RHYTHM! What a fantastic invention of mankind this is. [Hint: Most systems of teaching music notation have you learn that first, such as this perennial book, below [click it for more info]:
"A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound."
"The arrangement of sounds as they move through time."
And the derivation of this word is also interesting:
from the Greek, "rhyth-mos": "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"
Now, the ideas of "pattern", and "symmetry" are essential in understanding what it is. Here's one description relating to the word "pattern" in music:
"Pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak, and/or short and long."
"Symmetry" is also a key idea here, at least in most familiar forms of Western and even a lot of Eastern Music. An obvious example of "symmetry" is the march: "Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right-" [as below]
So, take a look at the yummy "food" chart at the top of the page, which displays "short and long" accents, mostly:
Then say [while tapping, if you wish]:
"Grape Soda", "Grape Soda","Grape Soda","Grape Soda","Grape Soda","Grape Soda", etc.
Now, let's try:
"Tater Tot Casserole, Pepperoni Pizza, Milk and Cereal, Avocado Toast"
See? You CAN read rhythms!
Now, let's look at another related term:
"Tempo" is not the same thing - Tempo refers to the "speed" of a piece of music. like so:
"Grape ---------- So------da, Grape ---------- So------da, Grape ---------- So------da, Grape ---------- So------da, Grape ---------- So------da," [slow tempo]
OR, a faster Tempo:
So now that these terms are identified, let's break this down further:
Here's some data, collected from Wikipedia: [As usual, I did some 'sorting out' of a big undifferentiated pile of ideas and have picked these ones, and inserted some definitions* and edits where needed. See how these work for you.]
"[...] marked by the regulated succession of opposite elements, e.g.: the dynamics [*volume changes] of the strong and weak beat: the played beat and the inaudible but implied rest beat, the long note and the short note.
"As well as perceiving rhythm we must be able to anticipate it. This depends on repetition of a pattern that is short enough to memorize. [*or perceive]
"The alternation of the strong and weak beat is fundamental to the ancient language of poetry, dance and music. The common poetic term "foot" refers, as in dance, to the lifting and tapping of the foot in time. In a similar way musicians speak of an upbeat and a downbeat and of the "on" and "off" beat."
Here's an excellent example of the above: alternating strong and weak, anticipating the beat, etc:
As we can hear, rhythm all by itself can generate interest and emotion. There is more to this, but the material we've just covered should give you a good start.
For more info on reading and practicing music, please see these pages:
NO Weights - NO Rubber Balls. & NO Endless Plateaus.
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