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Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio
These three folk songs will teach you basic timing for songs. The first folk song
"Some Folks Do" teaches you whole, half, and quarter notes. In the second folk
song "Skip To My Lou" you  learn about eight notes. Finally in the last folk song
"Tom Dooley" you learn about syncopation. This is only the beginning of the
many things you have to learn about time in music but it's a good start. You will
also learn about the best way to show music for the guitar, musical notation
plus tab. These are all two chord songs in the key of C, so you will learn the C
and G7 chord in first position. For your bass player we will discuss the bass
line. There is no drum as folk trios often didn't use one. The song will play
once. To play it again click on the player once to activate it and then on the
play arrow to play it as often as you would like.
Musical Notation For Guitar
As we can see by looking at the treble clef staff for guitar this creates a problem. The
notes below the staff are not used for melody. They are used for bass notes for chords
and are easier to figure out. The notes above the staff are more of a problem. We
haven't even shown them all. For a 24 fret electric guitar, we could add four more.
Because guitar music is written an octave higher, all the music that advanced guitarist
play is on ledger lines above the staff. No wonder a lot of guitarist never learn to read
music. The guitar offers one more note reading challenge. The guitar has the same
notes in more than one place. In advanced guitar playing, you play them in those
different places. There is an answer. There is a system for guitar, that shows you exactly
where a note is to be played. It's called tablature or tab. In the free guitar lesson one,
Guitar Basics, I introduced tab, without time. The major advantage of musical notation is
that it not only shows you what to play but also gives you the time or rhythm of your
music In this lesson I will expand your knowledge of how to use tab.  I will be showing you
how to add the time information to a tab system,
Lead sheets With Tablature
The best way to give you the timing is to use music notation with tab. Below is an
example of a lead sheet with guitar tab. It even includes fret diagrams and chord names
for the rhythm guitar player. The lead sheet gives you the timing of the notes. The tab
shows you where to play them on the guitar. You could play the notes just from the lead
sheet but as you will find out later, this melody could be played in different places on the
guitar. The tab shows you exactly where to play it. For this simple melody, it doesn't
seem to make that much of a difference but when you get into serious guitar playing, you
will appreciate the advantages of tab. The tab represents the six strings of the guitar with
the lowest string on the bottom. I've labeled the strings for this example but usually they
won't be labeled for you. You have to learn them. The vertical lines are bar lines just like
on the lead sheet. They divide the tab into measures that match the measures of the
lead sheet. The numbers are on the string you are to play and tell you which fret to play.
The 0 means the open e or first string in the first measure. The second measure is the
third fret on the first string. In the third measure, it's the first fret on the first string
followed by the third fret on the b or second string.
Tablature With Time
Tab without music is very popular with guitarist. There is a lot of it posted on the Internet.
A lot of it is does not show the timing. It assumes that the player just wants to know where
on the guitar to play it and can get the timing by listening. There are two ways to show
time with tab. My tab generating system with time, just adds stems and flags to the
numbers. If you don't know what stems and flags are, go to free music lesson eight,
Timing The Notes, to learn about the timing aspect of music notation. For quarter notes
and notes shorter than quarter notes, it works quite well. For notes longer than quarter
notes, you have to go by how much time is left in the measure. Look at the Skip To My  
Lou example below. The four over four tells us, it's one beat to a measure with a quarter
note getting one beat. In the first measure we have four notes with stems. That tells us
that we have quarter notes with one to a beat. In the second measure we have two notes
with a common flag. That tells us they are eight notes with two on one beat.  That leaves
three beats in the measure. With two notes with stems one has to be a half note held for
two beats and the other one is a quarter note held for one beat. If you listen to the midi,
you know that the first one is the quarter and the second one is the half. There is an
easy way to fix it, so you don't even have to hear the song to learn it. Circle the numbers
of any note longer than a quarter note. If it has a stem it's a half note held for two beats.
