Why is Rhythm Important?
Quite simply, rhythm is just the timing of notes that are
played. Hmm, that sounds simple enough. So why is rhythm so crucial
to music? Well, rhythm adds a whole new dimension to music. Instead
of just varying pitches, composers can also vary rhythms! This
creates the uniqueness of each piece and gives each piece it's own
What is Rhythm?
So what exactly is rhythm? We know that it's the timing of the notes, but how do the composers write down these timings into a simple format? Well, if you can read music, then you know exactly how this is done. Otherwise, we'll have to teach you about notation. Basically, all musical notes are arranged notes that last for different amounts of time. For example, a quarter note is a common note that is used by composers. Usually, a quarter note will last for a quarter of a measure.
What is a measure? Well, it's just a section of one full beat. Are you confused? Don't worry! Here's an example: four quarter notes make up one full beat. This makes sense because four quarters added together is one. So, a quarter note lasts for a certain amount of time. Now, for example, composers can also use half notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or any other fraction. This allows them to use an almost limitless array of note lengths.
Now, you may have noticed that a major part of music is also silence. What we mean by this is that the short or long silences in between notes are often very important. So how do composers write these silences? Well, the silences are called "rests", and they work the same way as notes do. For example, a quarter rest is silence that lasts as long as a quarter note and an eighth note is silence that lasts as long as an eighth rest.
By now you may be wondering how a musician knows how long to
hold a note. Well, composers often write down a tempo marking.
Tempo markings, such as moderato or allegro, give the musicians
some idea about how long to hold each note. Of course, the final
speed and style of the piece is up to the musicians themselves. On
the next page, we will show you some actual notes and rests and you
will able to see how composers are able to quickly symbolize to
musicians how long to hold a note.