what's the difference between a tied rhythm and a rest when playing the guitar

Discussion in 'String Theory' started by Guitar1969, Nov 22, 2008.

    Nov 22, 2008
  1. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    I know this may seem like a silly question, but bear with me for a minute. In addition to my other studies I have been working through your foundations book to fill in any gaps and I'm at the section that discussed tied note/rhythms and it got me starting to think. I know tied rhythms may have a different effect when speaking about other instruments(with different sustaining capability - like wind instruments) and notation, but for guitar lets say I have a 4/4 measure that has 3 quarter notes in a row, with the 4th beat being a rest(not played), and then the quarter notes start up in the next measure , so basically you have a rest on the 4th beat of the first measure. When playing this on guitar, once I play that 3rd beat, my guitar is going to sustain(Especially with distortion), through that 4th beat, and then I am going to hit another note on the first beat of the second measure.

    So then on a tied rhythm, we are supposed to hit the first note and not hit another note throughout the tied note, basically sustaining through the 2 tied notes, until we get to the the note following.

    Am I not understanding how these 2 notations are different - Won't they sound the same on a guitar, and aren't they played the same. Am I not understanding something on this.

    Thanks fo clarifying,
  2. Nov 22, 2008
  3. Help!I'maRock! Radical Sandwich Anarchist

    just because you're letting the note sustain doesn't mean you're resting. the tie is there so that you can let the note sustain longer than a bar. if there was a rest there, you would be muting the guitar so that no sound comes out at all.
  4. Nov 22, 2008
  5. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    Thanks for responding. I had thought about that originally as well, but muting a note is a specific technique but not necessarily the only way to play though a missing note(It can be if you want to)- I was thinking in the context of an acoustic guitar how it rings for a length of time but not a really long sustain(like distortion). To give an example from Foundations of how they would sound the same, look at example 8 on page 31- Measure 1 and then Measure 7 - they both sound the same at least through the measure. Now I do notice in Foundations that the tied notes only tie from one measure to another, but couldn't you also start a measure with something such as a skipped 8th note(so you have total of 7 8th notes in a measure not having one at the beginning) or would that never be the case and a tied note would need to be there. Now I know on other instruments such as a keyboard you would have more control over the note length(You could hold a note easily) so tied notes would be more relevant, but on an acoustic guitar where its difficult to control the sustain, I'm not seeing the distinction between the 2.

    I'm sorry for all these questions but I am really trying to get a better handle on notation and this has had me stumped for quite awhile now(I just remembered it again as I go through this book).
  6. Nov 22, 2008
  7. Mark Wein :mad:

    Hey there!

    It looks like you've got it covered but I'd like to add one more thing.

    Think of any note as having 3 components.

    The "Attack" - this is where you pick or cause the note to sound

    The "Body"
    - this is where you are actually hearing the note sustain

    The "Release" - this is where the note actually starts.

    Check out the first measure in Ex. 8 below:


    The half note is "attacked" on beat one.

    The "body" of the half note sounds through beats one and two.

    The "release" is actually when you would count three.  If you had two half notes in a row in that measure the release would be accomplished by picking the next note.  In this case you need to either stop the note from sounding by releasing your fretting finger pressure just enough to stop the note (but not totally off the string since that might sound an unintentional note during the rest).  For an open string you would need to either stop the note with your picking hand or fretting hand...whichever makes more sense physically in your musical context.

    The release is the part that most guitarists don't play correctly...they get the note started and forget about finishing it... smi

    The tied rhythm (like Help!imarock mentioned) is usually used to let a note sustain across a bar line although it can be used within a measure if you are trying to keep the rhythmic notation tidy by beaming all of the subdivisions together....
  8. Nov 22, 2008
  9. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    Thanks - I think I have a better handle on it now
  10. Nov 22, 2008
  11. Mark Wein :mad:

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