Watch the video lesson below. The essential content appears below the lesson.
Take a moment to review macrobeats and microbeats in duple meter in the pre-requisites module. Remember: we are learning to read familiar material.
Say the following to yourself:
“Macrobeats in duple meter are DU DU DU DU.”
“Microbeats in duple meter are DU DE, DU DE, DU DE, DU DE.”
The stacked numbers circled in the picture above are called a time signature. It tells you what to audiate rhythmically.Technically, it’s a mathematical representation of how much of a whole note is in a measure. However, that theoretical knowledge is not important when first learning how to read. (When you first learned to read the word “cat,” did you need to know it was a noun??) To guide you when you are first learning to read, I will simply tell you what each time signature is telling you to audiate.
Reading Macrobeats and Microbeats in 2/4
The time signature 2/4 usually tells us that the macrobeats (DU) will be represented by a quarter note, and that microbeats (DU DE) will be represented by paired eighth notes.
Let’s look at the possible combinations of macrobeats and microbeats in duple meter. There are only four possible combinations. These are called rhythm cells. You might think of these as musical words. Chant each of these rhythm cells several times.
Reading Familiar Patterns
Now we will combine these rhythm cells into four-macrobeat rhythm patterns. You might think of these as very simple musical sentences. These eight rhythm patterns will be part of your musical vocabulary.
Read the above patterns using rhythm syllables (DU and DU DE). Read them both in their familiar and unfamiliar orders. Try varying the tempo. For optimal results, use the video in the next lesson. As you are reading these patterns, continue to move as you read. Move your heels to the macrobeats and gently tap the microbeats on your lap with “spider fingers.”