When you hear music and count along with the beat, you’re doing math! The beat often falls in 4s — 1, 2, 3, 4, then 1, 2, 3, 4 again — so we call those “quarter notes.” But you can play twice as fast to fit in 8 notes, or twice as fast as that to have 16th notes…or even faster! Bedtime Math fan Luca R asked, how many times do you hit the drum if you play 16th notes for a whole minute? (and here’s Luca drumming it out himself!) A lot of songs play about 1 quarter note per second, or 60 per minute. And there are 4 16th notes in a quarter note, giving us 240 strokes in a minute. If the beat is faster, you’ll hit that drum even more. There are actually contests where speed drummers compete at “extreme sport drumming,” where a “drumometer” measures the number of strokes in 60 seconds. Last we checked, Tom Grossman broke the record with 1,208 strokes! That kind of math is music to our ears.
Wee ones: If you count 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2…what number comes next?
Little kids: If you count 1, 2 ,3, 4 and repeat again and again, what number do you say on the 10th beat? Bonus: If you count in 8s instead, how many beats have you played when you say “5” for the 2nd time?
Big kids: Notes twice as fast as 8th notes are called 16th notes, since you fit in twice as many …so what do you get if you play twice as fast as that? Bonus: If speed drummer Tom Grossman played exactly 20 strokes per second, would that have been faster or slower than his record?
Wee ones: 3.
Little kids: 2. Bonus: 13 beats.
Big kids: 32nd notes. Bonus: Not quite, as that would be 1,200…he actually played a little faster than that!
And thank you Luca for the awesome math topic and great photo — keep the music going!