How to count music (for different genres)

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Last year I made a counting tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFcml2J5ElE) and in that video I used some Hip Hop and House beats to demonstrate how you should count the beats, bars and phrases. But how do you count when it’s a different genre like (for instance) Dancehall or Reggaeton?

The technique is exactly the same! Most of the music we play has the same 4/4 time signature so all you need to do is find the 1 and start counting. Usually this will be where the beat (drums) begins.

Enjoy the video and share the knowledge!

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195 thoughts on “How to count music (for different genres)

  1. The industry seems to like 4/4 beats. Any thoughts why that is? And what’s your experience with music that has fx 5 beats in a phrace or perhaps 3/3 ?

  2. Alandavid Mcclean

    - Edit Reply

    Crystal clear for those starting out.. The problem I mostly have as a DJ Friday nights in a cocktail lounge, playing a 4hr set I vary genres.. Balearic/Funk/ Rnb/Chart thru the gears into deep/melodic /beach house/ dance etc. I understand on depending on the overall collective mood which genre to play at certain times.. I would like others advice on how u deal with awkward customers that don’t understand the DJs job. Fire out request after request, some work…some don’t, some are impossible as the mood wud die in a second..it’s trying to explain to certain customers that’s the problem I have. The walk ins if that sounds familiar.

  3. Hello. I’ve been watching your vídeos since a long time ago.
    I like the logical and natural way in which you explain your knowledge.
    I want to question you something.
    Could you make a video analyzing the structures, phrases, of typical songs of different genres?
    I’ve composing all my life hip hop music, where the changes on the beat are quite simple. Sometimes, there are only a difference between the chorus and the verses.
    And now, I feel a little disoriented if I want to compose something like D&B, deep house, breaks, dance… 
    If you could make a video, comparing a few genres and their basic structures, it would be amazing for me.

  4. Thanks for this video.

    I’ve heard some DJs who say to actually focus on the snare which I’ve never understood why, as I’ve found it difficult.  The hint to keep track of the snare on the ‘and’ count inbetween the beats was great.  Keep up the awesome work dude.

  5. Hey food looks good,lol, thanks for your videos, teaching a lot of the new cats how to listen to the groove & flow of music to help them be a better dj

  6. Salsa and Bachata are slightly different than normal western songs.
    They don’t follow 4×4 structure from beginning to end of song.
    So be careful when mixing these songs unless you are planning to mix with outro of one song to intro of another.

  7. Hi djtlm,mine is a question that am mainly concerned about.i want to move from cdj to turntable and really ready to do so but i just want to know something before i do the switch,what is the main,main diference between deejaying/scratching on a cdj and turn table?if you already did a video about it,please paste the link

    DjMaya,malawi

  8. Tlm , hi sir. I’ve been following your videos for quite some time and im 15. I already own a Numark Mixtrack Pro II and own Traktor Pro 2 for almost an year now. Im finally ready to upgrade now. My 2 choices are the Pioneer XDJ RX and the DDJ SX2. The upside of the XDJ RX – The screen plus its stand alone rekorbox capability(aka no laptop needed more handy).

    Down side of it – Lesser features , the 2 channels and yes the ridiculously high price.

    DDJ SX2’s price plus a laptop pretty much adds up or you could say crossed the price of the XDJ RX but i wont be getting a new laptop so soon. I could pretty much use my PC for now. So please sir any advice? P.S i would like to do giggs too.

    Thanks , bye.

  9. Tlm , hi sir. I’ve been following your videos for quite some time and im 15. I already own a Numark Mixtrack Pro II and own Traktor Pro 2 for almost an year now. Im finally ready to upgrade now. My 2 choices are the Pioneer XDJ RX and the DDJ SX2. The upside of the XDJ RX – The screen plus its stand alone rekorbox capability(aka no laptop needed more handy).

    Down side of it – Lesser features , the 2 channels and yes the ridiculously high price.

