Teach Yourself Music Theory – 10.) Counting Rhythms in Compound Meter

Continuing from last week where we talked about counting rhythms in simple meter, let’s talk about what to do in compound meter.

As always, establish the tempo of your basic pulse/beat. This will match to be the dotted quarter-note value of the compound metered measures.

Using a compound quadruple meter type, let’s count the basic pulses. Similar to the simple meter exercise, the dotted quarter-note beats will also be counted in a repeating “1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1…” like the example below.

Remember how in compound meters, the beats themselves can easily be divided into threes. So, we will count these eighth-note divisions as “1, trip-, let, 2, trip-, let, 3, trip-, let, 4, trip-, let, 1…” like the example below.

Now how about sixteenth-notes? Those will be counted like “1, ah, trip-, ah, let, ah, 2, ah, trip-, ah, let, ah, 3, ah, trip-, ah, let, ah, 4, ah, trip-, ah, let, ah, 1…” like the example below.

Once again, similar to what was discussed when talking about simple meters, any note value longer than the basic dotted quarter-note pulse will hold the count and omit the counts that occur during it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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