1.5 Basic Beat Patterns

In this section you will learn the basic beat patterns of 2, 3 and 4 used today.  These are universally understood, so it is important to study them carefully. The gifs show each beat pattern twice, first legato and then staccato.

Note how in the legato version, most of the movement is from the elbow. This enables a lateral feel. The wrist has some flexibility, but not too much, and the shoulder and upper arm are quite still. The beat travels in an “out to in” direction as well as “up and down”. In the staccato version, the movement is mostly in the wrist. This gives a more vertical motion. Be careful of too much rebound or bounce – this will make both beats of the pattern seem very similar and therefore unclear.

In a 3/4 pattern, make sure the second beat goes outwards – to the right if you hold the baton in your right hand.

In 4/4 the second beat goes in before going out.

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