“Fingerpicking Etude no. 29: Syncopation” – Rock Class 101

Below is the lesson for Fingerpicking Etude no. 29: “Syncopation”.

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Learn a beautiful sounding etude that strengthens your ability to play syncopated rhythms. To explain syncopation, let’s take a look at two bars which are played with quarter and eighth note strums.

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Listen to these 2 bars being played alongside a metronome in 4/4.

In bar 1, you strum a C chord on beats 1, 2, 3, 4. Pretty simple! This measure is not syncopated.

But in measure 2, you strum the C chord on the &’s of each beat. This measure is syncopated!

Syncopation means that we are accenting the weak beats (the &’s). This can be tricky because accenting weak beats doesn’t come as natural as accenting strong beats (1, 2, 3, 4). Therefore, I’d recommend tackling the syncopated bars ‘by ear’, but also ‘by counting’ the rhythms.

Playing by ear simply means to memorize the beats. In other words: if you can sing it, you can play it. Whereas counting rhythms requires an understanding of rhythmic notation.

If you really want to gain a thorough understanding of rhythmic notation, there is no better way than by learning to read standard notation.

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Part 2 – For Premium Members


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