Tapping Exercises - Working from Counting and TLR Analysis

It’s very easy when there are music notes to read to overlook the other information in the beat maps - the TLR (together-left-right) analysis.

Here are some simple patterns written in only counting and TLR language, with no beat maps. To make sure you are using the counting and TLR analysis, we will learn to tap the rhythm from just this information.

Here is a sample table with numbered instructions.

First, just count out loud the beats where one or both hands play (T, L or R). Whisper or leave out the beats where nothing happens.

Remember, your number counts – 1, 2, 3, 4 – have to be as regular as clockwork, whether they are ‘out loud’ counts where something happens or not and whether or not there are ‘and’ counts round about them.

In our example, you will be counting:

The audio file of this beat pattern is in the ‘Solutions’ section below, but try many times and be as sure as you can before listening to it.

Next, tap out just the TLR ‘events’, without bothering at all about the rhythm:

T for together, L for left alone, R for right alone. Repeat many times. You practice this because this is the sequence of events you actually play. (This is probably the hardest part!) The TLR-only audio file is in Solutions, below, to check your working-out.

Then revise the counting (Step 1) and play left, right or hands together on the counts you identified.

Here is a riff based on this beat pattern (a ‘realisation’).

More counting/TLR tables

Here are four more counting/TLR-only examples. Work them through like the first one. Don’t skip any stages or you won’t get the benefit! You are practising the skill top musicians use to play complicated rhythms at sight.

Example One

You will find the beat maps and rhythm tracks for this pattern in the Solutions sections below. There is also a riff based on the rhythm pattern there.

Example Two

There's something on every quaver count here, so the counting isn't so important. Go straight to the TLR tapping (without worry about the rhythm).

Example Three

Example Four

Solutions

Example One

Example Two

Example Three

(The left hand crotchet on 2 has in fact tied over to make a minim.)

Example Four

This is the end of Page Three of the Musicarta Beat and Rhythm tapping series. Page Four follows , with the emphasis on freer patterns and more riffs based on them.


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