Timing, Rhythm & Tempo


Timing is an important part of singing.  Learning to count the beats, using musical notation and sight reading are all part of the process and will help you to improve your performance  This section aims to provide some basics on timing, rhythm and the art of using your ears!!

All music is counted in beats and bars.  Each beat is a count and always begins on the first note played, which incidentally is the most pronounced beat. Click Here for Timing Examples and further information on Bars, Beats, Signatures and Timing or check out the online BPM reference chart and counter complete with free downloadable beats per minute counters and metronome for your computer.


Rhythm refers to the way in which sounds of varying length and accentuation are grouped into patterns.  If you listen to a song the tune itself could not be played on a table but it’s rhythm could be tapped out on one.   If you tapped faster or slower the rhythm does not change – only the tempo. You can identify the rhythm by listening to where the accents are placed. Played notes, words, phrases or drum hits are loud, short, long or soft, these are repeated in a measured flow and these are what make up the ‘rhythm’ of the song or musical piece.


All songs are recorded in counts of   8   beats.
When mixing a song you should always start to add the new song on the 1st beat of the 8 count.
Example: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 Start 2-3-4-5-6-7-8
All songs are split up into sections of 32 or 64 beats.
This is when either a new sound is put into a song or taken out of a song.

Rhythm Training from WorldJazz
Provides free online lessons complete with practice scores and mp3 examples or you can play along with midi files. Site available in English and Deutsch.


In Association With Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com

Rhythmic Vocabulary

A Musician’s Guide to Understanding and Improvising With Rhythm
Alan Dworsky, Betsy Sansby, Robert Jackson (Illustrator)
You don’t have to be a drummer to study rhythm. This 208-page book with CD is a roadmap to rhythm for any musician. It organizes and explains hundreds of patterns to give a deeper understanding of rhythmic structure. It also teaches rhythmic concepts and variation techniques you can use to create patterns of your own.
Dancing Hands Free Online Lessons.
Read more at Amazon UK
Read More at Amazon USA

Useful Timing & BPM Links

BPM Counting Theory
A good section on BPM Theory.