Learn About Eighth Notes With GarageBand Music Theory

Geek Culture

Eighth Notes are the subject of today’s GarageBand Music Theory Lesson. If you’re new to GB Music Theory, be sure to check out the previous weeks’ lessons on Whole Notes, Half Notes and Quarter Notes.

The rhythm value of an eighth note is one eighth of a whole note. However, it’s easiest to think of an eighth note as being held for half a beat or half of a quarter note:

Or, think of eighth notes as being two sounds being played over one beat like this:

When there are four beats in a measure of music, you can count eighth notes as: “1and 2and 3and 4and.” Or if you were sitting in an elementary school general music class, you would say: “ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti, ti-ti.”

Let’s fire up the GarageBand app and play some eighth notes.

First, select the Drums Instrument:

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. Two eighth notes will fit over each click.

Let’s make some music. Press the “Gear” Icon and tap the “Song” button:

Select Tempo and set it to 90 BPM (Beats Per Minute)

Press the Blue “Done” Button. Tap the Gear Icon again. Press the “Track” Button.

Now select “Quantization.” Quantization means that any of the notes that you play into the app will automatically be fit into the exact time that you select. Pretty cool, huh? For our purposes today, select eighth notes. Finish by pressing the Blue “Done” Button.

Now touch the record button (the red circle located at the top of the screen). After the four click Count-In, choose one of the drums or cymbals in the kit and tap it twice per beat. Continue this process, alternating between the snare drum, bass drum, toms and cymbals until you reach the end of the 8 measure grid located at the top of the screen:

Finish by pressing the “Stop” button.

Now, press the play button to hear your kickin’, 8-measure, eighth note beat!

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