Rhythm Four Part Beats

Here we will move into dividing beats into four parts. We will call it a quadruple rhythm pattern. We work with

  • Reviewing duple patterns

  • Add new terms for counting the rhythm quadruple pattern. 

  • Easily seeing the different applications of using the quadruple pattern.

So what happens when we use sixteenth notes on a quarter beat pattern? OK, another great question. Let’s investigate using sixteenth notes on our 4/4 time signature, call it the quadruple pattern.

Review Duple Pattern

Let’s review quarter and half note and whole note in 4/4 time.

Rhythm 4/4 Review

Eighth notes get a half a beat either the beat or the “and”. Quarter notes take up one beat and get both the “beat and” count.

Adding Sixteenth Notes

Using “and” as a way to divide the beat in two allowed the use of eight notes. Similarly adding sixteenth notes the half beats need to be divided into again.

This is going to make us use two sixteenth notes (double 16th note ) for every eighth note (8th note) . Which extends to using four sixteenth notes (four 16th note )for every quarter note (qtr note). So we are going to need to expand our counting ability again.

“e” and “a” of Counting Rhythm

Introducing the “e” long sound “a” and “a” short sound “a” of counting.  Our new one beat count will be done this way:

    1   e  +  a     (one beat  )   one ee and a

And our 4 count measure is done this way:

1  e  + a  2  e  + a  3  e  +  a  4  e  +  a
(one beat) (one beat) (one beat)  (one beat)

We have to divide our beat into four parts.

Rhythm – Subdividing Beats By Four

Look at this rhythm where we work with 2/4 time signature:

Rhythm 2/4 quadruple 1

Our example is counted this way:

one   ee  and   a   two   ee   and   a 

(repeat a few times to get the hang of it)

Once again we took the beat and made it four parts.  Now lets explore further the counting with other notes.  Once again it is very important to count all four pieces of the beat to keep the rhythm smooth and consistent. 

Practice on these rhythms

Be sure to count out load and start slowly:


Cross of the number ever time you complete five repeats (5x)

  1          2          3          4          5          6         


Cross of the number ever time you complete five repeats (5x)

  1          2          3          4          5          6         

The key to sub dividing  beats is to know that counting a rhythm quadruple pattern with the “ee and a” and to do it even when the other notes are longer.

Again this can be clearer once you apply this to an instrument. Audition these rhythm quadruple patterns and apply counting rhythm rests using a piano or other instrument.

Play a single note where shown, count slowly and hold where indicated. Do it several times and you will be able to count the rhythm quadruple pattern easily.

Learning Resources