28 August 2007

Songs are Made of Bars

In previous posts I've begun describing some of the basics of song structure.

You need to know about one other important part of song structure before you start playing your first song. This is the bar, also known as a measure. The song parts that you'll be playing - like the verse or chorus - are divided into bars and each one lasts for the same duration.

The bars are divided further into beats. Many popular music songs have bars made up of four beats. For now, we'll keep things simple and work only on such songs with four beats per bar.

Now for some practical exercise. Form the G chord or C chord you learnt earlier and strum down across the strings for times. Count "one two three four" as you strum. Concentrate on keeping the strums evenly spaced, don't try to go too fast at first. Regularity is more important than speed. After four strums, don't stop, keep strumming and start counting at "one" again.

Once you're comfortable strumming the four beats try changing the chord after each series of four strums. You should be able to change the chord while continuing to strum evenly. You shouldn't have to slow down or stop while you change chords. If you do, then you're going too fast - slow down and try again.

Keep practicing and in the next beginner's post I'll show you how to use your new skills to start playing a song.

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