How to count music?

One of the first places to begin when learning how to read music is to know how to count music and to be able to play in rhythm. Knowing the time values of music notes, how to play them on the violin is key to being able to read music well. Reading music well will help you to progress faster in your learning and you will also be able to practise and play new songs independently.

Probably the best way to start reading music is to ‘Learn by doing’. These exercises (in the context of the violin) will introduce you to the time values and get you started on how to play different note values on the violin. Let’s get started!

Note Value Chart

(Length of Time to hold each note)

Semibreve

4 beats

Dotted minim

3 beats

Minim

2 beats

Crotchet

1 beat

Quaver

1/2 beat

Exercise 1

This is a semibreve.   Each semibreve is worth 4 counts.

Draw the bow straight starting from down bow. Each bow receives 4 counts.

Exercise 2

This is a minim. Each minim is worth 2 counts.

Draw the bow straight starting from down bow. Each bow receives 2 counts.

Exercise 3

This is a crotchet. Each crotchet is worth 1 count.

Exercise 4

This is a dotted minim. Each dotted minim is worth 3 counts.

The ‘dot’ is worth half of the principal note. The principal note is a minim (2 counts) and the ‘dot’ is (1 count), total of (3 counts).

Exercise 5

This is a quaver note. It is worth half a beat.

Two quaver notes put together is equivalent of 1 crotchet beat.

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