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Counting Eighth Notes

For more eighth notes, check out Successful Drumming.

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Learn How To Count Eighth Notes

In this video drum lesson, you are going to learn how to count eight notes. More importantly, you'll learn the relationship between quarter notes and eighth notes, so you can understand how sub-divisions work. This is an extremely important concept that you must learn before moving on to other theory lessons. Be sure you re-watch the lesson until everything makes sense.

Eighth Note Exercises

This first example shows a measure of eighth notes with the counts written above each note. As you can see, there are eight within 4/4 time, and they are to be counted: one, and, two, and, three, and, four, and (re-starting at one for each measure). Note how eighth notes include a horizontal line connecting the stems in groups. This is quite different to how quarter notes appear on sheet music.

Eighth Notes #1

This second example shows a measure of quarter notes leading into a measure of eighth notes. This is an important exercise, as it shows how to transition from one sub-division of time into another. Watch the video lesson on this page for a demonstration of this exercise.

Basically, you want the one, two, three, and four counts to remain consistent and even through both measures. Then, in the second measure, the "and" counts get added into double the speed of those notes. This way, you are able to play double the speed while keeping steady time.

Eighth Notes #2

The third exercise mixes quarter and eighth notes in four measures. You'll also note that the bottom two lines include notes in different vertical positions. These indicate different notes around the drum set, but are still just quarter and eighth notes.

Eighth Notes #3

If everything in this lesson makes sense to you, it's time to move on to the sixteenth notes video lesson.

Can't read music? No Problem! Learn how to read drum notation here!