If it has no stem than it's a whole note held for four beats. Also now you will know which
note in the measure is the half note. Below the Skip To My Lou example I am showing the
tab for the first three measures of Some Folks Do in two ways. You can see that by
putting a circle around the notes longer than a quarter note, you can clearly see what
note is the half note in the third measure
Fret Diagrams  
Fret diagrams show how to finger a chord on the guitar. Like notes on the guitar, the
chords for guitar can be played in a number of places. You will find that to get the right
notes into the same chord, like a C major for instance, the fingering also changes. The C
major and G 7th that we are showing are first position chords. They use both fingered
and open strings. The fret diagram for first position has a slightly thicker horizontal line
on top to represent the guitar nut. Then you have five horizontal lines for frets one
through five. The six vertical lines represent the strings. The thinnest highest 1st string in
on the right working to the fattest lowest 6th string on the left. The first picture below
shows first position on the guitar in the same orientation as a fret diagram. The letters
above the horizontal rectangle, which represents the nut are the open strings notes. It
also shows all the natural notes in first position. Fret diagrams are shown in this same
orientation. There is an  x is over strings that you don't play. There is an 0 over strings
that are meant to be played open. The black dots are on the frets that are to be fingered
with the numbers for the fingers to be used at the bottom of the diagram. The fret
diagrams over lead sheets and tab often don't have the numbers because the guitar
player is very familiar with the chords and doesn't need them.  The finger numbers could
also be on top with the X's and 0's.
Using Tab With Lead Sheets
We are going to use tab with lead sheets to learn the three songs of our "Three Folk
Songs For Guitar Trio" We will be learning how to use tab with music notation. We will of
course be learning how to play the songs. Also we will be learning some basic music
notation timing. The first song in the trio "Some Folks Do" introduces whole notes, half
notes and quarter notes. The second song in the trio "Skip to my Lou" introduces the
eight note. The last song in the trio introduces syncopation. With our understanding of
how music works, I will discuss the theory behind the songs. Finally I will give you a
rhythm track, so that you can play the melody to the songs with rhythm backup.
©2007 - 2008
Music For Guitar
Using The Lessons
clef grand staff just like piano and keyboard music . It is not.
Instead it is shifted up an octave so that middle c is in the third
space from the bottom of the treble clef staff instead of one
ledger line below the treble clef staff. This is because many
guitar players have traditionally played in the easy first
position, in the first three frets of the guitar. With this notation,
except for the bass notes most of the notes they use are on
the staff. The treble clef  staff to the right shows where middle
c and the open strings are noted for the guitar. If you buy
music arranged for the guitar, any guitar method book for
instance, this is how it will be displayed. This is an octave
higher then where they are noted on the more common vocal
piano music. Be aware of this difference as you use music.
When you play music written for piano on the guitar, it
will sound an octave lower. When you play music
written for guitar on the piano, it will sound an octave
higher.
High Notes And Low notes
People that come to these pages through search engines enter on different pages. I
would recommend that to get the full benefit of these music lessons, especially if you are
a beginner,  you visit every page at least once. This is a totally new approach to learning
music. The focus is on "
How Music Works". That page that you miss could be the one
that contains the key information, that you need. These pages are full of music tips and
music info that you probably won't find anywhere else. For these beginning guitar
lessons, you should at least have reviewed free music lessons one through five. They
are  
Music Is Easy, Schools Of Music, Natural Music Tones, Sharps And Flats, and  
Musics Great Secret. These five lessons reveal the great secret about music that makes
learning to play any instrument easy. These pages focus on keyboards as a teaching
tool. However even if you want to focus on guitar, you should become familiar with
keyboards and you definitely need to know the secrets of "
How Music Works" to make
learning the guitar easy. You can click on the links here or in the navigation bar on the
left. To get back here click on "
Music For Guitar" in the navigation bar of the page
you're on.
No circles on longer
notes make it hard
to tell where the half
note is
With circles on
longer notes make it
easy to tell where
the half is.
Music Notation
In this lesson, I am going to show you how to use tab with time music notation with tab to
learn music for the guitar. That requires that you have some knowledge of music
notation. I've covered that subject in free music lessons six through nine. They are

Reading Music Is Easy
, What's That Note, Timing The Notes, and Piano, Guitar, Voice.
You can click on the links here or in the navigation bar on the left. To get back here click
on "
Music For Guitar" in the navigation bar of the page you're on. If you are not
already familiar with music notation, you need to study those pages. I also compare the
musical ranges of the piano, guitar and the male and female voices. Free music lessons
six through nine have all that and more.
