Rhythm Primer (part9): Dotted Rhythms

Welcome to part nine of the rhythm primer for guitarists. We've covered quite a bit of ground so far. In this lesson we're going to look at another way of dividing a note. Every note or rest could have a dot added to it. What this does is add half the value of the note to itself. So, if you add a dot to a half note (normally worth two beats) then it becomes three beats. That's because half of two is one. In other words, two beats (for the original note) plus one beat (for the dot) is three beats. If you took a whole note (worth 4 beats) and added a dot to it (the dot being worth two beats) you would have a note worth 6 beats. The picture to the left is what a dotted half note looks like.

You can also add a dot to a quarter note. Half of a quarter note is an eighth note. So, a dotted quarter note would be worth one and a half beats. An dotted eighth note is worth an eighth note (half a beat) plus a sixteenth note (worth a quarter of a beat) for three quarters of a beat. Here is a dotted quarter note and a dotted eighth note:

Dotted eighth notes will often have a sixteenth note before or after it. A dotted eighth note (worth 3/4 of a beat) plus a sixteenth note (worth 1/4 of a beat) would make one complete beat. So, these notes are often beamed together.
Dotted 8th note then 16th:

Sixteenth then dotted 8th:

The same idea applies to rests as well. Here is a dotted half rest, dotted quarter rest, and a dotted 8th rest.

Now, lets put the dotted rhythm into some examples for us to try. Some of these can be very tricky, but don't give up on them. Take it one measure at a time if you need. One thing that can help on the last two examples is to keep your arm moving non-stop up and down for every sixteenth note (That means you will move your arm up and down sixteen times per measure). When you do this only strike the notes you need to, and avoid hitting the strings on the notes you are holding out. This will help you keep track of where you are in the sixteenth note count. Good luck!

Description: Exercise using dotted half notes and rests, and dotted quarter notes.

Click Arrow to Play | Which guitar chord is played?

Description: Exercise using dotted quarter notes and dotted eighth notes.

Click Arrow to Play | Which guitar chord is played?

Description: Exercise using dotted eighth notes with sixteenth notes.

Click Arrow to Play | Which guitar chord is played?

Description: Exercise using dotted quarter notes and dotted quarter rests.

Click Arrow to Play | Which guitar chord is played?

Description: Another exercise using dotted eighth notes and sixteenth notes.

Click Arrow to Play | Which guitar chord is played?

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