Who invented the common way of counting 16ths?

mtarrani

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Good question. I wish I had the answer. There are a number of mnemonics floating around that use fruits, food and other things as an alternative way to count. Here is one example. I'll post others later. I know that does not answer your question, but apparently there are folks who don't know or cannot remember the tried and true method, which has spawned alternatives:
 
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mtarrani

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"poppies"

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mtarrani

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The linked article says Haskall Harr was the one that came up with the system. Still, cool that I now have an answer!
Bear in mind that that system only works with English. Other languages will give strange results. The method is based on the fact that there is a single syllable in how numbers 1 through 4 are pronounced. In English each of those words are single syllable. Imagine trying to count 16ths in this language: Isa (2 syllables), dalawa (3 syllables), tatlo (2 syllables), apat (2 syllables) :)
 

hardbat

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Or even Italian - uno (2 syllables), due (2 syllables), tre, quattro (2 syllables).
But Chinese works - i, ar, san, ss
i-ah-he-uh, ar-ah-he-uh, san-ah-he-uh, ss-ah-he-uh
Now I'm curious how all the great Italian musicians count their 16ths.
 

sixplymaple

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How do you count triplets?

I count them as... one-la-lee, two-la-lee, three-la-lee, four-la-lee
 

dcrigger

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I was taught 1 e and da

and was always perplexed that others were taught 1 e and ah

It was much later then in actually practice - either way ends up being pronounced exactly the same...

For those that count 1 e and ah - at any reasonable tempo above slow, don't you put the "d" of "and" right on the 4th 1/16ths

Just I never actually pronounced the "d" in "and" and the "d" in "da" - also opting to just articulate the last one.... making it 1 E An Da

Which can be said wicked fast when needed.
 

Seb77

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Not exactly on topic, but related is this Adam Neely discussion. I subscribe to his channel because of interesting topics like this :)
So se Tschörmäns did it, ja? :D

Seriously, this topic goes deeper than you first think: a lot of singers, violinists etc. are much less clear about the grid we drummers use so freely, because we often play the subdivisions, whereas the "long-note musicians" play or sing over them. As a drummer singing in a choir, I'm reminded of this quite often. To my fellow singers a dotted quarter note seems to mean "somewhat longer than a quarter, but not quite a half note" - instead of being clearly defined as 3 eighth notes combined.
On the other hand, I sometimes have to be reminded of phrasing lines instead of just lining up notes.

Another thing to ponder: counting eight note as "1&2&..."and 16ths as "1e&d..." is only correct if the quarter note is the counted note value - you could also be counting half notes: in 2/2 time (alla breve). Here, half notes are the counts, quarter notes are the "1&2&", and eighth notes are the "1e&d..." subdivision.
 

funkypoodle

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Bear in mind that that system only works with English. Other languages will give strange results. The method is based on the fact that there is a single syllable in how numbers 1 through 4 are pronounced. In English each of those words are single syllable. Imagine trying to count 16ths in this language: Isa (2 syllables), dalawa (3 syllables), tatlo (2 syllables), apat (2 syllables) :)
I learned to drum in english, but I live in a french speaking provinces so I teach more often in french. The french equivalent is " double croche", literally 16th note (dou-ble-chro-che) which works, but doesn't let you know which quarter note you are on. Triplet is "tri-o-let".
 

toddbishop

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This is what I use with my grade school students, I find the references are more relatable to today's young people.



re: 1e&a: You see a bunch of different syllables used in older books-- "1-ta-&-ta", etc. I think #e&a became standard because it's easy to say fast as one word, and it also works as a kind of solfege-- you can refer to the 'e' or 'a' of the beat, and people know which note you're talking about; and it's good for counting broken rhythms.
 

toddbishop

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Another thing to ponder: counting eight note as "1&2&..."and 16ths as "1e&d..." is only correct if the quarter note is the counted note value - you could also be counting half notes: in 2/2 time (alla breve). Here, half notes are the counts, quarter notes are the "1&2&", and eighth notes are the "1e&d..." subdivision.
In 2/2 I either count normally in 4, or count it like 2/4, with 1e&a 2e&a (assuming a measure of 8th notes there).

I never saw a decent way of counting 16ths in #/8 meters. If I have to count out a rhythm for a student, I have to count the 8th notes w/&s-- 1&2&3& etc.
 

BennyK

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I was taught 1 e and da

and was always perplexed that others were taught 1 e and ah

It was much later then in actually practice - either way ends up being pronounced exactly the same...

For those that count 1 e and ah - at any reasonable tempo above slow, don't you put the "d" of "and" right on the 4th 1/16ths

Just I never actually pronounced the "d" in "and" and the "d" in "da" - also opting to just articulate the last one.... making it 1 E An Da

Which can be said wicked fast when needed.
Precisely the way I learned . The extra ' d ' can be troublesome , so stringing it together helps to make the phrase more fluid .
 

swarfrat

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Just FTR my brother is musically illiterate, and I doubt he counts music at all.
 

mebeatee

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I was taught 1 e and da

and was always perplexed that others were taught 1 e and ah

It was much later then in actually practice - either way ends up being pronounced exactly the same...

For those that count 1 e and ah - at any reasonable tempo above slow, don't you put the "d" of "and" right on the 4th 1/16ths

Just I never actually pronounced the "d" in "and" and the "d" in "da" - also opting to just articulate the last one.... making it 1 E An Da

Which can be said wicked fast when needed.
Not when you have full dentures...:toothy5:
bt
 


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