The Eighth Note

Monday, January 15, 2007

Up to now, it has been possible to count the measures by giving each of the notes one or more counts. The same applies to eighth notes when the time signature has an eight as the lower number. For instance, 6/8 measures are counted like this:

The differences to notice here are:
> There are two stresses in 6/8, on the first and fourth beats. The stress on the first beat is
slightly heavier than the stress on the fourth.
> Because the eighth note is the counting unit, the quarter note, which lasts as long as
two eighth notes, now gets two counts.
> The dotted quarter note counts half as much again, i.e., it gets three counts.

When faster notes are grouped together, they are frequently joined together to make them easier to read. For instance, the above would normally be written like this:

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Some Familiar Tunes

Friday, January 12, 2007

Now is the time to try some well-known tunes. See if you can play them in time and recog-nize some of them. Remember to count as well as play.

”Au Clair de la Lune”

Au Clair de la Lune
”Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes”

Most tunes need faster notes, so now is a good moment to see how these are written and counted.

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Ties, Rests, and Damping

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Tunes do not always fit neatly into measures, and sometimes we want to hold over a note from one measure to the next. This is easily done by writing the extra amount as a note in the next measure and tying the two notes together, like this:

In the example, the first fret note is held over through the first beat of the next measure. In practice the tied note will often not be shown in the tablature, so it is important to spot it in the note indications.

Rests are simply silences, but they must have a time value, like notes, and fit into the mea-
sures in the same way:

One two (three) four __ one two three four

In the example, the third beat is silent, so the string should be damped. If it was not an open string, it would be sufficient just to lift the left-hand finger. However, to stop the open string from ringing on, it is necessary to touch it lightly. This can be done here with a left-hand finger or with the side of the right-hand thumb.

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