Rhythm Basics For Guitarists
Have you ever listened to a piece of music and noticed that your foot was tapping along? This happens to most of us, especially
when we listen to music we really like.
When you tap your foot with music, you are keeping time with that music. You are tapping along to the basic beat or pulse of the
music. A beat or pulse is the smallest time division that we can comfortably move our bodies to. A meter or time signature is a
grouping of these beats into a larger repeatable pattern.
The most common time signature found in popular music is 4/4 time. In fact, 4/4 time (pronounced four-four time) is so common,
it is also called "common time". Common time is often abbreviated with a fancy "C".
In 4/4, the whole note receives 4 beats or counts. The half note receives 2 beats and a quarter note receives 1 beat. The
eighth note receives half of a beat.
Eighth notes are sometimes written without connecting beams:
Rhythm guitar parts are often notated with slashes or rhythmic notation. This makes reading chord parts easy. All you do is
play the appropriate chord and strum the notated rhythm.
The slashes represent the notes in the chords while the stems indicate the time values of the chords. The slash shown below is
a quarter note and is counted as one beat in 4/4 time.
Don J. MacLean
Don J. MacLean is one of the world's leading authorities on accelerated learning systems for guitar-with students using his methods in
© Copyright 2012 Don J. MacLean. All Rights Reserved.