Understanding eighth notes
In Lesson 1, we divided the bar into four (4) notes giving us quarter notes.
Now we are going to divide each of those quarter notes in half, producing eighth notes. They are called eighth notes because they divide a bar of common time into eight (8) equal notes.
You will recall that a quarter note is worth one (1) beat. Now that we have cut the quarter note in half, we have two notes per beat and therefore each eighth note is worth half (½) of a beat.
You will see from the example below a bar of quarter notes and a bar of eighth notes.
Notice that we count the quarter notes “1-2-3-4” and we count the eighth notes “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and”.
Example 1. Quarter and eighth notes (Enlarge)
Next: Understanding eighth notes (using right hand alternate picking)