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How To Count Rests

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Learn How To Count Rests in Drum Notation

This video drum lesson will teach you how to read and interpret rests within all the sub-divisions we've covered in the drum theory videos. This way, you will be able to tell the difference between rests within quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets, and thirty-second notes.

Quarter Note Rests

This first example shows a measure of quarter notes. However, the fourth note looks a little different than all the others. This is because this note is actually a "rest". It is to be counted, in order to fill the measure of 4/4 time, but is not to be played on the drum set. So, while you would count this measure one, two, three, four - you would only strike the snare drum on the one, two, and three counts.

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Counting Rests #1

Eighth Note Rests

Example two has a measure of of eighth notes. As with the quarter notes, you may notice something a little different here. The three and four counts have an eithth note rest instead of an eighth note. As with the quarter note rest, these are to be counted, but not played.

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Counting Rests #2

Sixteenth Note Rests

The third example features a measure of sixteenth notes with the "a of two", "and of three", and "four" counts all featuring sixteenth note rests. The concept is the same as with the previous rests, except these sixteenth note rests only take up the space of a sixteenth note.

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Counting Rests #3

Eighth Note Triplet Rests

Rests also apply to triplets. Here in exercise four, you can see a measure of eighth note triplets with rests on the "trip of two", "let of three", and "four" counts. You might also note that these rests look identical to the eighth note rests. The only difference is the little number "3" that is above each triplet group.

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Counting Rests #4

Sixteenth Note Triplet Rests

The sixteenth note triplet rests work in exactly the same way. Here you can see a measure of regular sixteenth note triplets, with some sixteenth note triplet rests. As with the eighth note and eighth note triplet rests being the same symbol, sixteenth notes and sixteenth note triplet rests also appear the same.

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Counting Rests #5

Thirty-Second Note Rests

Exercise six has a measure of thirty-second notes with rests added on the second "a" of both the two and four counts. Now, these could have been written by using sixteenth notes on the "a" counts, but this example is just written up to show you how thirty-second note rests appear within the context of drum sheet music.

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Counting Rests #6

Be sure you watch the video lesson on this page for more information about these rests, including: tips for interpreting rests, sight reading, and much more. Then, check out some of the other drum theory lessons.

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