Imagine you are counting slowly 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 over and over.
In music, if we wanted to write this down, we would start by saying there are four beats to a bar. We write this:
The top '4' tells us there are four beats in each bar.
(The bottom '4': it says that these beats are crotchets, more of which in Time Signature.)
What is a bar? Well, a bar is everything between two bar lines!
So if we have four beats to a bar, we can now put in our numbered beats between the bar lines.
The little tadpole things are called notes. At least, it is one meaning of the word note. These particular notes are called crotchets.
Notes last a number of beats. Crotchets last one beat each.
Note that we used the word note to talk about pitch and now we are talking about the duration of a note.
Other notes last different numbers of beats.
A semibreve lasts four beats.
Count (quietly!) 1 2 3 4 but only play or sing the note once on the count of 1.
A minim lasts two beats.
So, if there are four beats to a bar then we get two minims in a bar.
Some notes last less than a beat. There are two quavers in a beat, for example.
Now, can you tap out the following four bars?