Guitar Lesson Two  Developing rhythms – introducing half notes and quarter notes

Understanding and playing half notes

Lesson Objectives

  • Understand and be able to count half notes.
  • Understand and be able to count quarter notes.
  • Develop our understanding of the chords A5 and G5, by using combinations of all notes learned.
  • Develop greater awareness and ability to play in time with music.
  • Introduce the concept of subdividing, to create rhythm.

We introduced in Lesson 1 the concept that a whole note lasts for the whole of the bar. Hence the note being called a ‘whole’ note.

In common time, this means that a whole note is worth four (4) beats, and we used power chords in Lesson 1 to get used to playing whole notes.

Obviously, there are many more notes than just whole notes and we will steadily introduce the many notes that are available to us, so as to develop a wide rhythmic variety into our playing.

It is logical now to look at the next note, which is called a half note. Unsurprisingly, this is because it is worth half of a bar of common time and is therefore worth two (2) beats.

You will see that a half note differs from the appearance of a whole note as it has a stem. The stem can face upwards or downwards.

Half Note

Half Note

Worth two beats.

As with all our lessons, the best way to understand is to play. So we have in our first exercise, below, four bars of music to play. In each bar, you will see that there are two half notes. You therefore need to play two chords per bar.

Now the first two bars use the chord of A5 and the second use G5. This way, we can practise the chords we are already familiar with whilst getting used to these new half notes.

When playing remember to count, so that you will hit the first note on beat 1, and the second on beat 3, of each bar. Watch the video and then play along with the media files to develop your timekeeping and fluency.

Exercise 1

Open in Xtractor Upload X5 File

Next: Introducing the concept of subdivisions to develop rhythm