Two Chord Songs
The simplest songs can be backed up with only two chords. One is the tonic major built
on the first note of the scale. So for a song in the key of C that would be C. The other
chord is the dominant 7th built on the fifth note of the scale. So for the key of C that
would be G7. The notes in C major are c-e-g. The notes in G7 are g-b-d-f. In free music
lesson five,
Musics Great Secret, I explain the theory of two chord songs and the theory
and spelling of chords. You can go there by clicking on the link here or in the navigation
bar. You can get back here by clicking on "
Music For Guitar" in the navigation bar
there. We are also going to learn how to back up our folk songs with these two chords in
the next lesson but first the melody. On a lead sheet the chords, with or without the fret
diagrams are found above the music as shown in our lead sheets below. We don't need
to spell out the rhythm, as the keyboard or rhythm can choose their own, out of the many
they've mastered.
Some Folks Do
This song uses only five notes. They are the first five notes of the scale, do, re, me, fa,
so. For the key of C, that is c-d-e-f-g. We get what note to play from the tab but the
timing from the music notation. The time signature tells us that a measure has four beats
and that a quarter note gets one beat. So in the first measure we have four quarter
notes one to a beat or tap of our foot. In measure two, we have a whole note held four
beats. In measure three we have quarter notes on the first two beats, followed by a half
note held for the last two beats. The song continues with the same type of timing. It is
important when you look at a song to understand what notes it uses out of the scale, in
this case the first five and then timing from the note style. The paragraph earlier in this
lesson on musical notation, tells you where to get detailed information on reading music.
Below the lead sheet, there is a sound sample of the melody. Learn to play the melody of
this song as well as the two that follow and you will then be able to play lead for the
"Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio". I will be giving you the back up track to play to.
Skip To My Lou
This song uses the same five notes that "Some Folks Do" uses plus one more. When it
changes to the G7 chord, it uses the note just below do or ti. For the key of C, that's the
note b. It also uses half notes and quarter notes but it introduces one more time element,
the eight note. We see this first in the second measure. We have a quarter note on the
first beat. On the second beat we have two eight notes. You play one as your foot taps
down and one as your foot comes back. The count is (2 and) or (2 +). Finally on three
you begin your half note and hold it through beat four. It's the flag that tells you it's an
eight note. Eight notes can have a common flag or an individual flag. In this case it's a
common flag. In the next song "Tom Dooley", we will see the use of an individual flag.
Three times the eight notes are the same note repeated but in the seventh measure, it's
two different notes.  It is important when you look at a song to understand what notes it
uses out of the scale, in this case it's the first five plus the note just below the first. You
get the timing from the note style. The paragraph earlier in this lesson on musical
notation, tells you where to get detailed information on reading music. Below the lead
sheet, there is a sound sample of the melody. Learn to play the melody of this song as
well as "Some Folks Do" and "Tom Dooley" and you then will be able to play lead for the
"Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio". I will be giving you the back up track to play to.
Tom Dooley
This song is a five note song but it uses a very different five notes. It uses the pentatonic
major scale. As we will learn in a future lesson, the pentatonic major and pentatonic
minor scales have the same notes. They just emphasise a different note.  For the key of
C the notes are c-d-e-g-a, always ending or resolving on c. For the relative a minor
pentatonic, the notes are a-c-d-e-g, always ending or resolving to a. Pentatonic scales
are a mainstay of rock and blues. The second thing that we learn from this song is
syncopation. Syncopation is when notes come in on weak beats. Look at the first
measure of "Tom Dooley". The second note comes in on the and or upbeat of the first
count. Then it is held through the second down beat. The third note comes in the and or
up beat of the second count. The song finishes with quarter notes on beats three and
four. Here you see the use of the individual flag on the eight note. This syncopation is
repeated throughout the song. Songs today are highly syncopated. People can hear and
sing syncopated songs easily but if you've never heard a song, it makes reading the
music a challenge. It is important when you look at a song to understand what notes it
uses out of the scale, in this case it's the pentatonic scale. You get the timing from the
note style. The paragraph earlier in this lesson on musical notation, tells you where to
get detailed information on reading music. Below the lead sheet, there is a sound sample
of the melody. This is the final song in the series. Learn to play it as well as the other two
and you then will be able to play lead for the "Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio". I will be
giving you the back up track to play to.
