BASICS OF UNDERSTANDING RHYTHMS, GUITAR STRUMMING PATTERNS



This blog post is about understanding rhythms in music. Rhythm is that component in a song that makes us move, or even just tap the foot, when we listen to it. Here, we will look at the basic terms used in rhythm understanding, various strumming patterns and applying those pattern to different chord progressions. The chord progressions are a part of the patterns.


The speed of a song or any music piece is decided by its BPM (Beats Per Minute). For example a slow-paced song has an average BPM around 50-60, while a fast-paced song or a groovy song can have an average BPM of 120-130. We study rhythms in terms of number of beats, which have their respective notations. Apart from beats, any song or music piece has "rest".


A rest is an interval of silence in a song, marked by a symbol indicating the length of the pause. Each rest symbol and name corresponds with a particular note value for length, indicating how long the silence should last.


Notations used for indicating Rhythm, have following Beat Values and corresponding rest symbols -



Couting Whole, Half and Quarter Notes

Eighth Note Beaming -


An Eight-Note Beaming




In musical notation, a beam is a horizontal or diagonal line used to connect multiple consecutive notes (and occasionally rests) to indicate rhythmic grouping. Only eighth notes beamed (joining 2 half-notes)






Now let's look at how an eight note is counted -

Eight note counting








Here are few examples of different eight notes and quarter note rhythms -
















Concept of Strumming -

Strumming is playing “Chords on rhythm”


We mainly use Downstrokes and Upstrokes while strumming, as these make it easier to play the guitar.





In case of whole, half and quarter notes, a Downstroke works well, while in an eight-note(where there are 2 hits on a beat), we use both downstroke and upstroke.

Below is a detailed image, consisting of Counts, Rhythm Notations and Strokes to be used.




P.S. To understand this blog post better, watching the above video is a must. The video has detailed teaching of all the above concepts. So, do watch the video for a better understanding of Rhythms and not to forget, we have got an interesting assignment for you at the end!

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