Suzan's Cents

30 Nov 2016

Rhythm Cake: Understanding Rhythm Is A Piece Of Cake


We’ll use a cake and a measure of music to explain rhythm, but first a quick OVERVIEW.

Each line and note on the staff stands for a note.


  • What kind of note is used tells how long to hold it.


  • Symbols are placed on the staff to show what to play and show time going by.




Notes go up rhythm-cake-9 and down rhythm-cake-10 on the staff.

Time goes from rhythm-cake-11 left to right rhythm-cake-12

  • Time is separated into beats (counts) and measures.


  • Time signature rhythm-cake-14 shows how many beats per measure (top number) and what note gets the beat (bottom number)


(2 = half note, 4 = quarter note, 8 = eighth note, 16 = sixteenth note)


     Imagine that a measure is a cake.    



  • It is already cut into 4 even pieces or beats (counts).    rhythm-cake-18
  • Each piece is numbered 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Imagine that people are eating cake and the notes are the pieces of cake.
  • If one person wants cake they get the whole cake = 4 pieces

     Whole note = 4 counts


  • If two people want cake, we split the cake in half and each person gets two pieces.          

     Half note = 2 counts


  • If four people want cake, each person gets one piece.                                   

     Quarter note = 1 counts


  • If eight people want cake, each person gets a half a piece of cake. (each piece is cut in half)

     Eighth note = ½ a count


  • If sixteen people want cake, each person gets one-fourth a piece of cake.

     (each piece gets cut into 4 smaller pieces)

     Sixteenth note = ¼ of a count


Counting Rhythms

  • In order to be able to count rhythms, each part of the beat is named.
  • Each whole beat gets a number  1 2 3 4


     Counting Whole notes


     Counting Half Notes


     Counting Quarter Notes


     Counting Eighth Notes

  • The beats need to be cut in half for eighth notes, the first half of the beat is called the        number, and the second half of each beat is called ‘&’ (and).  1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.


     Counting Sixteenth Notes

  • The beats need to be cut in fourths for sixteenth notes, the first fourth of the beat is called the number, the second fourth of the beat is called ‘e’ (long ee), the third fourth is called ‘&’ and the last fourth is called ‘a’ (uh).