3-Minute Basic Beatbox Tutorial: Hip-Hop/Rock Beat


In this basic beatbox tutorial, we look at a rock and hip-hop rhythm comprised of 4 basic sounds. This is a syncopated rhythm, meaning there are sounds that fall on both strong beats and weak beats. As with many beatbox rhythms we are imitating the sounds of a drum kit by using the mouth cavity and vocal production mechanism.

The basic sounds of this rhythm are: the open kick drum as a buzz (B), the muted kick drum as a popping sound (written P), the snare drum (Ka), and the closed high hat (t). Lastly we notate the inhalation (in) so you know where in the cycle to breathe in.

Here’s the fully noted rhythm:

B _ _ p, Ka _ _ B, _ t B _, Ka _ (in) _

The blank spaces signify beats on which you are not starting any new sounds. The commas (,) are written every 4 sub-beats so you can see how this rhythm fits into a 4-beat structure.

The beat numbers written out in the video (1 e + a, 2 e + a) are the standard notation for breaking a beat into four sub-beats. Technically this is called 16th note subdivision. When you hear the beatboxing happening in this video, the tempo is quite slow, as beat 1 is on the first B and beat 2 is on the first Ka. This means there is a lot of space to fill in between these numbered “macro” beats and that’s why we need to count these subdivisions with e + a. When you count out loud you would say, “one ee and a, two ee and a…”

Questions about this basic beatbox tutorial? Ask in the comments section below.

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AJ Block is the director of Didge Project and is active as a didgeridoo teacher and performer. In addition to didgeridoo, AJ has spent years studying music traditions from all over the world including jazz (trombone and piano), western classical music, Indian Classical Music, guitar and world percussion. AJ has developed a number of programs for Didge Project including The ABCs of Didgeridoo, The Didgeridoo Skills Course, and Circular Breathing Mastery. He is also the author of Didge For Sleep, a didgeridoo learning method designed specifically for people with Sleep Apnea. As a performer AJ is the leader of the Didge Project Music Collective and a member of Dream Seed: A Shamanic Sound Journey. AJ is a founding member of Sacred Arts Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sacred art traditions through education, ritual and study. As a student of spiritual teacher Maestro Manuel Rufino AJ is an active member of the Golden Drum community.