8.ThLong & Short

There will be one or two new time signatures later in toolkit1 but you have already dealt with the most complex rhythms. There are therefore no pieces to play or notate today, just two thoughts that might shift your reading to another level.

Big Thought 1

The first thought is that all this "1 n + a 2 n + a" counting has been vital because it has helped you understand how Standard Notation works and has provided you with a method for working out the unfamiliar. But, when the patterns are familiar, maybe you don't always need the counts . . . . maybe you can think of the patterns that you've been reading in a different - and quite simple - way. Point at each group -

2 notes spread equally

4 notes spread equally






1The top metronome track on the right marks the beat and quarter-beats. Thinking of the above patterns simply in 'long & short' terms, loop each of them against it, and move from one to any other when you're ready.

2Then do the same with the lower metronome. This one only marks the beat so you have to keep the beat's subdivisions going in your 'inner metronome'.

3Finally, try it without a metronome at all - but maybe tap your foot on the beat? So long as you start with a sense of the metre and the right number of subdivisions, don't the patterns sort-of fall into place?

Big Thought 2

Big Thought 2 is that these long-short patterns appear in other guises and that a huge amount of what you read is in fact these few patterns. For instance, here is long-short-short in three different 'sizes' - they should look familiar - start your inner 1-n-+-a metronome and try it -


Here are some of the other patterns, again in three sizes -
If you find it difficult to run the three versions of each pattern together, loop each one for a while and switch when you're ready. The most important thing is to start looking for these patterns and to let them fit around your inner metronome . . .

If this all too much at the moment, just keep counting!


Here's how those four patterns should have sounded.