Students have been pestering me to make a Read Music Fast! Part 3, covering rhythm, ever since I published “the best course not only in Udemy, also on the internet” (one reviewer’s description of Read Music Fast). Making a course on rhythm would be complicated because to do it properly would require animations, which would require finding an animator, so for the time being I’ve written a 12-part series on reading rhythm which should be enough to get you going.
I left rhythm notation until last, after notes and key signatures, because these days you can copy a rhythm off a recording pretty easily – more easily than you can work out the notes. Not being able to read rhythm certainly didn’t hamper the rhythmic sense of musicians who couldn’t see, like Art Tatum and Stevie Wonder, or musicians who couldn’t read, like Jimi Hendrix or Paul McCartney. I also left rhythm notation until last because it’s even more counter-intuitive than note notation, which is saying a lot. However, if you’re playing by yourself it’s useful to be able to analyse a rhythm accurately so that you can play it properly. And, as always, I’ll make it as straightforward as possible.