Saturday, 11 May 2013

Confession #17 - Spice up Your Rhythms!

In Confession #10 - Learn the Folk Rhythm! we learned, well... the folk rhythm. :-)

What makes the folk rhythm interesting to our ears is the way that the strum on the 'and of 2' is held for a quarter note's duration.  This emphasizes a beat that is normally not accented (i.e. the 'and of 2') and de-emphasizes a beat that is normally accented (i.e. beat 3, which is not played).


A variation of this is to strum on the 'and of 4' (e.g. counting eight notes in 4/4 time: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ) and hold it for a quarter note's duration.  Beat 1 of the next measure is de-emphasized because you don't strum on that beat.

Here is a 2 bar strumming pattern that demonstrates this technique:

(Click to Enlarge)


What makes this variation even more interesting is if we change chords early.  Typically we change chords at the beginning of a measure.  But combining a chord change on the 'and of 4' and sustaining it into the next measure is very interesting to our ears.

Here is a 2 bar strumming pattern that demonstrates this technique:

(Click to Enlarge)


Finally, throwing in just a couple of 16th notes into a strumming pattern can really spice it up.

Here is a 2 bar strumming pattern that demonstrates this technique:

(Click to Enlarge)

The pair of 16th notes at the end will take some practice.  Start off slowly and gradually increase the tempo (see Confession #5 - Use a Metronome! ).

To play this successfully  you need to think about your strumming strategy.  I've included Down and Up markers in the TAB.  Until you get to the pair of 16th notes, you are using an eight note down-up approach (i.e. strumming down on the beat and strumming up on the 'and' of the beat).  When you get to beat 4 you are going to break this pattern and strum down on beat 4, down on the 'and of 4' (i.e. the first of the two 16th notes), and up on the second 16th note.  This will be a bit confusing to your strumming hand at first.

See Confession #10 - Learn the 'Folk' Rhythm! for another example of using 16th notes in a strumming pattern.


Now let's apply all 3 of these techniques over a I-vi-IV-V7 chord progression in the key of G (see  Confession #14 - Know What Chords to Play!  to understand what the Roman numerals mean).

Thus, the chords are G-Em-C-D7.  This is the same progression that we used in Confession #5 - Use a Metronome! , and Confession #7 - Use Pivot Chords!.

(Click to Enlarge)

Finish this progression by switching back to the G chord and strumming it once.  I don't show this in the TAB above, but that's how the progression ends in the video below.

Have fun with these techniques and try to incorporate them in your playing!

Next Week's Confession - Slash Chords!

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