    DDJ SX2’s price plus a laptop pretty much adds up or you could say crossed the price of the XDJ RX but i wont be getting a new laptop so soon. I could pretty much use my PC for now. So please sir any advice? P.S i would like to do giggs too.

    Thanks , bye.

  10. Dear DJ TLM I was wondering if u could do a more advance scratching tutorial cause I just got my controller but I have been using virtual DJ for about 2 weeks and I love scratching it is just so much fun but all I know is what u taught me please make a advance scratching tutorial

  11. Dear DJ TLM I was wondering if u could do a more advance scratching tutorial cause I just got my controller but I have been using virtual DJ for about 2 weeks and I love scratching it is just so much fun but all I know is what u taught me please make a advance scratching tutorial

  12. Hey DJ TLM. I’ve registered with a record pool and am starting to download music, but the thing that I found is that there’s a LOT of remixes, maybe 1 in 10 songs is an original. I’m just curious, is it alright to play a lot of remixes or is it better to play more originals. Thanks, love your videos 🙂

  13. W.A.B mobile entertainment

    - Edit Reply

    love your vids very helpful. My question is this ok you are cueing up a song for a song that is going out. How do you know where the one beat starts when you are almost finished with that song? here is a example ok you have usher playing right now and he is 30 seconds or a minute from ending and you cue up lets say pitbull. And   I use serato and it does not have the counter like virtual dj does. How do you know if you are on one or if you are on the 3rd beat of the measure? Yes you would know on putbull but you wont know on usher. I know about1234 2234 3234 4234 5234 6234 7234 8234 your not going to be able to count every bar till the end of the song cause there will always be something to take your attention off of what you are doing specially if you are scratching with usher it is going to throw you off .

  14. +djTLMtv What do you think about the Numark NS7III? Do you feel it was smart to have basically the same controller just with added screens? Have you heard if there was a difference in the performance or not?

  15. @djTLMtv What do you think about the Numark NS7III? Do you feel it was smart to have basically the same controller just with added screens? Have you heard if there was a difference in the performance or not?

  16. Well i think people have problems with counting from right phrase, There a problem to found the right phrase to count from. Otherwise they will be counting good but not from the right point.

  17. Sweet. I made a 4/20 mix a few years ago and had to google to figure out how to mix it. That’s how I learned the meaning to “one drop”

  18. Tucker's DJ Mixtape Podcast

    - Edit Reply

    Sweet. I made a 4/20 mix a few years ago and had to google to figure out how to mix it. That’s how I learned the meaning to “one drop”

  19. thanks so much for your counting music videos..I am teaching DJing lessons and I found that you communicate it so much better than I could..so I’m showing a clip of you to the students here on the reserve and then we’ll just practice doing counts and see why that’s important to mixing and transitions!

  20. i feel dumb trying to learn to count “on some drumline style” lol…i cant figure it out… on some songs it makes perfect sense others not so much …trying to count feels to fast or to slow…but i can pick the beat up super easy…but asining a numerical value is making me think twice about if i know what a beat is lol HELP!!!! Make a cideo with random songs i guess? man ill keep trying

  21. TLM- I credit being able to count beats to your first video.. Many MANY thanks. i have a question i have noticed since then…once i start on the 1 from the start of the song, i can keep with the phrase and then make a very decent switch to a another beat..but what happens when i stopped counting from the start of the song..example someone’s talking to me and then i get back to the music..how do i identify the phrase at that point from say the middle of the song? I can quickly identify the 1 ( again many thanks :)) but what WWTLMD? ( What would TLM do?)

  22. TLM- I credit being able to count beats to your first video.. Many MANY thanks. i have a question i have noticed since then…once i start on the 1 from the start of the song, i can keep with the phrase and then make a very decent switch to a another beat..but what happens when i stopped counting from the start of the song..example someone’s talking to me and then i get back to the music..how do i identify the phrase at that point from say the middle of the song? I can quickly identify the 1 ( again many thanks :)) but what WWTLMD? ( What would TLM do?)

