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Visual Aids

2 e) Rhythmic Blocks

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We now come to RHYTHMIC BLOCKS which are written above the first stave of each piece.

                                       
Example from 1st Piece bars 1-4 from Book I of PIECES ARE SCALES IN DISGUISE

The notes printed between the Rythmic Blocks are written in TRADITIONAL NOTATION for purposes of comparison with FILLED-IN notation.

This prepares you for the usual form of notation which you'll come across in due course.

See how each RHYTHMIC BLOCK represents one beat - known as a CROTCHET.

Each beat is then split into two halves representing QUAVERS.

I sometimes call RHYTHMIC BLOCKS Rhythmic "boxes" as they contain the finger numbers of both hands.
Green for the Right Hand market RH.
Red for the Left Hand market LH.

The purpose of these Rhythmic Blocks or "boxes" is to relate rhythm to the relevant fingers - which is a tremendous help with co-ordination, as they make it much easier to play with both hands together even in the first lesson.

If we now combine the Rhythmic "boxes" with the first line of this piece you'll see how they provide rhythm of the first four bars, known as the FIRST STAVE.

This means that as a preparation for reading the notes of the first stave you can read from the "boxes" alone

so that, provided your fingers are over the appropriate keys (and don't move out of position)*, you are then able

 to establish how the beginning fo the piece actually sounds - which is encouraging -particularly as it gives a

clue to the rhythm of the rest of the piece:

Play this piece.





Finally, look at the last two bars of this piece.
             


If you look at the Rhythmic Blocks you'll see the word "minim" written above an open note.

Notice how this note lasts for two beats or "blocks" in both Bars 7 and 8.

In Bar 7 the open note looks the same as the traditional "minim" written above it because it represents a white key.

Whereas, in Bar 8 the note is "filled-in" because it represents a black key in this particular scale of "A" major.

You might think, if you're used to traditional notation, that this could cause confusion but, in my experience, this has never been the case because the Rhythmic Blocks printed above the notes show the notes printed further apart for long sounds or close together for short sounds.

So this makes it perfectly clear that a "minim" is worth two beats whereas a "crotchet" is worth only one beat.

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