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Author David Luebbert
Posted 4/24/11; 12:58:14 AM
Msg# 5804 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next 5803/5805
Reads 2312

How to hear what a Skeleton Count means

Rhythm Skeleton Counts are always expressed as a sum of integer numbers, like this:


To verbally interpret the skeleton count, for each integer in the sum, count from 1 to that number, saying each number in the count at an even tempo, as though it were synchronized to a metronome or the ticking of a clock. Every time you restart the count and say one, say it with an accent, a little louder than any other number in the count.

The verbal interpretation of 2+5+4+3+2 would be


You can listen to this count spoken and simultaneously clapped here.

If you were playing a percussion instrument, you would strike your instrument only at the instant you begin to say the number One. Since this skeleton count has five integers in its summation, you know that the skeleton specifies a sequence of 5 hits that will be struck at precise times within the rhythm cycle.

If you add up the sum fro a skeleton count, you'll find that the sum specifies the number of subdivisions that were necessary to accurately notate one entire cycle of the rhythm. Since 2+5+4+3+2 = 16, we know that this rhythm cycle is evenly subdivided 16 times.

If you divide that total subdivision count by the number of beats in the rhythm, that will tell how finely the beats of the rhythm had to be subdivided to accurately notate the rhythm. If our example rhythm were played over a four beat cycle, we know that since 16 / 4 = 4. each beat in the rhythm is subdivided by 4.

When skeleton counts are to played using the Play Rhythm service, the skeleton count is wrapped in square brackets and the beat count is written in front of the left bracket. So if 2+5+4+3+2 were to be played over four beats, the Play Rhythm URL that would perform the count would be[2+5+4+3+2]

A low beat subdivision count (1,2,3 or 4) indicates that the rhythm is fairly simple. A subdivision count that consists of several prime factors multiplied together, like 12, 15, 18, or something larger, indicates that the counting scheme within the rhythm likely changes from beat to beat, or between runs of beats.

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Last update: Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 1:22 AM.