  23. The dance hall music is a 2/4. It’s a half son clave pattern also called “Malfuf” in middle eastern music. It’s usually counted 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2. With accents on the ones. The 2’s and 3’s can drop out or the can be played as ghost notes. The reggaeton is also a 2/4, not a 4/4. It’s called “Ayub” in middle eastern music. I mean you can count it as a 4/4 and nobody but musicians will know that you’re counting two bars as one bar. But you will drive them crazy!

  24. I wanna know, how do you find the time signature and if you came in in the middle of a song which didn’t have a typical repeating pattern – how do you find the start of the bar?

  25. Hey bro…let me ask you this…Is it the same way when you´re counting heavy metal music for instance ?! Thanks a lot !!!

  26. I find it hilarious that, you say you just came back from a workout… BUT, there’s at least 3 cases of snack cakes to your left, and to your right…another big pile of something. . .?! (I guess my question would have to be; So you want to get in shape, tell me then…is that shape ‘ROUND’. . .?!) LOL [its OK, I’m on a seafood diet…when I ‘see’ food. . .I eat it !!!] LMAOPeace & Love D.J. TLM!

  27. hey can you show us how to mix a caribbean style music called soca with the 4 beat count and focus the camera on the mixer need some ideas thanks.

  28. Chilling with Jake

    - Edit Reply

    hey can you show us how to mix a caribbean style music called soca with the 4 beat count and focus the camera on the mixer need some ideas thanks.

  29. i have a little question, i have some music that’s in the 3/4 tempo…how i can count that? there should be 12 beat in a phrases and 3 beat every bar and 4 bars is that correct? which genres of music are common on the 3/4 format?

  30. I do practice in hip hop and RNB ,, I got it from your videos and I can count easy beats bars phrase , my only problem is when a rapper starts t rap , and there isn’t some drums ,,, is just vocal and maybe one other instrument ,, I start count when I listen the first kick ?? And I m getting confused sometimes I wanna mix , and there are some songs that rappers they don’t stop. ,,, (mean to exist only instruments for mix. ,, and I don’t know what’s the right …drop it to their ,,(cut it) I really don’t know

  31. I do practice in hip hop and RNB ,, I got it from your videos and I can count easy beats bars phrase , my only problem is when a rapper starts t rap , and there isn’t some drums ,,, is just vocal and maybe one other instrument ,, I start count when I listen the first kick ?? And I m getting confused sometimes I wanna mix , and there are some songs that rappers they don’t stop. ,,, (mean to exist only instruments for mix. ,, and I don’t know what’s the right …drop it to their ,,(cut it) I really don’t know

  32. Jeesus – some of the peeps here – they finding it soo hard — if u cant find the start of a phrase easy and naturally — without thinkin — i dont think ur meant to be a DJ – or a musician

  33. Jeesus – some of the peeps here – they finding it soo hard — if u cant find the start of a phrase easy and naturally — without thinkin — i dont think ur meant to be a DJ – or a musician

  34. Hey DJ TLM, thank you so much for the awesome counting video 🙂

    Quick question to you: Why would you recommend to count 4/4 vs 8 beats? I am a dancer and I know in software like Logic Pro everything is in 4 beats… but usually changes in music happens on 8 count.

    I mean I ask this because when dancing it’s easier to count 8 beats vs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 / 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 than go 1 2 3 4 … 8 2 3 4..

    Err, what’s your take on this? Just wanna have one way and stick to it – was always counting in 8 beats, now you suggested 4 beats so a bit confused 🙂

    Thanks, man!

  35. thanks for your videos,I am learning to DJ and your your videos are helping alot.concerning counting music if you could show me how to count roots reggae,it would be great.Big up!

  36. thanks for your videos,I am learning to DJ and your your videos are helping alot.concerning counting music if you could show me how to count roots reggae,it would be great.Big up!

