V Measure 100)

In the upper staff, the fourth group of notes is a triplet. Those three notes correspond to the lower staff's seventh and eighth notes (i.e., second grouping, second two notes). Here, given by note ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 82.3k
7 votes

What time signature has 3 out of 8 beats accented?

Yes, that would be 8/8. Mathematically it is the same with 4/4, but it differs on the accented beats. Where 4/4 would be: 1 2 3 4 8/8 is: 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 like the one in the song you ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
7 votes

Difference between tempo and bpm

It's the difference between length and meters. Tempo is the concept, BPM is the measurement.
MattPutnam's user avatar
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7 votes
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What is "Upbeat Music"?

In this context, the commenter is using it in the "happy, cheerful, optimistic music" sense; though I would be inclined to use more emotionally neutral terms like fast-paced and active, full of motion ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 17.8k
7 votes

What's the difference between pulse and beat?

More often than not, they're synonyms. When counting the rhythm of a piece, they are the points at which you may tap your foot, or click you finger. Be aware, though, that people's perception of where ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 190k
7 votes

Gnossiennes and Free Time

The Gnossiennes are phrase-driven rather than meter-driven. That is, the presumed emphases of metered time (beat 1 is strongest, etc.) don't apply. Rather, one should apply emphasis according to one's ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 82.3k
7 votes

Can I still use the staff notes that exceed the number of beats?

Both ways of notation are metrically correct. The second way to notate it is the default and expected way of doing this, so unless there is a good reason against it you should stick with that. The ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 18.7k

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