Rhythm theory

Clear all

# Rhythm theory

12 Posts
4 Users
0 Likes
2,752 Views
(@alex_)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608
Topic starter

Speaking as a bedroom guitarist...

I dont really pay much attention to the rhythm of a song, and knowing now i need too, to be a good guitarist i was wondering how you guys do it..

take for instance..

And say when playing with a metronome, am i consciously meant to remember and accent the note of every new beat..

cos playing that, i get lost in any sort of rhythm, i just play it.. but proffesionals, if they learnt it, would they think (right, 2 notes into this hammer on of 5 notes is going into a new crotchet..

if so, how the hell can i practice this so it doesnt scare me?

and if not, what do i do?

Thanx

(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4921

You split 'em up into manageable groups - it's not practical to count 64ths as individual notes.

Take the second figure, which has 17 notes within one beat. You can count 1-e-&-a to break that beat into four parts... so mark off those divisions:

1: the C note on the G string, 17th fret
e: the F note on the D string, 16th fret
&: the change back to the G string
a: the change back again to the D string

The second of those four parts is a quintuplet, so the notes will occur slightly faster. The important thing is to hit the next segment - the string change - on pace.

In practice, it might not matter. It's not very likely that a segment like this has a truly critical rhythm... it's probably not played in duet, or with changing harmonies during the figure. Figures like this are practically always solo (often as cadenzas) where strict rhythm isn't as important. But if you want to keep the best track you can, you've got a couple of great signposts with the string changes... you might do a couple of things to simplify the rest:

1) play the first half as a nonuplet (a triple-triplet) to take up half a beat... probably nobody will notice anyway! or

2) play the G note in the first figure on the G string, 12th fret - that would make every one of the quarter-beat segements a string change.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

(@alex_)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608
Topic starter

Oh god what would i do without you...

ok few questions
You can count 1-e-&-a

not entirely sure what this means, is this something that corresponds with the splitting of the groups?
The important thing is to hit the next segment - the string change - on pace.

And "On Pace" just means, play the quintuplets faster and make sure the next section is on the metronome click?

Number 2 sounds like a great idea..

So it means in a 4 beat bar with notes like that, split up every one of them into another 4 section thing?

(@steve-0)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1162

You can count 1-e-&-a

not entirely sure what this means, is this something that corresponds with the splitting of the groups?

1-e-&-a is what alot of people use to count 4 notes in one beat, or 4 sixteenth notes, I think what Noteboat is saying (and please, correct me if i'm wrong) is that in order to count those 64th notes, you have to basically think in 16th notes and not in standard quarter notes. To clarify, most of the time you count:

1-2-3-4

but with that, you'd count

1-e-&-a

2-e-&-a

3-e-&-a

4-e-&-a

For the first line you would play the first 4 notes during the 1, then the next 4 during the e, etc, etc.

Anyways, maybe you were just curious what "1-e-&-a" was and knew about the subdivisions, basically it's just a way to count 16th notes.

Steve-0

(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4921

So it means in a 4 beat bar with notes like that, split up every one of them into another 4 section thing?

Split it into whatever's appropriate for the section - that might be two, three, four parts... in this case, it's four: you've got one 4-note, one 5-note, and two more 4-note sections, all with the same duration. Splitting it into some other division won't work here, but it might for other passages.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

(@alex_)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608
Topic starter

In every song you learn do guitarists know what note and when they should accent or be conscious of beat's?

(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066

Much of the time you don't have to accent the strong beats consciously. When you're locked into the groove and know the proper phrasing you just play accordingly.

(@alex_)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608
Topic starter

so, say playing along will give you the learning, and you know the speed and what should come when something happens in the other instruments?

im talking about, say, playing for a metronome? or doesnt that really happen?

(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066

I guess what I mean is that you don't go "okay, accent this note (weak note weak note weak note) Lesser Accent! (weak note weak note weak note) Medium Accent! (weak note weak note weak note) weak accent (weak note weak note weak note)". You have to be aware of it, but it's not that kind of awareness. You feel the stress on each downbeat and stress the notes that happen then because you just have to let the stress out. That's the same thing that makes guitar soloists mouth things (apparently I do this and never noticed) and makes pianists wiggle uncontrollably. You feel the overall rhythm more than you worry about what beat you're on.

I'm not saying you shouldn't know what beat you're on, because you're probably going to get lost if you don't; it's just you don't count to decide where the accents fall. You need to just know where they fall by sound. When I picture music in my head I picture the downbeats as having the weight of a kick drum, and have to play accordingly. When you read you may need to think a little to figure out where they fall, but you want to know their places by feel and not just by rote.

You can get into a groove with a metronome as well as with a band, but you have to be careful not to get mechanical. Playing in time and playing like a robot are not the same thing, and robotic playing will kill the groove. You've really got to hear the metronome as another part of the music, rather than a guide you're trying to stay with.

EDIT: I don't think I'm being very clear. The way I feel the beat isn't "1, 2, 3, 4", it's more like "WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP", and everything I hear is a part of that. Metronome, bass, guitar, drums, piano, and whatever else there may be are all playing that beat, either by putting a note there or by being conspicuously silent. So metronomes aren't something to match, but something playing along with me.

(@alex_)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 608
Topic starter

I think that broke through something in my head...

i sort of understand, i know why i have a problem, when i learn a song its the music i listen to, and the songs are way out of my league without th practice i need, but whilst practicing, i never hear the songs groove, just practice the notes..

so no wonder ive never really got the whump whump thing you are talking about, i suppose slowing a song down in a tab program and playing along will help, and they also have metronomes on there..

if i find this hard what the hell am i going to do when i need to use syncopation, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

(@steve-0)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1162

Well, sometimes doing the 4-count can be a good thing, if you want to improvise a 1 or 2 bar guitar fill in a song it can be good to know that you land on beat one when you should. However, I know what you mean and I think if you spend enough time really counting, eventually you'll just subconsciously know when bars start and end.

Steve-0

(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066

I'm relieved that I got something across to you. I wasn't sure how to get at what I meant so I just tried to describe how the beat feels to me.