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#1466501 - 07/01/10 03:51 PM eighth notes and metronome
xiangjiao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 63
Loc: California
I am having trouble "feeling" eighth notes when playing with a metronome. Let me try to explain.
When I was playing quarter notes I always got the reinforcement of the "click" of the metronome after I played the key so I knew I was in rhythm, but with the eighth notes I feel kind of lost trying to "stuff" two notes into one space! This is especially the case when I play 4 eighths in a row. When with just two eighths I can still hear the click of the metronome after the first pair, but with 4 I don't even have the luxury of that. This leads to me being rhythmically lost after playing 4 eighths.

So, what I have been doing is setting the metronome to x2 speed and giving quarter notes 2 beats and eighth notes one beat... (since the metronome does not say "one-and-two-and) This of course this isn't going to be very effective when I get to 16th notes ect. So I was wondering how other people have been getting used to eighth notes and if there is some better way to "feel" out the rhythm when playing.

book// Alfred's Book I
song// Blow the Man Down
dreams// Cruel Angel Thesis, Just communication, I Say Yes, Cannon in D, star fox 64 opening theme

Yamaha p85// started 6-11-2010

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#1466504 - 07/01/10 04:01 PM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: xiangjiao]
jfd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/16/10
Posts: 26
I don't use metronome at first. I start to clap hands and speak out loud "one-eighth two-eight h three-eighth four-eighth". Then I play while speaking out load until I feel comfortable with the piece. At last, I use metronome. It worked out for me so far.

#1466512 - 07/01/10 04:09 PM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: jfd]
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1456
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
the metronome does not say "one-and-two-and....

But you certainly can!!

Practicing saying one-and-two-and... along with the metronome set to the correct tempo.
And jfd's point you could also practice clapping along while counting to the metronome.

It's one of those things that will eventually "click".

EDIT to add:
Actually, some digital metronomes let you adjust the number of clicks between beats, but IMHO, you will get a better sense of rhythm without the extra clicks.

#1466523 - 07/01/10 04:28 PM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: Triryche]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1851
Loc: Colorado
Tap your left hand slowly on the table while simultaneously tapping your right hand twice as fast. - There you have it. Quarter notes in the left, eighth notes in the right.

Once you can do this consistently, try tapping with the right hand slowly, then tap twice as fast with the left.

You can count them out...one, two, three, four in the left, then try counting twice as fast with the other hand,,,one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and as you tap.

You can use your single finger for the exercise, then alternate more fingers as you gain confidence.

Be patient and have fun with it!


A Bit of YouTube
PTG Associate Member

#1466556 - 07/01/10 04:59 PM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: Inlanding]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
You need to get the eights quickly, as you will then have to deal with 16th, 32nd, and 64th notes. It's weird, but after 15 years of adult piano, I'm just now becoming quite clear on those microscopic notes, which I ignored all along.
Happy Playing All

#1466735 - 07/01/10 11:06 PM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: MiM]
xiangjiao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 63
Loc: California
Hi guys,
Thanks for the suggestions. I tried the counting while playing while listening to the metronome, but thats too many things to do at once. I decided to just different combinations of eighth notes and quarter notes instead. Hopefully I will get it sooner or later.

Also, I found it helped to set the metronome to "ding" after the measure is over. This way I still get some reinforcement that my timing is correct. For example, if I was able to properly fit all the beats into the measure I will get a "ding" to wrap them all up. I also look within the measure to see where the "clicks" should be. I think this has really helped my timing since this morning smile

I am using an electric metronome on my digi piano. It goes click-click-click-ding. I really like the clicks and dings ^^ makes it feel like I'm playing dance dance revolution or something!

Hope others will find this thread useful ^^

Edited by xiangjiao (07/01/10 11:09 PM)
book// Alfred's Book I
song// Blow the Man Down
dreams// Cruel Angel Thesis, Just communication, I Say Yes, Cannon in D, star fox 64 opening theme

Yamaha p85// started 6-11-2010

#1466781 - 07/02/10 01:36 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: xiangjiao]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1275
Loc: Portland, OR
Try using the metronome on your piano, but don't actually play the piano, and just tap the rhythms on your knees. It's less overwhelming to count and tap at the same time, when you don't need to worry about which note to play on the keyboard. I find that my playing at the piano is hugely improved by my practicing rhythms in isolation.

