Duration (music)

Simple [quadr]duple drum pattern, against which duration is measured in much popular music: divides two beats into two About this soundPlay .
Various durations About this soundPlay 

In music, duration is an amount of time or how long or short a note, phrase, section, or composition lasts. "Duration is the length of time a pitch, or tone, is sounded."[1] A note may last less than a second, while a symphony may last more than an hour. One of the fundamental features of rhythm, or encompassing rhythm, duration is also central to meter and musical form. Release plays an important part in determining the timbre of a musical instrument and is affected by articulation.

The concept of duration can be further broken down into those of beat and meter, where beat is seen as (usually, but certainly not always) a 'constant', and rhythm being longer, shorter or the same length as the beat. Pitch may even be considered a part of duration. In serial music the beginning of a note may be considered, or its duration may be (for example, is a 6 the note which begins at the sixth beat, or which lasts six beats?).

Durations, and their beginnings and endings, may be described as long, short, or taking a specific amount of time. Often duration is described according to terms borrowed from descriptions of pitch. As such, the duration complement is the amount of different durations used, the duration scale is an ordering (scale) of those durations from shortest to longest, the duration range is the difference in length between the shortest and longest, and the duration hierarchy is an ordering of those durations based on frequency of use.[2]

Durational patterns are the foreground details projected against a background metric structure, which includes meter, tempo, and all rhythmic aspects which produce temporal regularity or structure. Duration patterns may be divided into rhythmic units and rhythmic gestures (Winold, 1975, chap. 3). But they may also be described using terms borrowed from the metrical feet of poetry: iamb (weak–strong), anapest (weak–weak–strong), trochee (strong–weak), dactyl (strong–weak–weak), and amphibrach (weak–strong–weak), which may overlap to explain ambiguity.[3]

See also

  • tuplet


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.230. Seventh Edition. McGraw-Hill.ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ Winold, Allen (1975). "Rhythm in Twentieth-Century Music". Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music. Delone and Wittlich (eds.). pp. 208–269. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.ISBN 0-13-049346-5.
  3. ^ Cooper and Meyer (1960). The Rhythmal Structure of Music,. University of Chicago Press.ISBN 0-226-11522-4. Cited in Winold (1975, chapter three).

Media files used on this page

Wooden hourglass 3.jpg
Author/Creator: User:S Sepp, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Alternative version of image:Wooden hourglass 2.jpg. Wooden hourglass. Total height:25 cm. Wooden disk diameter: 11.5 cm. Running time of the hourglass: 1 hour. Hourglass in other languages: 'timglas' (Swedishrtrttttyo), 'sanduhr' (German), 'sablier' (French), 'reloj de arena' (Spanish), 'zandloper' (Dutch), 'klepsydra' (Polish), 'přesýpací hodiny' (Czech), 'ampulheta' (Portuguese).
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC BY 2.5
WP:Timeline Tracer logo
Characteristic rock drum pattern.png
Created in Sibelius by User:Hyacinth from common knowledge.

See: File:Characteristic rock drum pattern.mid

Also characteristic funk drum pattern but with ride cymbal.[1]

The "basic [rock] beat" may be notated using half notes on the bass drum and a quarter note ride cymbal pattern while "four to the floor"[2] features steady quarter notes on the bass drum.[2].

The first of the examples of, "commonly used rock beats", given features, "an eighth-note ride pattern," as the pattern notated above but riding the hi-hat.[3]

"Basic" beats include four to the floor with quarter note hi-hat ride, described as appropriate for "hard rock", with eighth-note ride pattern appropriate for a "pop song", with swung eighths on the backbeat of the ride pattern for a "jazz feel", and second notated pattern above, descried as "basic 4/4 'beat'...[with] a sixteenth-note feel," with hi-hat ride.[4]

Groove #1: "bass drum on beats 1 and 3 and snare drum on beats 2 and 4 of the measure...add eighth notes on the hi-hat".[5]

"Straight blues/Rock groove" "Blues may also be played with a straight feel....The tempo of straight Blues grooves covers a large range of quarter note = 80-160 bpm."[6]

  1. Bolton, Ross (2001). Funk Guitar: The Essential Guide, p.5. ISBN 0634011685.
  2. a b Schroedl, Scott (2001). Play Drums Today!, p.15. Hal Leonard. ISBN 0-634-02185-0.
  3. Morton, James (1990). You Can Teach Yourself Drums, p.32. Mel Bay. ISBN 1-56222-033-0.
  4. Mattingly, Rick (2006). All About Drums, p.42. Hal Leonard. ISBN 1-4234-0818-7.
  5. Peckman, Jonathan (2007). Picture Yourself Drumming, p.50. ISBN 1598633309.
  6. Berry, Mick and Gianni, Jason (2003). The Drummer's Bible, p.36. ISBN 1884365329.
Duration example with length, articulation, and pedal.png
Author/Creator: Hyacinth, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Duration example with length (whole note, eighth note, fermata), articulation (staccato), and pedal.
Duration example with length, articulation, and pedal.mid
Author/Creator: Hyacinth, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Duration example with length (whole note, eighth note, fermata), articulation (staccato), and pedal.
Simple duple drum pattern.mid
Simple duple drum pattern: divides two beats into two. Created by Hyacinth (talk) 02:19, 20 July 2009 using Sibelius 5.