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Notating the Beat – Max Makes Music

Not all students are auditory learners. This is a fact that I have to re-learn every time I work with students.

Since I am comfortable working in the realm of sound, I naturally assume other people view the world through this lens. Some do, but for almost anyone a visual reference can be essential to understanding how musical rhythms works.

One tool I have used a lot is my Rhythm Chart. These eight boxes represent eight musical beats divided into two measures of four beats. This is a starting point for people studying rhythm.

 

 

 

While teaching a workshop, I was fascinated to discover, thanks to music teacher Anne Schaadt, a Haitian choral piece entitled “Peze Kafe.” I even got to hear her students perform the piece. The use of layered vocal percussion caught my attention immediately, and Mrs. Schaadt was kind of enough to share a copy of the song notated traditionally.

And here is a live performance of Peze Kafe by the Chapel Choir.

How else can we write down/visualize a rhythm? This simple question seems ripe with potential for further exploration.

About The Author

Max is a professional beatboxer and teaching artist. He enjoys teaching and performing for audiences of all ages.

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