The suggestion to tap quarter notes with one hand and eighths with the other is an excellent one. If that's too frustrating to start with, tap on the beat with one hand, and tap the off-beat with the other, so you're alternating hands. Then work on tapping one hand twice as fast as the other. Also try skipping beats or sub beats. You can get pretty tricky, and it's fun.

Do what you need with the metronome to to get a feel for what things should sound like, and how the note lengths should be proportioned to one another. You want to imprint the sound of it in your mind, whatever that takes. But then eventually it's good to transition to tapping/playing your rhytms without hearing metronome clicks for every sub-beat. You want to develop the skill of feeling right where those sub-beats belong, without the auditory prompt. When you start to syncopate, you will need to track silent beats.

Rhythm is a very physical thing -- on some deep level our bodies seem programmed to resonate with recurring auditory pulses (perhaps learned in the womb?). Don't be afraid to let go and let the pulse take over your body, or bounce playfully around your mind. When I have trouble with rhythms, I find that sometimes I need to purposely get stupid, and just let my body listen and pulsate on a very primal level. From there, a different kind alertness will wake up inside me, and want to get simultaneously precise and playful with rhythmic patterns.
Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog

#1466840 - 07/02/10 04:45 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: tangleweeds]
xiangjiao Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 63
Loc: California
I heard this twice now "tap one hand twice as fast as the other". Do you guys mean like this:
o x o x o x o / right
o o o o o o o / left
or like... out of beat (this one also looks pretty easy, but you know what I mean)
o x o x o x o
xo o o o o ox

Edited by xiangjiao (07/02/10 04:48 AM)
book// Alfred's Book I
song// Blow the Man Down
dreams// Cruel Angel Thesis, Just communication, I Say Yes, Cannon in D, star fox 64 opening theme

Yamaha p85// started 6-11-2010

#1466844 - 07/02/10 05:04 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: xiangjiao]
Ejay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 216
Loc: U.K.
Left hand taps 4 times , Right hand taps 8 times in same period.

Left hand ; Tea Tea Tea Tea
Right Hand; Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee

My spaces are removed when posted, but Tea commences at same time as first syllable of Coffee. Tea being one tap, coffee being two taps, cof fee.

Edited by Ejay (07/02/10 05:10 AM)
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

#1466948 - 07/02/10 10:21 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: Ejay]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1851
Loc: Colorado
Just tap one hand twice as fast as the other - that demonstrates the difference between quarter notes and eighth notes, or for that matter any beat twice as fast as others, like whole/half, quarter/eighths, eighths/sixteenths, etc.

If you use the metronome, for example at 60bpm, tap your left hand at that speed, then tap your right hand twice as fast. You can count the left hand, one, two, three, four for each click of the metronome. Then tap the right hand (to tap twice as fast) and count one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and, which represents eight beats for your right hand in the same time it took four four your left.

Let us know how you progress.


A Bit of YouTube
PTG Associate Member

#1466959 - 07/02/10 10:42 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: Inlanding]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3426
This is one of many things for which a teacher is invaluable...problems like this can usually be solved in a few moments in the studio.
Piano teacher

#1466992 - 07/02/10 11:47 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: rocket88]
KrystalKai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 23
Loc: Europe
When I was a very young child, my mother put me in dance lessons. The teacher had the loudest snap you've ever heard, and she'd snap the rhythm with an exaggerated and precisely even up-and-down arm motion so that the beat was on the down and the eighth note was on the up, with her hand like she was throwing something over her shoulder.

When I concentrate on rhythms to this day, I can still hear her snap on the quarter note and see her hand suspended in mid-air of the upswing on the eighth notes. And if I really exaggerate my counting, I can even hear loud voice over the music, "ONE and TWO and.."
Kobrat 83 Digital Piano, working on ABRSM level 1
Please don't recommend a teacher.. it's a sore subject.

#1468098 - 07/04/10 11:52 AM Re: eighth notes and metronome [Re: KrystalKai]
KBS1607 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 60
Loc: Illinois
I was so glad to see this topic. I told my teacher last Tuesday if I could learn eighth notes well at piano camp I would be happy.

I intend to ask my daughter to count for me as I can do it at lessons but have trouble on my own.

Kim in IL
Alfred Adult Level One graduated 2010
I've been taking lessons since 2005


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