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Strumming Patterns:

Understanding Rhythm and Meter:

In order to strum accompaniments to songs with the guitar, a bit about musical "rhythm" must be understood. Rhythm may be defined as the organization of music in time. All music is organized into regular units of time. Those units of time are divided into groups of beats, or pulses, called "measures". Measures are separated and indicated in written music by vertical lines called "bar lines".

Most songs have a repetitive beat pattern, or "meter", which occurs regularly in each measure. In notating the rhythms of songs, a symbol called a "time signature" is used to indicate a song's regular beat pattern. Time signatures appear in written music as numerical fractions. The top number in a time signature indicates the number of beats which occur in each measure of a song. The bottom number indicates the type of written note that receives one beat (the bottom number is not important at this point - refer to the Reading Music lesson for a complete discussion of music notation).

In essence, the top number in a time signature tells you how many times you should tap your footduring each measure of a song. To strum chords along with a song, the time signature can be used to indicate how many times you should strum the strings in each measure. Don't worry about the bottom number - it does not affect how many times you strum per measure.

4
- = strum 4 times between each vertical line
4


3
- = strum 3 times between each vertical line
2

The first time signature above (4/4) is so common in most forms of music that it is called "common time" and is often indicated in written music by a large letter "C". The diagrams below represent the most common strumming patterns used in each time signature. Listen to the recording provided until you can play these patterns intuitively. You will find them in literally thousands of songs!



4/4 patterns (four beats to a measure):


1 2 3 4


1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +


1 + 2 + 3 +
4 + To perform the "click", hit the strings with the heel of
ߠ ߠ ߠ your hand atthe same time that the pickhits the strings.
(click) (click)

1 (+) 2 + (3) +4 +
(miss) (miss)

1 (+) 2 + 3 (+) 4 +
(miss) ߠ ݠ (miss) (miss)
(Bass) (Bass)
.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

(accent) (accent) (accent)


3/4 patterns (3 beats to a measure):


1 2 3


1 + 2 + 3+
ߠ

1(+) 2 + 3 (+)
(miss) (miss)

1 (+) 2 + 3 +
(miss)
Bass
Note

Copyright 2004 Nick Antonaccio. All rights reserved.