Ch 2: Meter & Rhythm

About This Chapter

Watch meter & rhythm video lessons, and learn about time signatures, tempo, hemiola and more. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Meter & Rhythm - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Beat and movement work in tandem to form the foundation of musical pieces. The lessons in this chapter explain how to regulate the flow of a song or musical composition with the use of meter (beat) and rhythm (movement). You'll be introduced to basic and irregular notes, rests, beats, and musical patterns. After watching these lessons, you should be able to:

  • Read and write each element of a musical score
  • Understand the number of beats each type of note symbolizes
  • Recognize the overall structure of piece and its individual parts
  • Identify each element within a measure and how they regulate the piece
  • Differentiate between simple, compound and asymmetrical meters

Notating RhythmLearn the correct way for reading, writing and structuring the subdivisions in music, as well as how to interpret the spaces and rests between notes.
Rhythm: Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Rests & Other Basic RhythmsUnderstand how to identify simple note and rest durations when reading music.
Rhythm: Recognizing Syncopation, Dotted Notes & TiesAdvance into off-beat note structure with the use of extended notes and values.
Tempo: Definition and Uses in Musical FormsExplore ways to increase or decrease the momentum of a piece by setting the tempo.
Beat and SubdivisionThis lesson discusses recognizing steady, constant beats and when a beat is grouped into smaller, subdivided parts.
Time Signature in Music: Definition and ExamplesIdentify the beats per measure in a piece of music, and what the 3/4, 4/4, 5/8, etc. mean at the beginning of a piece.
Meters and Time Signatures in Musical FormsGrasp the overall flow of music by understanding the poetic beat and modulation of the score.
Simple, Compound, and Asymmetrical MetersLearn the difference between two-beat, triple-pulse, and more complex and irregular rhythms in a measure.
Triplets and DupletsDifferentiate between 2/4 and 3/4 time, as well as multiples of these time signatures.
Downbeats and UpbeatsContrast the stronger impulse beats with unaccented, anticipatory beats that correlate to the upward and downward strokes of a conductor's baton.
HemiolaUnderstand the musical pattern played in one meter that feels like another due to rhythmic notation, sometimes referred to as '2 over 3' or '3 over 4'.

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: Meter & Rhythm
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Rhythm & Meter: Terms & Styles

1. Rhythm & Meter: Terms & Styles

Have you ever clapped your hands or stomped your foot in time to music? You were feeling the rhythm! In this lesson, learn the basics about rhythm and meter.

Irregular Rhythms: Definition & Types

2. Irregular Rhythms: Definition & Types

Composing and playing music requires an understanding of regular rhythms, but also those that are irregular. In this lesson, we'll talk about irregular rhythms and see what these look like.

Syncopation: Definition & Examples

3. Syncopation: Definition & Examples

The element of surprise makes life interesting. In the rhythm of music, the element of surprise is called syncopation. Learn about the various ways to use syncopation for greater effect.

Rhythm: Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Rests & Other Basic Rhythms

4. Rhythm: Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Rests & Other Basic Rhythms

Rhythm is an imperative part of music. Knowing the basic rhythms such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and rests will give you a deeper understanding of the music you hear. Learn about these notes and other basic rhythms in this lesson!

Rhythm: Recognizing Syncopation, Dotted Notes & Ties

5. Rhythm: Recognizing Syncopation, Dotted Notes & Ties

Beyond simple quarter notes and eighth notes, musical rhythm can become confusing. In this lesson, you'll learn how to recognize and define ties, dotted notes and syncopation. You'll also learn two styles where syncopation is often heard and how ties and dotted notes contribute to creating syncopation.

Tempo: Definition and Uses in Musical Forms

6. Tempo: Definition and Uses in Musical Forms

How does the speed of a song affect our emotions? How can we determine the speed of a song just by looking at it? By learning about tempo, we can find out!

Time Signature in Music: Definition and Examples

7. Time Signature in Music: Definition and Examples

Time signatures, or meters, are a way to communicate the pulse and feel of a piece of music. Musicians, dancers and listeners alike use them to interpret where the strong and weak beats lie, including their divisions. Find out the specifics of time signature in this lesson.

Meters and Time Signatures in Musical Forms

8. Meters and Time Signatures in Musical Forms

What's the difference between a waltz and a polka? What's a 'mazurka,' and why did Chopin write so many of them? How can time signature imply a type of form? Find the answers to these questions and more in this lesson!

Duple Meter: Definition & Example

9. Duple Meter: Definition & Example

Sometimes, what we see is not what we get, and some meters in music are definitely that way. Learn about duple meters and the difference between a simple duple meter and a compound duple meter.

Diminution: Definition & Value

10. Diminution: Definition & Value

This lesson will teach you about the musical practice of diminution, including how composers have used it in various settings. You will learn about diminution of intervals, diminution of chords, and diminution of rhythms and melodies.

Augmentation in Music: Definition & Value

11. Augmentation in Music: Definition & Value

Augmentation is a common way to change harmonies and melodies in a composition and thereby change the impact of the piece. In this lesson, we'll explore augmentation and see how composers can use it to their advantage.

Accents in Music: Definition & Types

12. Accents in Music: Definition & Types

Music is a language, and like any language, performers need to know how to make it sound natural. In this lesson, we'll talk about accents in music and see how they can change a composition.

Hemiola: Definition, Rhythm & Examples

13. Hemiola: Definition, Rhythm & Examples

This lesson will focus on the hemiola, which is a type of musical pattern. We'll learn about the two different types of rhythmic hemiolas, identify some examples in European and non-Western music, and even have some fun performing our own.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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