Saturday, May 27, 2017

Note/Rest Pairings (A Great Sightreading Tip!)

Post 21 of 31 for May 2017!

When I was younger, reading rests (especially sightreading rests), caused me to worry and guess, hoping that my rhythm was close to correct. Best case scenario, rests like the ones in the picture above felt like awkward pauses and worst case scenario, they turned into full blown mistakes with plenty of negative ripple effects. 

Later in my musical education, I understood the importance of subdividing, so the rests made sense to me mathematically and intellectually, but I still struggled to find an efficient, reliable way of reading them in real time. 

Now, I am happy to share with you that, though the notes and rests in the picture above may seem complicated, the counting in both examples is literally as simple as 1, 2, 3!

In the 3/4 example (quarter note = 1 beat):

Eighth note + Eighth rest = 1 beat

Dotted eighth + Sixteenth rest = 1 beat

Sixteenth note + Dotted eighth rest = 1 beat

In the 6/8 example (dotted quarter = 1 beat):

Quarter note + Eighth rest = 1 beat

Eighth note + Quarter rest = 1 beat

Dotted eighth note + Dotted eighth rest = 1 beat

I call these combinations Note/Rest Pairings. If you start to look out for them, you will find them everywhere in your music! 

In the selection below, from Danse de la Chevre by Arthur Honegger, the sixteenth note rests may seem difficult to read, but if you look closely, you can see that they are just part of a simple Note/Rest Pairing with the previous sixteenth note. 

In other words, if you're practicing with the eighth note beat on your metronome, no need for an awkward pause or guess just because you encounter a sixteenth note rest. All you have to do is play the note after the rest on the very next eighth note click!

The more you practice reading Note/Rest Pairings, the easier they will get :-). 

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sánchez

P.S. I'm working hard to follow through on my 31 Posts in 31 Days May 2017 Challenge. If you appreciate what I'm doing, will you donate to the Maverick Flute Choir GoFundMe Campaign? Thank you!!