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How can I count beats and bars?

Whether you realize it or not making a beat includes giving some basic structure and organization. 

To help give the music structure and organization, it’s important to be able to count beats and bars.

Think About

  • How do people structure and arrange their beats?
  • What do structure and arrangement contribute to a beat?
  • How can I figure out what the different parts are of a beat?
  • How can I figure out where the different parts of a beat start and end?

Get Started

  1. Watch this Weeknd video and try counting the beats and bars. This can take some patience and a couple of tries!

To count beats, count in time with the music in groups of four like 1, 2, 3, 4   1, 2, 3, 4    1, 2, 3, 4

To count bars, replace each first beat with the new bar number like (1), 2, 3, 4  (2), 2 , 3, 4 (3), 2, 3, 4 (4), 2, 3, 4 and keep going!

  1. Now, try to pick out the kick and snare sounds. 

Listen for what beats the kick and snare sounds are on. Which beats are they?

Want an example of someone counting bars and beats?

  1. Check out this video of a person counting bars while working with the app Slicr to find a good sample to chop [Watch until 1:21]

Now check out DJ TLM sharing how he counts:

  1. Choose some music that you like and try counting beats and bars to figure out when different parts of the music start or stop.
    1. You can figure out when the parts start and stop by identifying which bar and which beat they start and stop on.

Practicing counting beats and bars and identifying when parts start and stop will help you build the skills for being able to arrange your beats.

Share What you Learned

If you are using the LRNG platform:

  • You do not need to submit anything for this XP
  • You should be able to show how you can count beats and bars and figure out when parts start and stop

If you are not using the LRNG platform:

  • Continue below and share with your teacher or organization:

Sharing What You Learned

  • Show someone how you can count beats and bars and figure out when parts start and stop

Next Steps

Return to How can I arrange my beats? (continue to the next XP in the mini-playlist)