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Bringing Context to Musical Notation

Watch the video lesson below. The relevant content appears below the video. 

Up to this point, all of the rhythm patterns we have looked at have been 2-4 measures long. You can think of these as short sentences. In the upcoming Reading Benchmarks, you will be reading longer, more complicated sentences. You will also need to recognize the meter without being explicitly told. This skill is called Composite Synthesis.


  • First, identify the meter. Look at the time signature and the rhythm patterns. Are you audiating DU DE or DU DA DI as the microbeats? If you are audiating DU DE, the music is in duple meter. If you are audiating DU DA DI, the music is in triple meter.
  • Next, remind yourself of the rhythm solfege representing macrobeats and microbeats. Chant them to yourself.
  • Scan the entire piece for familiar rhythm patterns.
  • Audiate the passage.
  • Chant the rhythm of the exercise using rhythm solfege.

In these earlier exercises where you just have macrobeats and microbeats, this will be relatively easy. However, in more advanced courses, the skill of Composite Synthesis will be much more challenging. 

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