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Drum Lessons: Learn how to count and play eighth notes on the drums.
Tags:Learn how to play eighth notes on the drums,play eighth notes on the drums,drum lessons,eighth notes
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In this video lesson, you will learn how to count 8th notes within 4/4 time. I also hope to explain the relationship between quarter notes and 8th notes so you have a solid foundation to build upon, especially when we get into more complicated counting. I’m gonna assume, you already watched the lesson on counting quarter notes. But if you haven’t, we can always browse back to that lesson now and then come back here when we finish. Okay, so 8th notes are subdivisions of quarter notes and as you might expect, there are 8 of them in a measure of 4/4 time. Take a look at the first measure of the counting 8th notes sheet music and you’ll see a measure of 8th notes. They are very similar to quarter notes but are connected with a horizontal line at the top of each note stem. This is an important distinction that you should always watch for. Now, these notes are not counted one through eight like you might suspect but instead, include the word and to count the subdivision notes. If you look at the count above the 8th notes, you’ll see that the quarter note number counts are still present. There is 1, 2, 3, 4 just like the quarter notes. However, the and counts fill in the 8th note subdivisions. So, you simply count this 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. This repeats for each measure just like the quarter notes. Now the big difference between a measure of 8th notes and a measure of quarter notes isn’t the number of notes, it’s how the subdivisions relate each other. Take a look at the second section in the sheet music. It includes a measure of quarter notes followed by a measure of 8th notes. Let’s count this out loud one after another with a metronome set at 80 beats per minute. We’ll read all the way through row twice, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and. Notice how the only difference in the second measure is the and counts of the 8th notes. They just double the number of notes being counted. The quarter notes are steady with the metronome the entire time. Okay, in the third example, I’ve combined quarter notes and 8th notes using a variety of drum set voices. Keep in mind the symbols aren’t what is important here. We are focusing on how to count the notes not how to play them on the drum set. We’re just using random drum set voices here so you can get used to reading things that aren’t as clean as the first few lines on this page. Let’s count through these four measures with the metronome set at 80 beats per minute. 1, 2, 3 and, 4 and, 1, 2, 3, 4 and, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3, 4 and, 1, 2, 3 and, 4 and, 1, 2, 3, 4 and, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3, 4 and, 1. Okay, so you can see how the quarter notes and 8th notes come together. The quarter notes hold a steady pause and the 8th notes bring in the subdivisions to double the speed at which you play certain parts in the music. It’s important that you understand this relationship and how the notes are always relative to each other. Let’s change the metronome speed from 80 beats per minute to a hundred beats per minute so you can see what I mean, 1, 2, 3 and, 4 and, 1, 2, 3, 4 and, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3, 4 and, 1, 2, 3 and, 4 and, 1, 2, 3, 4 and, 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4, 1 and, 2 and, 3, 4 and. What happened there? Well, we just sped up our counting on the quarter notes and the 8th notes subdivisions had to match up at the same pace. If all these makes sense to you, you’re ready to move on to the next lesson. If you’re having any trouble, you can re-watch the quarter notes video and then re-watch this lesson.