Unravelling the mysteries of Rhythm: Music is Easy #2
We have a lot of great written instructions, videos, and audio clips to help you learn to play the Strumstick. This blog series is more about learning how Music works, than instructions per se. For Strumstick instructions, see our Instructions Page, and our Video-Audio Page.
Rhythm is nothing more than how musical stuff is spaced in time.
The two things you need are some musical events (some notes, hand claps, strumming strings, whatever) and some time in between them. Thats it.
Most "Rhythms" involve a repeating pattern in time, that is actually what 'Rhythms" means.
Quick examples: Count out loud 1 2 3 4 several times in a steady, evenly spaced way. You just created a special rhythm called a "steady beat".
If you like, emphasize the "1" beat slightly more (louder) like 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 etc. That emphasis is called an "accent" and accenting the "1" beat makes the repeating pattern more noticeable. Do this ( outloud) a few times, and really listen, and sink in to what it feels like... it is a simple thing, yet you are dancing with time and sound.
Now count 1+2+3+4+ several times. That looks complicated, but all you are doing is saying "and" in between each number (so you are really making sounds twice as fast). Skip the accenting for now.
1 2 3 4 etc
1+2+3+4+ etc What does this feel like?
This is called adding the "off beat". The "and" happens exactly halfway in-between each beat number. Here is a audio clip demonstrating the Steady Beat and Off Beat. (First minute or two).
Now we get to do some creative fun:
Count (out loud )
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4,
and then add just one "and" anywhere you choose. I'll try:
1+2 3 4 1+2 3 4 1+2 3 4 repeat that several times
It helps to count out loud, so you are thinking, speaking, hearing...Multimedia!
1 2 3+4 1 2 3+4 etc
or 1 2 3 4+1 2 3 4+ etc
And you could add more than one "and"
1 2+3+4 1 2+3+4 or
1+2+3 4+1+2+3 4+ etc
For an idea of how these sound, listen to the audio Demo Steady Beat and Off Beat from the 2 minute point on. When you count any of these ( and I hope you will!) count outloud, not just in your head, and listen to what is happening, almost like a meditation.
The point of all of this is that you can easily create many different rhythms with just two building blocks, a Beat and an Offbeat. Each rhythm has a different sound, and a different feel to it. The more offbeats you add, the "busier" or more lively it sounds. Fewer (or no) offbeats makes a more spacious feeling. The Audio clip uses not just counting but also down-strums (beat) and up-strums (offbeat) on the Strumstick to make different rhythms. You can see a video of this Here
We have been using a 4 beat pattern, repeated. but you could use two different 4 beat patterns to make an 8 beat pattern. 1 2 3 4+1+2 3 4
You could also count in groups of 3:
1 2 3 etc
1 2+3 etc
The next post will look at creating larger spaces by leaving out beats (without getting lost!).
There are few things more heart-warming and romantic than making a song for someone you love. Music is evocative, intangible, and a little risky, just like love is. In this article, we are going to show you how you can make sweet little melodies, a musical treat for someone you love.
8 Steps for Learning Guitar that Ensure Success
(even without a Strumstick).
Here are eight ideas that really help in the early stages of guitar. Our experience shows that using the Strumstick as a pre-Guitar trainer makes a big difference, however these ideas apply whether you use the Strumstick or not. These ideas were developed in 10 years of full-time guitar teaching, and they really help.