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24 votes
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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 ...
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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, ...
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20 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 ...
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20 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 ...
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19 votes

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

Counting is an absolutely necessary step when learning a new piece.It is the rhythmic framework of any piece. Without it, you may well be playing a different tune. 'All the right notes, but not in the ...
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18 votes

How to develop rhythmic sophistication in writing music?

Several things. First and foremost -- I cannot stress this enough -- we express ourselves in the idioms of the music we listen to. If you want to start having more rhythmically interesting ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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15 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 ...
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14 votes
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Intended shift of meter in certain songs?

Mark Butler has written a scholarly book on Electronic Dance Music called Unlocking the Groove. In it, he proposes calling these moments "turning the beat around", and abbreviated it TBA. As in, "...
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12 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 ...
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12 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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11 votes

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

As you beginner, I strongly suggest you keep doing that. What I did when I first begun, was to count everything with my foot. After a while, I didn't really need to count every single thing with the ...
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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. ...
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  • 241
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 ...
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  • 55k
9 votes

How to develop rhythmic sophistication in writing music?

When I studied music composition, one of our basic exercises was to compose rhythms without melody. This forces you to develop rhythms that are interesting in their own right. You can then develop the ...
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  • 6,567
9 votes

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

This is much like: when you drive a car, do you think about the steering all the time? When you learn to drive, you will be consciously thinking about your steering. Similarly, an experienced driver ...
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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 ...
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  • 173k
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 ...
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7 votes
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Stress in music

There are several different kinds of stress in music. Meter (lyrical) is the stress added by accents (real or implied) in the lyric. It's important to remember that meter, as it was used in writing, ...
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7 votes
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Electronic music beats: Sample or Synthesis?

There is no blanket answer to your question. It depends. "It depends" isn't very useful though, so let's try to dive a little more into it. Advantages and disadvantages Generally speaking: Sample: ...
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  • 15.9k
7 votes

Does 4/8 Have a Faster Tempo Than 4/4 at 60 BPM?

First of all tempo is not affected by time signature, however what gets the beat does change as the time signature changes so this is the source of much of the confusion. It depends on how you are ...
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