The key to hearing the beat is listening for the “8 count,” also known as a “set of 8” or a “dancer’s 8.”
An 8-count 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 — popular, mainstream, Western music — 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.
QUICK PROMOTION: This book will teach you how to count the 8-count, the most important structure in music. The kindle version of Hear the Beat, Feel the Music is now on sale for $2.99 (down from $4.99).
Let’s count some music
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:
The 8-Count versus music theory
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):
Geek-out with this chapter from my book: “Counting Music: Finding the Sets of 8”
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”
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 – which is the free playlist of all the instructional YouTube videos to my new book, Hear the Beat, Feel the Music: Count, Clap and Tap Your Way to Remarkable Rhythm (buy Amazon print for $11.95)
Copyright © 2019 James Joseph. All rights reserved.