Rhythm Primer (part10): Musical Ties

Welcome back to another tutorial in the rhythm primer series for rhythm guitar. In the last lesson we learned how to make a note longer using dotted rhythms. In this lesson we're going to learn how to make a note almost any length you want. Basically, you're going to use a tie to add any two notes together to make one note.

So let's say you want to make a note that's worth two and a half beats. We'll there's no single note worth that, but you could get it if you combined a half note (worth 2 beats) and an eighth note (worth half a beat). To make a tie, just write a little arc connecting the note heads like this:

Remember when using ties that you do not restrike the second note. In other words you would strike the half note above but instead of striking the eighth note you simply continue holding the note for the value of the second note (half a beat in this case).

If you were to tie a quarter note (worth 1 beat) and a 16th note (worth a quarter of a beat), you would get one note worth 1 and a quarter beats.

Another way to use ties is to allow a note to ring across the measure. Each measure needs to have 4 beats in it, no more and no less. So what if you wanted a note to last for 5 beats? You could then add a tie across the bar line like this:

Okay, now for some examples so you can follow along on your guitar. In the first example there is a tie across the bar so that you play beat 4 in the first measure and hold it across beat one of the next measure.

Description: Exercise 1 using ties

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Sometimes there is more than one way to write a rhythm. Most often there's no right or wrong, just what do feel is an easier way to show what you want played. In this next exercise the first and second measures sound identical, but they are written differently. I don't know about you, but I find the first measure easier to read than the second.

Description: Exercise 2 using ties

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In the third exercise we are going to use a tie that crosses across two lines of music. A tie across two lines of music sounds no different than a tie across a measure. But if you need to do it, this is the way it is written.

Description: Exercise 3 using ties

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That pretty much covers ties, next lesson we will look at how divide a beat into three equal parts by using triplets.

Click here to go to the next lesson: Triplets

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