  37. so just started watching you think your really informative and its great, thank you. just wanted to ask, if you could make a video of different genres and make it like like a test to get batter at counting is’ts easy to count with you, but it always starts at the end or beginning so its kind of easy but, lest loose the training wheels! and for like 15 seconds or what ever you see fit just longer better it would be i think. lets find the 1,2,3,4 in the middle of like 2,3 with out you counting then start it again with you counting to see if we/I got it right(like a test) and then increase the beat intensity/ change genres what ever to make it hard to get better would really appreciate it. could do it on my own but wouldn’t really know if i was right or wrong

  38. hey umm.. am I the only that notice that when u put the subtitles there are a lot of uncorrected spelling words on the vid ?  I mean I loved the video  , is cool , just noticed it

  39. You are the shit brother!! I’ve had so many DJ friends and fam try to essplainnn dis, and well, let’s just say, no bueno. My pops and I just started a bonding activity and been DJing for about a year. This is going to be tremendously helpful for both of us, God bless and PLEASE KEEP THESE VIDEOS COMING???

  40. You are the shit brother!! I’ve had so many DJ friends and fam try to essplainnn dis, and well, let’s just say, no bueno. My pops and I just started a bonding activity and been DJing for about a year. This is going to be tremendously helpful for both of us, God bless and PLEASE KEEP THESE VIDEOS COMING👊🏽🔥

  41. You are doing one of the best tutorial in YouTube I’m for sure. This is what every song’s lover or musician needs to know though this is so basic . Gotta starts form basic .thanks again .

  42. Much thanks for the all vids. For something different, it would be cool to hear how you handle beat counts in Salsa. Although its 4/4, I find it a lot more challenging and often get lost in it.

  43. Beats, Bars, and Chords along with this video have simplified counting music for me, something I’ve been struggling for figure out for a very long time. Thanks for the video. I’ll be watching more

  44. can you make a video for the new hip hop beats. because there moving so fast and the tempo are 130-150. And plz demo.

  45. Ty! I’m new to understanding this. I do sampling and the timing is always off. It’s always at 4/4 but maybe it’s at a different time signature. How do I figure that out? The timing. If it’s 5/8 or 7/4..? By the way your gorgeous. ???✌

  46. Ty! I’m new to understanding this. I do sampling and the timing is always off. It’s always at 4/4 but maybe it’s at a different time signature. How do I figure that out? The timing. If it’s 5/8 or 7/4..? By the way your gorgeous. 😄😁💋✌

  47. U know it’s crazy I learn how to count music by Dancing I didnt play too well with instruments but all them are the same as long it has a rhythm to a beat so I learn that a lot from dancing listen to other music style of geners I guess it felt naturally when I start to djing in 2010 just felt it on the 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 everything has a Rhythm and Tempo so that be said as long that it has a beat and tempo it’s all to the good! Funkup Salute ?✌

  48. U know it’s crazy I learn how to count music by Dancing I didnt play too well with instruments but all them are the same as long it has a rhythm to a beat so I learn that a lot from dancing listen to other music style of geners I guess it felt naturally when I start to djing in 2010 just felt it on the 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 everything has a Rhythm and Tempo so that be said as long that it has a beat and tempo it’s all to the good! Funkup Salute 💓✌

  49. I just started drumming with no music background or knowledge. This is the best I’ve seen this broken down for a beginner. Thank you for posting it has helped me greatly in figuring out finding the beat to music!

  50. Dr. Mr. Jedi Jones

    - Edit Reply

    I just started drumming with no music background or knowledge. This is the best I’ve seen this broken down for a beginner. Thank you for posting it has helped me greatly in figuring out finding the beat to music!

  51. Dr. Mr. Jedi Jones' PE videos

    - Edit Reply

    I just started drumming with no music background or knowledge. This is the best I’ve seen this broken down for a beginner. Thank you for posting it has helped me greatly in figuring out finding the beat to music!

