Year 7: Rhythm and Beat

Lesson 1

In this lesson you will learn :

Imagine the sound of soldier's feet, or the ticking of a clock.  This is a beat.  Beats can be fast or slow and are measured in beats per minute (BPM).  A beat of 60 BPM is equivalent to one beat every second.

Activity 1
For this exercise you will need a small percussion instrument.  If you haven't got one, then clap.
Below is a grid with 8 boxes.  Each box is a beat.  When there is a dot in a box, you play it on your instrument.  If the box is empty, don't play for that beat.  If there are two of you, then one of you can play a steady beat while the other playes the dots.
When you have played box 8, go straight back to box 1.  Play the whole thing 3 times

Click this button for a beat                 Click this button for the beat with the dots played 
 
 
 
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Here is another to try.  This time the beat is going faster (130 BPM).

Click this button for a beat                 Click this button for the beat with the dots played 
 
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Activity 2 - Listening tests

For this test, you will need 8 boxes like the one below.  When you click the buttons, you will hear the test.  You have to draw in the dots where you hear the drum played.  There are 3 tests.  Click on the button to hear the test.

Test 1 (played only once)

 
               

Test 2 (played only once)

 
               

Test 3 (played only once)

 
               

Finished?  Check your answers here



Activity 3 - Group Work
For this activity, you will need to work with a partner.  One of you plays the top row of dots, the other plays the bottom row.
Play the whole thing 3 times without a break.
If you need it, click on the button to hear a beat (130 BPM)


 

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With your partner, use the two empty grids below to make up your own 8 beat rhythm music.  When you have finished, play them.
 

               
               

 
               
               



Information
The American composer Steve Reich uses repeated patterns of rhythms in a very similar way to the activities in this lesson.  The rhythm patterns are repeated over and over again (called ostinati) until a tiny change is inserted into the music, then after another long repeated section, another change occurs, and so on.  It is the little changes that make the music interesting.  This type of music has a kind of hypnotic effect due to its repetitions.  It is called Minimalism.


Steve Reich