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Introduction to rythm for beginners

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This course is not really a course strictly speaking, since you do not learn anything concrete here. Instead, I will present the future course on rhythm that will appear on tabs4acoustic, and the logic behind this so you do not get lost in all these courses!

Basics required for this lesson : None
Practice this lesson : None


Why bother to make a video just for that? Well that's what I'll explain now. You should know that learning the rhythm in music is something complex, but not necessarily difficult. There's a lot of rhythms to learn, lots of symbols to know, and lots of uses of these. And needs will vary depending on the style of music and the instrument you play. So, it's almost impossible to make one single approach to learning rhythms that meets the needs of everyone without being indigestible for many people.

After careful consideration, I chose a method that should be as flexible as possible, and which will answer questions and needs of many of you, which will effectively help you learn the rhythm. But as this will not be a simple sequence of courses and is a little more subtle than that, I'll explain how to get the best out of it.

Rhythm vs strumming pattern

To really understand the courses on this subject, we must first address some notions of vocabulary: the distinction between rhythm, and strumming pattern. What is the difference?

The rythm

From a musical point of view, the rhythm is simply the definition of the length and spacing of the notes in time. Nothing more, nothing less. We use a lot of symbols (called rhythmic theory) that you probably know a little bit (whole note, half note etc ...) to write the rhythm.


The strumming pattern though, will be a sequence of movements that we will do to strum our guitar strings, and thus reproduce a rhythm. The strumming pattern is therefore a concrete application of a rhythm on the guitar.


If we highlight the difference between the strumming pattern and the rhythm, it's really worth it: indeed, for a given rhythm, there are often many strumming patterns to follow this given rhythm and some strumming patterns are more adapted to certain musical styles than others.

In the course on tabs4acoustic, we'll work on one side on a series of courses for the rhythm and on the other side a series of courses for the strumming pattern. The advantage of separating these two is the flexibility in the learning. A rhythm can be learnt without learning the strumming pattern that goes with it, but you can also learn strumming patterns without necessarily know all the concepts of rhythms that go with it.


For the rhythm courses, there will be no guitar. We learn the rhythm on a theoretical point of view, without applying it on an instrument. We start with the reading of the various symbols, and we will also see different ways to work the rhythm without instruments, allowing you to develop your sense of rhythm.


In these courses we will apply on the guitar the rhythms learned in the course on rhythm. It will therefore be the link between the rhythm and the sequence of movements needed to strum your strings.


Do we have to work on the rhythm only ? On the strumming pattern only? On both? Starting with what? Well it will depend on you: some are very comfortable with the rhythms, they were born with the rhythm and do quite well with only a few tricks. Others are struggling to be consistent, to play simple rhythms, and will require more work to get by.

If you are in the first case, you will not really need rhythm courses, and it is even likely that you are not reading this. If you are in the second case, you're a little lost in all this, don't worry, you are not alone, many are like you. I suggest you start by looking at the first course on rhythm, just to accustom to some basic concepts, before starting on the rhythm. With these courses you will have to work on basic rhythms, you practice slowly and improve your sense of rhythm.

Beware though, I advise everyone to watch at least the first 2-3 rhythm courses,  that address the basics of rhythm and will be useful in all cases.


Note that the courses will be numbered "rhythm 1", "rhythm 2", "Strumming pattern 1" etc ... I would try as much as possible to establish an equivalence between the two sets of courses, thanks to the number. So if you saw the course "Rhythm 1", the course "Strumming pattern 1" will include the same basics but apply them to the guitar. And conversely, if you look at the course "the strumming pattern 3" but you're a little lost, you will have more theoretical explanations in the course "rhythm 3".


Of course you are free to address the courses in the order you want, how you want, and completely skip the rhythm part if you wish. Be aware though, that the more you progress through the concepts of strumming patterns, the more you will need solid knowledge on rhythm. So if your goal is to explore all the potential strumming patterns, start straight with the rhythm theory. If your goal is just to watch 2-3 courses to be able to strum a little bit, it will not be mandatory to follow rhythm theory.


In addition to these courses on rhythms and strumming patterns, on our website, you also have access to the riff library, where you will find a rhythm section. In this section you will find lots of strumming patterns which you can use in the pieces you play, and with every strumming pattern, you have an audio example as a bonus!


That's all there is to say! To summarize, we will therefore address the rhythm on one hand, and the strumming pattern on the other hand, and you are free to look at them in the order you want, at the speed you want. Do not go too fast however, take your time to master this!


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