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Notation & Reading

What is a measure?

A music staff is separated into individual measures (or bars) of music with thin vertical lines called bar lines. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a bar line?

Bar lines separate individual measures on a musical staff. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a time signature?

The number of beats in each measure is determined by the time signature. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is the drum clef?

The first thing you’ll see written on the staff is the clef; the drum/percussion clef looks like a vertical rectangle and is used with non-pitched percussion instruments. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a staff?

Music is written on a music staff, which features five parallel horizontal lines. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a crescendo?

A crescendo denotes when music should gradually increase in volume. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a decresendo?

A decrescendo denotes when music should gradually decrease in volume. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What does a double bar line mean?

A double bar line indicates where the music ends. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is a triplet?

A triplet indicates when a note is divided by thirds. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

How do you play a dotted note?

A dotted note indicates that the note will last 50 percent longer, or 1 1/2 times its normal length. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

How do you play a rest?

A rest indicates a pause in your part. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What are note values?

A note value indicates the length of a note. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What are repeat marks?

A repeat sign indicates that you should repeat a specified number of measures. See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

How do you count rhythms?

The simplest way to figure out rhythms is to count them with the smallest note value you have to play. For most drum music, that means counting sixteenth-notes. In 4/4, sixteenth-notes are counted “1 e & ah 2 e & ah 3 e & ah 4 e & ah.” See the DRUM! Notation Guide.

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Notation & Reading

What is an accent?

Accents are single notes played at a higher volume. They can be played on any drum or cymbal.

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