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Piano for dummies - Neely B.

Neely B. Piano for dummies - IDG Books , 1991. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Dotted quarter notes
When you add a dot to the quarter note, you get a great hybrid note that lasts for 11 /2 beats. Because these notes equal V/2 beats, they nearly always require a dance partner, another eighth note, to finish out the second beat.
“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (Track 19) provides a classic example of the dotted-quarter-followed-by-an-eighth rhythm. Listen to it over and over until you get the feel and can’t help climbing on board.
Chapter 6: Changing the Beaten Path
Track 18
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Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
Track 19
/Ve Been Working on the Railroad
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1 I've been work- ing on the rail - road all the live - long
day
I've been work-ing on the rail - road just to pass the time a -
way
Can't you hear the whis - tie blow - in'?
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11 Rise up so ear - ly in the mom. —m Car is « m 't you hear the cap-tai n
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14 shout
nah, blow your
horn!"
Dotted eighth notes
The dotted eighth note equals 1 ‘/2 eighth notes, or three sixteenth notes.
As you know, it takes four sixteenth notes to make one quarter note (or one beat). So, a dotted eighth note usually attaches itself to a sixteenth note. What a leech! When this happens, the normal eighth note beam connects the two notes and the sixteenth note gets a shortened second beam.
You hear dotted eighth notes in all types of music, but especially dance tunes. Composer Stephen Foster made good use of this long-short, long-short rhythm in his classic tune “Swanee River.” Listen to Track 12 a couple of times before trying to play the new rhythm yourself.
Chapter 6: Changing the Beaten Path
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Bad musical joke
Q: What is Lawrence Welk's favorite rhythm? A: Polka-dotted eighth notes.
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper _
Playing Off the Beat
The beat may go on and on, but music can be quite dull if every note you play is on the beat. By changing up the rhythm a bit and playing some notes off, around, or in between the main beats, your songs take on a whole new life.
As you read the following sections about playing notes off the beat, tap your foot along to the examples. That way, even when you don’t play a note right on the beat, you won’t lose the beat.
It’s pure coincidence that all three of these rhythmic variations — swing, shuffle, and syncopation — start with the letter “S.” As lyricist Ira Gershwin might say, “’swonderful, ’smarvelous.” You’ll feel the same way, too, after knowing these “fascinatin’ rhythms.”
SiVing and shuffle time
I could write paragraphs and paragraphs expounding the virtues of the swing beat. However, I’ll spare you (and my editor) that little treat; the best way to understand a swing beat is to hear it.
Figure 6-10 shows four measures of music. I play these four measures twice on Track 21. The first time, I play it as written — straight quarter and eighth notes. The second time, I play the rhythm with a swing beat. The notes are the same, but with a slightly different, swingin’ feel.
Figure 6-10:
Swinging a straight beat.
Instead of straight eighth notes played as “1-and, 2-and,” you hear a long-short, long-short rhythm. The real way to notate this long-short rhythm is with a quarter-eighth triplet. (See Chapter 5 for more on triplets.) But rather than write a ton of triplets, the composer gives you a big “heads up” on the first measure telling you to “Swing,” either in plain English or with a little symbol like the one in Figure 6-11.
Chapter 6: Changing the Beaten Path
Figure 6-11:
The symbol for a swing beat.
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Like I said, the best way to understand the swing beat is to hear it. So popular is this classic American rhythm that it has its own type of bands and dance moves. Ever seen the movie Swingers? Ever heard the band Cherry Poppin’ Daddies? Both feature tons of music in a swing beat.
Although swing music is extremely popular, some temperamental rock stars find it just too uncool to write a 1920s word like “swing” on their great heavy metal anthems. So, another name is given to the exact same rhythmic feel... but don’t tell the egomaniacs it’s the same beat. Shuffle feel has the same long-short feel as swing, but this beat is more readily associated with — and accepted by performers of — rock and blues-style music.
Syncopation
One of the most common forms of playing off the beat is a little rhythmic concept called syncopation. To understand syncopation, you first have to get to know downbeats and upbeats.
Start tapping your foot to any beat, and count eighth notes “1-and, 2-and, 3-and, 4-and.” Every time your foot goes down to the floor you say a number; when your foot goes up you say “and.” in this example, the numbers are downbeats while the “ands” are upbeats. Get it? Your foot goes down on the downbeats, up on the upbeats.
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