Lesson #041, Rhythm and Counting IV

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lesson #041, Rhythm and Counting IV

Hey All,

Lets talk a little bit about the half note. The Half note in music is equal to 2 beats in 4/4 time. This note is used a lot in Bluegrass by the Bass fiddle. Most every Bluegrass Band you see has that big Bass fiddle in it. That is for a very very good reason. The Bass is just like a time keeper. It is the sound that everyone else in the band builds from.

I would like you to experiment on you own now with the banjo and play two notes per measure over the guitar track that I put down for you. Remember, you are going to play the two notes on the count of 1 and 3. The one and the three being the down beast, just as the Bass would play.

So again...... there are 4 beats per measure in 4/4 time......If we use all the half notes we can fit into a measure, we will be playing a note twice for each measure. Remember the Half note is equal to 2 beats. 4 divided by 2 = 2.

Lets tap our foot now to the four beats ..... 1...our foot hits the floor. 2....our foot comes off the floor.....3...... our foot hits the floor again........ 4..... our foot comes off the floor again. This motion of your foot keeps going in a constant way until you are finished playing whatever it is you are playing. Now you can play the 2 notes per measure on the down beats of 1 and 3. Now you are playing what the Bass is playing in a Bluegrass band.

Its very important to listen to that Bass or tap your foot along to that sound in your head. The sound of the Bass is the Tree Trunk...... The rest of the instruments are the branches and even the leaves to fill the Tree out!

Rock On


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.