What The F? 3/4 time

Master the ba­sics of this easy time sig­na­ture com­plete with rhythm and lead tab ex­am­ples

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

1 4/4 time

4/4 is the most com­mon time sig­na­ture in mu­sic. The first ‘4’ tells you there are four beats in ev­ery bar of mu­sic; the sec­ond ‘4’ tells you each beat has a quar­ter-note rhythm. Un­less the mu­sic you’re play­ing has lots of stop-start rhythms you should be able to count to four to stay in time. Re­mem­ber, 4/4 still al­lows there to be more than four notes or strums – you might need to count ‘1 & 2 & 3 & 4&’ to in­clude eighth notes for ex­am­ple.

2 3/4 time

If you un­der­stand 4/4 then 3/4 should be easy be­cause mu­sic in this time sig­na­ture sim­ply has three quar­ter-note beats in each bar in­stead of four. Gen­er­ally, the first beat of the bar is ac­cented, so, if you’re count­ing ‘1 2 3’to stay in time, just make notes on the ‘1’ a bit louder. The notes shown here are the kind of notes you’ll see pre­sented in tra­di­tional mu­sic no­ta­tion.

3 lead lick

/4 is a sim­ple time sig­na­ture – with three pulses in each bar, count to three along with the mu­sic to get the tim­ing down. A kick-snare-snare drum­beat out­lines the 3/4 feel in El­liott Smith’s Waltz#2, with chord changes on beat 1 of each bar un­der­pin­ning the groove. The verse in Freeme by Foo Fight­ers has a sim­i­lar feel but with an em­pha­sis on beat 3 from a ring­ing gui­tar chord. The Bea­tles’ Nor­we­gian­wood achieves its 3/4 feel with Mc­cart­ney and Har­ri­son’s gui­tars ac­cent­ing bass notes on beat 1 and strik­ing other notes on beats 2 and 3.

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