Duration, Rhythm, & Meter

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This lesson is part of the Fundamentals of Sound & Music module.


  • Students will understand the concept of rhythm and how it is present in ambient sound, speech and music.
  • Students will understand the concept of beat and meter.
  • Student will become familiar with IOIs, ISIs.
  • Student will be able to identify isochronous rhythmic layers in aural or written music and their interrelations: subdivision, beat, measure
  • Student will understand the relationship between movement and beat in isochronous meters.
  • Student will be able distinguish between metrical and phenomenal accents.
  • Student will understand the difference of accent patterns for duple, triple, and quadruple meters.
  • Student will understand the difference between simple/compound and complex metrical structures.



Listening or Videos

Class Activities[edit]

  • Discussion and definition of rhythm, beat, and meter.
  • Aural analysis of rhythm, beat and meter in different types of music.
  • Conducting of musical excerpts.
  • Marching and dancing demonstrations for various meter types (see playlist above).
  • Compare aural/felt metrical layers to notated scores.


  • Rhythmic analysis of different aural examples
  • Meter scavenger hunt


  • This section can be combined with meter/rhythm notation or can ideally be taught as a separate component that focuses on felt rhythm/meter. The latter approach allows students to get a "feel" for the beat, subdivision, and grouping prior to labeling with time signatures.