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How can I arrange my beats? Counting beats and bars.

Whether you realize it or not making a beat includes giving some basic structure and organization.

To help give the music structure and organization, it’s important to be able to count beats and bars.

Think About

How does your favorite song start, climax, and end?

How do people structure and arrange their beats?

What do structure and arrangement contribute to a beat?

Getting Started

  1. Watch this Weeknd video and try counting the beats and bars. This can take some patience and a couple of tries!

To count beats, count in time with the music in groups of four like 1, 2, 3, 4   1, 2, 3, 4    1, 2, 3, 4

To count bars, replace each first beat with the new bar number like (1), 2, 3, 4  (2), 2 , 3, 4 (3), 2, 3, 4 (4), 2, 3, 4 and keep going!

  1. Now, try to pick out the kick and snare sounds. 

Listen for what beats the kick and snare sounds are on. Which beats are they?

Want an example of someone counting bars and beats?

  1. Check out this video of a person counting bars while working with the app Slicr to find a good sample to chop [Watch until 1:21]

If you want some additional information on counting bars and beats in different styles check out DJ TLM sharing how he counts:

Going Further

Get ready to arrange a beat live by counting beats and bars.

You’ll use a Launch Pad instrument (don’t worry if you don’t own a launchpad you can use computer keys or a computer mouse)

Your goal is to trigger different musical parts every 4 bars

  1. Watch this brief description of the Launch Pad Instrument and what to do next:

  1. Start arranging live with the Launch Pad Instrument here.

Share What You Learned

Upload a short description of how easy or difficult it was to count beats and bars and what it was like to arrange live while counting bars.