Audio: accent (0:04)
accent plays a click track on lo and hi congas. The rhythm consists of eight beats divided equally into two bars of four beats each. In each bar the first beat is accented and the remaining three beats are unaccented. The accent figure shows the score.
An accent is an emphasised beat, a beat that differs from its neighbours.
An accented beat is called a strong, on or stressed beat, an unaccented beat is called a weak, off or unstressed beat.
There are two ways to accent a beat to distinguish it from its neighbours. One is to play the accented beat on a different instrument to the unaccented beats, the other is to make its amplitude louder. Both methods are used in the accent example.
An accent is denoted in a score by placing a right arrowhead symbol (>) above or below the accented beat. This is an example of an articulation mark, one of a group of symbols that provide instructions how your piece of music should be played. It is entirely your decision to articulate or not.
A bar or measure represents a specific number of beats in a period. A bar line, a vertical line, marks the end of a bar in a score. The usual assumption in rhythm is that the first beat in a bar is the accented beat. This is a reasonable assumption most of the time. It avoids the need to display an articulation mark in a score or to use another drum to play the accented beat. However, there may be occasions when another beat in the bar is the accented beat, and the solution then is to either add an accent symbol to the score or use another drum.