  52. man I cant explain the knowledge this made me store in my mind after a decade or so of trying to “double count”. . super thanks yo!

  53. it’s easy for me to count the beats … it’s just hard for me to count the “and’ the ‘i” between the beats for songs that are faster …. that’s helpful for dancers.

  54. it’s easy for me to count the beats … it’s just hard for me to count the “and’ the ‘i” between the beats for songs that are faster …. that’s helpful for dancers.

  55. Hey Y’all

    Just watched the How to Count Music from different genres video, cause I’m practicing ear training and trying to get two confusing songs to the same speed/bpm.

    The two songs that are causing me a real challenge, and the reason I keep returning to them, are Tártora by Buscabulla and Menina by DKVPZ.

    They’re clearly from two different genres and the drum patterns in both songs change often.

    As such I’m not sure what sounds to look for as indicators for getting both songs to the same speed/ bpm by ear.

    Any advice?

    Also I have been told as a newer dj to practice simpler beats first for my ear training. Is this true? If so, what are good tracks/sites to get to start training? I have a tendency to be pulled towards tracks that can be confusing.

    Thanks a ton

  56. The numbers behind your head in the last video was a big help! Ps. anyway you can show me some examples of something besides a 4 even though its uncommon? Im intrigued

  57. The numbers behind your head in the last video was a big help! Ps. anyway you can show me some examples of something besides a 4 even though its uncommon? Im intrigued

  58. The numbers behind your head in the last video was a big help! Ps. anyway you can show me some examples of something besides a 4 even though its uncommon? Im intrigued

  59. The numbers behind your head in the last video was a big help! Ps. anyway you can show me some examples of something besides a 4 even though its uncommon? Im intrigued

  60. Hey please tell me how to count indian kinda classical or KSHMR remix of game of thrones that he used some beats in the break where the percussions and drums start with the GOT melody.

  61. Hey please tell me how to count indian kinda classical or KSHMR remix of game of thrones that he used some beats in the break where the percussions and drums start with the GOT melody.

  62. Hello DjTlm, First I would like to thank you for the videos of “Beats, bars and phrases”, “how to find the one count” and the ones for counting the different music, I am a Hip Hop dancer who didn’t study music and I found them very useful.

    Could you please explain me the differences between Hip Hop, trap and lite feet music?
    Again thanks for giving this opportunity to all of us, sharing your knowledge to us.

  63. Dedication = making a “How to count music (for different genres)” video while supper is waiting on the desk right behind you.

  64. I can’t count music and it really restrictes my danceing, is this a good way to learn it, because in choreografie there are 8 instead of 4

  65. I can’t count music and it really restrictes my danceing, is this a good way to learn it, because in choreografie there are 8 instead of 4

  66. I can’t count music and it really restrictes my danceing, is this a good way to learn it, because in choreografie there are 8 instead of 4

  67. Goeiemiddag TLM, ik heb jouw video meermaals bekeken ivm je muziek te ‘tellen’, zoals de ‘bars, phrases, and beats. Ik kan nu wel mixen op feeling, maar zou dattoch graag ook onder de knie krijgen. Het is trouwens alleen maar om mij thuis te amuseren.
    Is het soms mogelijk om je video in ‘t Nederlands te bekijken, of het gewoon van jou in onze eigen moertaal het uit te leggen ? Dat zou mij heel veel plezier doen.

  68. I’m trying to write for rnb trapsoul type beat and I don’t want to be all over the place. I can’t seem to separate the hook part and the verse part. I was told hooks are 4bars…but idk

  69. I’m learning to DJ and dancehall is my favourite genre. I studied music and produced hip hop although I mainly vocals so I can count hip hop easyy. But Idancehall oh lord I cannot!! I have to count off beat, it’s the only way I can do it without losing my mind lol ( i count the 1 as 2)

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