In 3/8 time, each bar has one beat (one dotted crochet), and each beat seems like it's in three—you may divide each beat into three quavers. Each bar in 3/4 time has three beats, and each beat seems split in two—you may split each beat up into two quavers. That's how simple it is to count in 3/8 time! There are 12 pulses in an hour; if you're counting crochets, they should be about 4 inches each.
There are 32 crochets in a quarter note; this means that there are 24 quavers in a measure. So, if you're counting crochets, the first quaver of the measure should have 24 stitches on it. The second quaver will have 24 stitches plus the first stitch from the previous quaver, for a total of 25 stitches. And so on... This is why it's important to keep track of which stitches belong to which quavers when counting in 3/8 time.
Here are some simple exercises to help you practice counting in 3/8 time:
2/4, which has two crotchet beats in a bar, or 2/2, which has two minim beats in a bar, are two examples of this. When there are three major beats in a bar, we say we're in triple time. 3/4, which has three crotchet beats in a bar, or 3/8, which has three quaver beats in a bar, are examples of this. If you want to know how many beats are in a measure without counting, here's a way: count the number of times the word "beat" appears in the music dictionary and that's how many measures there are. There are four beats in a meter when it says "two measures of 4/4 time."
How do you know how many beats are in a measure? It's easy! Just look at the chart below and find out what kind of time signature the song is in (see page 31 for more on time signatures). Then, count how many times the word "beat" appears in the music dictionary. For example, if the song is in 4/4 time, there should be four beats per measure. A measure is usually not longer than five or six steps so you can easily count them.
Here are some other simple ways to tell how many beats are in a measure:
- Count the number of strokes in the word "stroke". There are eight strokes in a beat.
- Count the number of syllables in the word "syllable". There are seven syllables in a beat.
The first few bars are depicted above. The time signature 3/4 indicates that a quarter note receives one beat and that there are three beats per measure. The opening measure has three quarter notes, each of which receives one beat. This makes for a total of nine beats in the measure.
Three-quarters notes have a length of about two and a half times the length of a half note. So a three-quarter note is about five inches long. A note value of three-quarters means that you should play approximately twice as fast as if it were a half note.
Nine beats per measure is called "quick tempo". If you were to play this piece at quick tempo, it would go very quickly. It's important to know how to count out loud while playing music so that you don't miss any details of the score.
A full bar is eight measures long. So, the piece shown here would take four minutes to play. You can see that there are rest periods after every measure. These rest periods allow your brain and body time to recover from the stress of playing. In fact, it's best not to think about what note you're going to play next or try to remember where you left off - just go with the flow and let everything happen naturally.