How to learn to read music, part 5 (rhythm)

By | April 3, 2021


To understand the rhythm, we must first identify the different note values. The five most common note values ​​in music are whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes.


Let’s start by learning about the whole note. A whole note looks like a circle, and it has 4 strokes. So you would count ‘1-2-3-4’ when playing or singing the note.


Next we will learn to count half a note. A half note has 2 strokes. You would count ‘1-2’ when playing or singing the note. Half the rest looks like an open circle with a trunk attached to it.


Next we will learn to identify and count with a quarter note. A quarter note has 1 stroke. You count ‘1’ when you play it or sing it. It looks like a filled circle with a trunk attached to it.


Now we learn to identify an eighth note. of one kind. It looks like a filled circle with a stem and a curved line (called a flag) attached to it.


Finally, we learn about the sixteenth note. A sixteenth note receives? of ab eat, and it looks like an eighth with an extra flag attached to it.


Practice looking at a piece of music and identifying the different note values ​​until you can easily identify each one.


Try singing whole notes, half notes and quarter notes while counting. For an entire note, count ‘1-2-3-4’. For a half note, count ‘1-2’. For a quarter note, you count ‘1.’


When you are comfortable singing the notes for the right number of beats, try playing them on your instrument (

Tips and warnings

  • Programs like Smart Music can also help you control the accuracy of your rhythm.
  • A metronome can help you control the accuracy of your rhythm.

  • Open a beginner music book for the first pages. Practice reading the rhythms that you see.
  • The reading rhythm becomes easier with practice.
  • Be careful with full rests and half supports. It’s easy to get them confused with each other. Remember that an entire note hangs from the line. A half rest sits on top of the line.
  • Note! This article assumes that the time signature is 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4. (If you do not know what it means, it does not mean that it will be worrying. We will learn more about it in future parts of the series ‘How to learn to read music’.)
  • Music is defined as ‘the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a continuous, uniform and stimulating composition, such as through melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre.’ ( Note the phrase, ‘the art of arranging sounds in time’ in this definition. Time is an important element in music, and throughout the history of music, music has had a rhythm. The rhythm is ‘the pattern of musical movement through time’. ( In the beginning, music (including rhythm) was noted, but as history developed, humans designed a system to record the sounds they made. We now have a standard system with musical notation, and in this article we will look specifically at how the rhythm is noted.

    As you read this article, you will learn how to read rhythmic notation.
    Musical time is measured in beats. One beat is ‘the basic rhythmic unit of a piece of music.’ ( This concept is similar to a second as the basic device in time. Beats give us a way to measure time. A beat is a steady pulse that we identify by counting in a steady way (eg 1-2-3-4).