Rhythmic Dictation

Rhythmic Dictation – chapter organization

Each rhythmic dictation section is divided into two parts.  The first chapters are dedicated to patterns in simple meters and the rest, to patterns in compound meters.

The simple meter section concludes with a chapter summary followed by a compound meter section. This also concludes with a chapter summary at the end of the entire section.

In Levels 1 to 3, each chapter contains eight dictations.  In Level 4, a single chapter contains five dictations, excluding the summary chapters, which contain eight each.


Rhythmic Dictation – instructions

The rhythmic dictations, to be written with a fixed note, may be written on a percussion clef or simply on plain lined paper.

The length of a rhythmic dictation varies between one and five measures, depending on the time signature and the patterns used.

NOTE: The last heard articulation is not part of the dictation but rather the point of arrival.  For example, if the given dictation is two measures long, it will end at the beginning of the third measure.

If an anacrusis (upbeat) appears in a rhythmic dictation, it is not announced.  The listener must perceive its presence.

In Levels 1 and 2, one chapter is dedicated to the study of the eighth note upbeat (anacrusis) in simple meters and another chapter for the same in compound meters.

In Levels 3 and 4, no one chapter is devoted solely to the anacrusis.  In Level 4, anacrusis patterns with sixteenth notes are introduced (one sixteenth, two sixteenths, three sixteenths).

In Level 4, certain patterns feature a variation that plays with the difference between a long value and a short value accompanied by a silence.  If necessary, the different rhythmic variations may be found in the chapter header examples (in the answer key).


Rhythmic Dictation – audio file description

The rhythmic dictations are presented in spoken voice. This allows for a precise interpretation of note lengths and silences (compared to percussive sounds) and offers a better dynamic.

Note that values of an eighth note or longer are spoken with the “TA” sound.  The sixteenth note falling on a weak beat is spoken with the “KA” sound.  For example: four sixteenth notes = TA-KA-TA-KA.

Each rhythmic dictation is presented in a single audio file.  The following information is given at the beginning (spoken voice):

  • The number of measures
  • The time signature
  • A preparatory “count-in” of the beat that precedes the dictation with a click sound.