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Changing the Beaten Path
In This Chapter
P- Knowing when to rest ^ Tying and dotting your notes ^ Picking up the missing beats ^ Playing off the beat
Λs soon as the music starts, you hear beats as a constant, ever-present force. But you dont have to play a new note on every darn one of those beats.
This chapter shows you some ways to interpret the beat, whether its holding notes longer, playing off or around the beat, or even not playing at all.
Taking a Rest
No matter how much you enjoy something, you cant do it forever. Most composers know this and allow you places in the music to rest. It may be resting the hands or simply resting the ears, but rest is an inevitable and essential part of every piece of music.
A musical rest is simply a pause in which you play nothing. The beat goes on remember its a constant pulse but you pause. This pause can be as short as the length of one sixteenth note or as long as several measures. (Chapter 5 tells you about the lengths of different notes and measures.) However, a rest is usually not long enough to order a pizza or do anything else very useful.
During a rest, you should get your fingers and hands ready to play the next set of notes. Dont put your hands in your lap or your pockets. Keep them on the keys, ready to play whatever may follow.
For every note length, a corresponding rest exists. And, as you may guess, for every rest there is a corresponding symbol. Here they are for the taking.
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper__________________
\/ou can teatfe your hat on
When you see a whole note F, you play F and hold it for four beats. For a half note, you play and hold the note for two beats. (Chapter 5 tells you all about whole and half notes.) A whole rest and half rest ask you to pause, not play anything, for the corresponding number of beats.
Figure 6-1 shows both the whole and half rests. They look like little hats, one on and one off. This hat analogy, and the rules of etiquette, make for a good way to remember these rests:
| If you rest for only half of the measure (two beats), the hat stays on.
j .s If you rest for the entire measure (four beats), take off your hat and stay I for a while.
more than Whole Half
one hat. rest rest
These hats, er, rests always hang in the same positions on both staves, making it easy for you to spot them in the music. A half rest sits on the middle line, while a whole rest hangs from the fourth line up, shown in Figure 6-2.
Figure 6-2: _ -
vnnr hat Half Whole
y°ur nat- rest rest
To see whole and half rests in action, take a peek at Figure 6-3. In the first measure of Figure 6-3, you play the two A quarter notes, and then the half rest tells you not to play anything for the next two beats. In the next measure, the whole rest tells you that youre off duty you rest for four beats. In the third measure, you put down your donut and play two G quarter notes, two beats of rest, and finally, the whole show ends in the next measure with a whole note A.
Chapter 6: Changing the Beaten Path 67
Rocking and resting.
Count: 1, 2, (3,4)
(1,2,3,4) 1, 2, (3,4) 1,2,3,4
Quarter rests and more
Composers also use rests to tell you to stop playing for the equivalent of. quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. Figure 6-4 shows you the musical squigglies that correspond to each of these resting periods.
Quarter, eighth, and sixteenth rests.
* 7 7
Quarter Eighth Sixteenth
rest rest rest
I like to think of the quarter rest as an uncomfortable-looking chair. Because its uncomfortable, you wont rest too long. In fact, you dont rest any longer than one beat in this chair.
The eighth rest and sixteenth rest are easy to recognize: They have the same number of flags although slightly different in fashion as their note counterparts. An eighth note and eighth rest each have one flag. Sixteenth notes and rests have two flags.
Quarter rests are easy to count they last only one beat. Eighth rests are a bit harder to count simply because they happen faster. When you play eighth rests, count out loud 1-and, 2-and, and so on. Doing so helps you place the eighth rests more precisely, and may even cause others to sing along.
Figure 6-5 gives you a chance to count out some quarter and eighth rests.
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
Sixteenth notes also have a corresponding rest, but these are very tricky to play, except at very slow tempos. Until you get into more advanced music, you really dont need to know much more about these rests than what they look like (refer to Figure 6-4).
For an example of how a composer incorporates all of the various-sized rests into one song, listen to Track 14. With so many rests, I call this one Waiting for a Note. The tunes still pretty catchy, though, dont you think? Play along when youre ready.