Playing The Songs
Now you can learn to play the melody for these songs. They have been chosen to teach
you about notes that different songs use. They were also chosen to take you through the
music notation for basic timing into syncopation. Also the whole lesson teaches you
about using tab with music notation. There is a lot to learn in this free guitar lesson. The
accompaniment midi for "Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio" is below. It has the guitar
chord strum and bass. Click on it once to activate it and then on the play arrow to play. It
starts with the melody of the last two measures of "Some Folks Do" so that you can get
ready to play. You must start playing "Some Folks Do" on the first beat of the third
measure.  The last measure of "Some Folks Do" has only chords and bass on the first
three beats, with the last beat silent so you know where the song ends. In the very next
measure you begin playing "Skip To My Lou". It's last measure ends the same way so
that you know when to start playing "Tom Dooley". It's last measure ends the same way
and you start over with "Some Folks Do". This accompaniment midi will play through four
times but the lead in melody will only play the first time. You can play guitar to it, sing to it
or play any other instrument to it. Remember, it's in the key of C.
Playing Chords
The next free guitar lesson will focus a lot more on playing guitar chords for rhythm
accompaniment but for starters lets look at the two that have been introduced in this
lesson. They are the tonic major and dominant 7th for the key of C. The tonic major for
the key of C is of course C major. Simple triads or three note majors go by just the letter.
If you see the letter C, it is understood to be C major. The dominant 7th or V7 chord built
on the fifth degree of a scale always has the 7 after the letter. This is a four note chord.
You spell out both the chords by taking every other note. C is c, e, g and G7 is g, b, d, f.
There are many songs, like those in this lesson, that just use just the tonic major and
dominant 7th chords, otherwise known as I, V7 songs. I have repeated the fret diagrams
for these chords below with a brief discussion of how the play them. Using your lead
sheets for your songs above, practice singing the melody, while you strum the chords.
I've also given you a midi of the song "Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio" without the
rhythm guitar, so you can practice that part. It starts with two measures of lead in melody
and bass so that you can get ready to play. Click on the player once to activate it so that
you can use the controls. Click on the play arrow to play. Practice playing your guitar
part to the sound sample below. Strum on the quarter beat and leave the 4th beat silent
at the end of each individual song in the set.
Notice how C and G7 are exactly the
same shape and use the same
fingering. To go from C to G7, you
move fingers 2 and 3 down to the two
lowest strings and finger 1 up to the
first string. To go back to C just bring
them back. Practice switching
between the two chords, until you
can do it quickly and smoothly.
Playing Bass Guitar
The strings of the bass guitar or electric bass are tuned to the same notes as the lowest
four strings of the guitar but an octave lower. See the little insert on the "Tom Dooley"
bass tab graphic below, that shows the letter names and numbering of the strings. The
bass line for "Three Folk Songs For Guitar Trio" Uses just the 1st and 5th note of each
chord, also called the root and 5th. So for the C chord that's c and g. For the G7 chord
the 1 and 5 or root and 5 are g and d. But to avoid repeating the same note on two
consecutive beats, we reverse the order playing d and g or 5 and 1. For contrast with the
steady strum on every beat of the chords, we are playing the bass notes on beats 1 and
3. This makes them two beat half notes. Except on the last measure of each individual
song, we play the root of the C chord c, on the quarter beats 1.2.3. We rest or stay silent
on beat 4. I show the bass tab for the last song of the trio "Tom Dooley" below. Notice
how when it first gets to the G7 chord, I use the open D string. I did that just to show you
that you could play it there. It is preferred to play all fingered strings and so to play the d
on the 5th fret of the third string A . For this you would use the 1st finger on third frets
and the 3rd finger on 5th frets. I don't show the bass line for all three songs as they are
played much the same. Just change your bass notes with the chord changes. Follow the
lead sheets just like the rhythm guitar. Below the tab is a midi minus the bass part so that
you can play along. It has two intro measures with melody and strums, so that you can
get ready. Click on the player once to activate the controls.
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Learn to play like Eric Clapton, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
and Bob Dylan in a fraction of the time it would take you
with regular guitar lessons. Let us help you. Get more free
lessons or for less then the cost of a couple of  private
lessons, a complete comprehensive guitar course
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