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Counting in Different Time Signatures:

Part I:
4/4 vs 12/8 time Rob Martin: Instructor

4/4 Time : 4 beats (counts) per measure: Quarter Note receives one beat (count quarter notes as whole numbers)

ã 44 .. œ œ œ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 2 3 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a
Part II:
12/8 time: 12 beats per measure: 8th Note receives one beat (count 8th notes as whole numbers)
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ã 12
8 .. œ . œ. œ. œ. .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 4 7 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
a dotted quarter note receives 3 eight note counts 8th notes are counted like quarter notes in 4/4 time

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The 2 measures below are exactly the same thing because a quarter note receives 2 eight note counts
j j j j
ã .. œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 3 4 6 7 9 10 12 1 3 4 6 7 9 10 12

This method allows for easier counting of 16th notes which are now treated like 8th notes in 4/4 time:
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Mixed 8th & s16th note combos below:

ã .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 1 + 2 3 4 5 + 6 7 8 9 + 10 + 11 + 12
Part III:
This method counts 12/8 "IN FOUR"; 4 dotted quarter notes divide measure evenly into into 4 beats
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ã .. œ . œ. œ. œ. .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 2 3 4 1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a
Dotted quarter notes above are like regular quarter notes in 4/4 time New counting scheme for 8th notes above

When counting 12/8 "IN FOUR" , it becomes easier to treat the groups below as being similar to shuffle rhythms:
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j j j j
ã .. œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ œ ‰ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 a 2 a 3 a 4 a 1 a 2 a 3 a 4 a

However it is more difficult to treat 16th note groups under this method:
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ã .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ .. .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ ..
1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a 1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a

Rhythmic Excerpt from "I Saw Three Ships": Two ways to count these rhythms:
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j j j j j
ã .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ. ..
1 3 4 6 7 9 10 12 1 3 4 5 6 7 10

Method below keeps the music "IN FOUR"


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j j j j j
ã .. œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ. œ. ..
1 a 2 a 3 a 4 a 1 a 2 + a 3 4

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