Thursday, November 13, 2008

Song components and strumming pattern.

Today I will explain what does a song comprise of. Any good song will have the following:

1) Melody
2) Harmony
3) Rhythm

The basic pulse behind music are beats. The best way to learn is always practice with a metronome. When I started I had no good guitar teacher who could teach me the guitar. So I started the wrong way and I had to go through lot of frustrations. I made this blog so that I can give an aspiring guitar player some of my experience. One of my experience is that, we should all practice with a metronome.

In the past, i used to practice without a metronome. When i started using this ticking instrument, I realized the results I am getting are mind boggling. You can download a metronome from the Internet. You can type free metronome in Google search engine and there are many websites that will give you a free metronome.

We will start with rhythm, as all the musicians play in the same rhythm during the whole song. Rhythm is very important for the song. This is because when the Rhythm is wrong, nothing sounds right. For example Rhythm can be quarter notes, eight notes, sixteenth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes triplets.

Quarter notes are one note per beat, eight notes are two notes per beat and sixteenth notes are 4 notes per beat. Triplets are three notes per beat. Sixteenth notes triplets are six notes per beat. You can practice strumming patterns with quarter notes, eighth notes and so on.

Strumming means the movement of going down and up using your plectrum against all the strings.

To practice good rhythm, you need a metronome as I explained earlier. Try with low beats such as 70 beats per minute or 60 beats per minute.

Try some quarter notes, as I feel they are easiest. This mean when you hear a beat at the same time you should strum down (I am also assuming that you have used your other hand to form a chord)

Whenever you hear a beat and you strum down or up once, this called a quarter note strumming pattern.

Now we will try eighth notes. When you hear a beat in this case, your plectrum should go up and down and when you hear the beat again, the plectrum should go up and down again.

As you must have already guessed by now that sixteenth notes would be strumming up and down twice when you hear one beat. The best way to make a good rhythm is to make a mixture of different notes. For example, you can strum quarter notes for two beats and then eight notes for two beats. This combination gives a flavor to the music.

You should experiment. You may realize that you have a made a cool strumming pattern for your first song. I will write more about strumming patterns in my next post.

The second most important part of the song is melody. This is what the singer is singing. This is the first thing that grabs our attention. You will have to use your creativity to come up with some excellent melodies.

The last part that I listed above is harmony. Harmony is nothing but the chord progression of the song. So we have to make a good chord progression for a song. We can do this when we have deep knowledge of chord formulas.

In the end, it's just the right combination of all these factors that make a good song.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pentatonic scale.

What is a pentatonic scale? This was the question i used to ask myself when I started playing the guitar. Finally, I learned that this scale is one of the most important scale for a rock guitarist. This scale is used by many famous guitarists.

I learned some pentatonic patterns and started practicing them endlessly. As usual, the hard work payed off and the results started showing. Suddenly I started sounding like my idols and I felt I have become a cool guitarist. Most of the guitar solos are made of pentatonic scales. When this scale is combined with legato playing, one is destined for greatness. I mean guitar greatness and becoming a guitar Guru.

If we want to derive the Pentatonic scale from the major scale, we have to eradicate two notes. I will give an example. As C Major scale has the following notes:

C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I have put numbers below the notes so that I can simplify what I am trying to explain. As mentioned earlier, we have to eradicate two notes. The two notes that will be removed are '4' and '7'. '4' and '7' are the F note and the B note respectively.

After removing these notes, we get the following C major pentatonic scale:

C D E G A C

Penta means five and after seeing the above scale, you must figured out by now that pentatonic has five notes.

The following is a simple C Major pentatonic scale:

e------------------------------
b------------------------------
g--------------------2-----5--
d----------2------5--
a---3----5-----------
e------------------

You can practice the above pattern and I will post all the minor and major patterns soon. Cheers and Rock On!