Learn About Whole Notes With GarageBand Music Theory

Geek Culture

Rhythm is a crucial element in all music. The aspect of rhythm that we’re going to deal with today is note duration.

Every note of music that you hear has a rhythm value. Each note is held out for a specific length of time. This unit of time isn’t measured in minutes and seconds, but in beats. The number of beats (or the division of a single beat) that a note is held out for gives us our rhythm value.

Our exploration of note duration begins with the Whole Note:
This oval shape instructs a musician to hold a note out for four beats (or counts).

Let’s fire up GarageBand and experiment. Begin by selecting the Keyboard Instrument.

Press the Grand Piano button.

Now choose the Classic Rock Organ instrument because it sustains better than the Grand Piano.

Click the “Play” Button located at the top of the screen.

You should hear the metronome clicking away. Each one of those clicks is a beat. A whole note will occupy 4 of those clicks.

Let’s play a simple whole note melody using only the white keys. Touch the record button (the red circle located at the top of the screen). After the four click Count-In, choose a white key and hold it down for four clicks. Then move on to a different white key and hold that for four beats. Continue this process until you reach the end of the 8 measure grid located above the keyboard.

Finish by pressing the “Stop” button.

Now, press the play button to hear your glorious 8 measure, whole note melody!

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