Hear the “8-count” in music

The key to hearing the beat is listening for the “sets of 8,” also known as an “8-count” or a “dancer’s 8.”

set of 8 aka 8-count or dancers-8

The secret to hearing the beat of music

A set of 8 is a rhythmic grouping of 8 beats. It’s like a “sentence” of music. You can hear sets of 8 in almost all music (waltz is in sets of 6). With practice, you can train your ear to hear “the 8s.”

Most of the music you hear every day is structured in sets of 8 beats. Sets of 8 define the beat. So, if you can identify the 8-count, you’ve found the beat.

You may have heard sets of 8 your whole life and didn’t know what they were. Check out this four-minute video of me counting sets of 8 to some popular music. See if hearing the sets of 8 is something you already know:

Next, if you haven’t seen this already, check out this 5-minute video, “Intro to Sets of 8 – How to count music,” which explains why a set of 8 defines the beat (it looks at the relationship between a set of 8 and the musician’s four-beat measure):

Next, either geek-out with this chapter from my book: “Counting Music: Finding the Sets of 8”

Or check out this blog post on how to get started counting the sets of 8: “Where to learn: how to hear the beat of music”

Or click on over to my “hear the beat” category page for a list of all my blog posts on how to hear the beat.

Finally, you can check out this webpage – HearTheBeatFeelTheMusic.com – for my forthcoming book (November 2017), Hear the Beat, Feel the Music: Count, Clap and Tap Your Way to Remarkable Rhythm. I’m still building the page but a lot of videos are up already and I’ll be posting more.


Copyright © 2014 – 2017  James Joseph. All rights reserved.

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