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Counting Complicated Rhythms On Piano

Cassi Falk  /  Rhythm Theory / Jan 18

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Sometimes when sight reading you will come across a measure of music that contains notes with lines, flags, or dots! Half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and whole notes are no problem, but as soon as you begin to add in extra markings…things can get difficult. They don’t have to be, you just need to understand how rhythm is counted so you can clap or feel the beat before you play it.

What it really comes down to is learning how to count in a way that allows you to apply a syllable to each beat.  

If you were to count four quarter notes, it would sound like:

1 2 3 4

If you were to count four 8th notes you would count:

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

If you were to count four 16th notes you would say

1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a

Breaking down the rhythms to syllables that match them will make things SO much easier. Cassi breaks it all down for you in this lesson and provides you with some sheet music you can download to practice with at home.


Cassi Falk Each week, Cassi has 30 students going through her home-based teaching studio - and she’s excited to help you, too, through Pianote! Cassi is trained as an Elementary and Intermediate Specialist through the Royal Conservatory Teacher Certification Program.

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