Rhythm & Notation

Volume one

Learn, expand and improve your rhythm playing and reading on electric and double bass.

About rhythm & notation volume 1

Simply put, this course will methodically teach you the foundations of rhythm and it's notation, reinforced with many practical examples and exercises. It is aimed at beginner, intermediate and even advanced players as every exercise section culminates in complex Jazz, Latin, Funk or Rock grooves. As rhythm is such an integral and important, if not the most important part of music, it is a must for every musician to gain a great understanding of it.

This programme is applicable for both electric and double bass. Although the exercises are demonstarted on electric bass, they can be practiced on double bass as well. So if you want to work on your rhythmic foundations, improve and solidify your rhythmic skills, this course is for you!

What you will learn from this course

You will learn about the fundamentals of rhythm and how it is used in a musical context. The course covers time signatures, subdivisions, dotted rhythms, the use of rests and also tied rhythms and their notation. All the elements are discussed in detail to give you a great foundation and sense of what rhythm is. 

In the exercise section we put all we have learned into practice and advance from playing simple subdivisions to complex Jazz, Latin, Funk and Rock grooves, built on the simple elements of rhythm. As rhythm is such a vast subject, volume one is already a huge body of work, even though we don't go past the eighth note subdivision.

There is a significant amount of sheet music with a complete workbook which you can find under the introduction video. These sheets will help you learn to read many combinations of rhythmic figures and cover simple to complex material, so your reading will improve greatly as well. Not a bad "side effect" to have!

We have combined melodic and harmonic content with rhythmic studies, so you'll learn about the relationship of these 3 main elements of music, as well as learning new ways of practicing them. 

Playing the more advanced Jazz, Latin, Funk, Rock grooves will improve your feel of these styles.

What is included in rhythm & notation volume 1

You will find 10 in depth instructional videos and 40+ exercises covering simple to advanced rhythmic figures and grooves. These examples are organized into sections with the important elements of rhythm in mind, such as:

  • Subdivision 
  • Dotted figures
  • Rests
  • Tied figures

There are great resources to help you along, notably:

  • 10 detailed tutorial video lessons
  • 40+ Exercise videos
  • Corresponding sheet music with every lesson and exercise
  • Downloadable Workbook for iPads and computers
  • Free 45 minute online lesson with Zoltan

Course structure

Tutorials - Learn about the basics of rhythm

How to use this course - From a logistical and musical point of view
Explanation of Rhythmic Divisions - Learn about whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and their relationships
Time Signatures and Notation - An explanation of time signatures, the common and the odd
Whole and Half Notes Over Scales - How to practice rhythm playing with scales
Whole and Half Notes Over Triads - Playing triads while practicing rhythmic divisions
Quarter and Eighth Notes Over Scales - Going further with rhythmic divisions and scale practice
Quarter and Eighth Notes Over Triads - Expanding triad practice with extensive practical advise
Rests - Learn about rests and their application
On and Off Beats - An examination of on and off beats to develop a sense of rhythm
Dotted Notes - The meaning and application of dots to subdivisions, and learn about professional experiences
Ties - Learn how tying notes changes their length - with some demonstration examples

Subdivision Exercises - Exercises looking at subdivisions

Exercise 1 - An exercise combining whole, half and quarter notes to give a feel of the subdivisions
Exercise 1a - An exercise to further develop your feel of subdivisions, looking at half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
Exercise 2 - An exercise with diminishing note values
Exercise 3 - Practicing a simple subdivision followed by a more complex example over a scale
Exercise 4 - Building stamina and precision of your right hand while solidifying rhythmic divisions
Exercise 4a - The first variation of exercise 4 with divisions spread over the scale more freely
Exercise 4b - Another variation of exercise 4 moving things faster with more eighth notes
Exercise 5 - Applying subdivisions to a set of chords to build musical content with this rhythmical exercise
Exercise 6 - A variety of rhythmic divisions in scale like and harmonic motions
Exercise 7 Jazz Bassline - An exercise combining rhythmic divisions with harmonic and melodic content
Exercise 8 Jazz Bassline - Concentrating on mixing quarter and eighth notes to give an extended bass line feel
Exercise 9 Jazz Bassline - Strengthening the relationship between the quarter and eighth notes
Exercise 10 Jazz Bassline - Another example concentrating on quarter and eighth notes with a more complex chord progression

Dotted Rhythm Exercises - Exercises to work on your dotted rhythms

Exercise 1 - Working through a succession of dotted half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
Exercise 2 - Variations of dotted quarter and eighth notes, found in many musical situations
Exercise 3 - Different combinations of dotted quarter notes and eighth notes going through the C major scale
Exercise 4 - Further rhythmic figures while going through a major scale pattern
Exercise 5 - Practicing dotted eighth and sixteenth notes with a pattern similar to a 12/8 feel
Exercise 6 - A bassline concentrating on dotted quarter and eighth notes, dotted eighth and sixteenth notes
Exercise 7 - A long exercise playing through a recurring melodic phrase
Exercise 8 Latin groove - A complete bassline with several parts and an evolved chord progression that commonly crops up in playing situations

Rests Exercises - Exercises to improve awareness of rests

Exercise 1 - Adding rests to give a sense of rest values and playing on strong and weak parts of the bar
Exercise 2 - Combining quarter and eighth notes combined with quarter and eighth note rests
Exercise 3 - Swapping between notes placed on strong and weak parts of the bar
Exercise 4 - A recurring 3 beat rhythmic figure played over 4/4
Exercise 5 - Practicing eighth note rests
Exercise 6 - Further development of the eighth note rest
Exercise 7 - Superimposing 3 over 4 to give a bassline a flowing, odd feel
Exercise 8 - Using eighth notes and eighth note rests over the melodic phrase from exercise 7
Exercise 9 Latin groove - One of two complex grooves focusing on the eighth note rests
Exercise 10 Funk-rock groove - An advanced Funk/Rock type groove - repeat this bassline to get the feel and get into the "groove" of it

Tied Rhythm Exercises - Exercises to improve your ability to play tied rhythms

Exercise 1 Jazz feel - Playing with and without ties to give a sense of how to pick apart and put tied rhythms together
Exercise 2 and variations - A Latin character that becomes evident when you put ties in place
Exercise 3 - Working on ties over a pentatonic scale
Exercise 4 Latin groove - A complex groove with a Latin feel
Exercise 5 Latin groove - Another complex and off-beat heavy Latin style groove
Exercise 6 Latin groove - Play with and without ties to feel the off-beat heavy nature of this Lating style groove
Exercise 7 Jazz-rock groove - A tricky and bouncy Jazz-rock type groove grounded in a two bar rhythmic phrase and it's variations
Exercise 8 - A short figure packed with variations that needs to be looked at slowly and carefully to be played correctly
Exercise 9 Odd meter groove - Playing in 5/4
Exercise 10 Rock groove - A huge rock groove with a fill taking us up to the higher registers
And don't forget that enrolling on any courses also gives you access to all free content on Zoltan's Bass Lounge, and any new free courses and free lessons will be automatically available.