Quarter Note – Subdividing The Beat

What Is A Quarter Note?

The driving pulse behind the vast majority of music is the quarter note. Whether it makes you want to bob your head, tap your foot, dance or whatever. The quarter note is generally responsible. One of the ways we can make the quarter note interesting is by subdividing it. So to begin looking at subdivisions, first we need to explore what the quarter note is all about. Click the video below to hear it! …and to watch me pick my nose with two super-imposed me’s looking quite disgusted!

If you consider most western music, there’s four quarter notes per bar. That’s called 4 4 time or common time. Click here to learn more about time signatures. You can hear quarter notes clearly outlined in the above video. If we were to isolate quarter notes within a bar of 4 4 time, we would have simply four equal spaced notes filling the bar (See the fill in example two below).

Let’s take a closer look at what we went over in this video.
Quarter Note Beat and Fill
Above we see the main groove used within this series and the first fill. Which is a single quarter note flam on beat four, played on the snare drum.
Quarter Note BEAT and Fill
Here we see a groove entirely consisting of quarter notes. Followed by a fill which is quarter note flams played across the toms.

Don’t disregard this video or section. I know you may be thinking that this is simple stuff and at face value, it is. But it’s deeply important. One of the most important things in my opinion for a drummer to posses is a strong internal pulse. That all starts here, the fundamental note within the vast majority of music. If you’re shaky on this, your time will suffer greatly. Don’t rush it, it’ll come with time! Keep on’ hittin’ things!

Quarter Notes Relate To Everything

The beat played in the video you just watched is going to be the basis for this entire series on subdividing the beat. We’re going to relate many different subdivisions to this quarter note driven beat. Eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, quintuplets, sixteenth note triplets, septuplets and thirty-second notes are the main videos for this section.

eighth notes thumbnail