Unlike many string instruments which use a bow to create a sound, guitars are played by plucking or strumming the strings on the instrument, which vibrate to create a sound. Chords are played when the guitarist holds their fingers down on more than one individual string to change its length, which in turn changes the frequency of the vibration created - in other words, it creates a different note. Performers often use guitar tabs, rather than sheet music, when learning music: this acts as a kind of 'map' to teach guitarists where to put their fingers on the strings.
This month, HBO released a new documentary about Kurt Cobain's life called Montage of Heck. Unlike past documentaries on the legendary guitarist and singer, this one highlights his humanity and shares perhaps the most intimate look at his life that his fans have ever had. Director Brett Morgan worked with Cobain's family, including his daughter Frances Bean Cobain, who provided home movies, photographs, and journals. At times funny and at other times deeply sad, Montage of Heck manages to gi … Read More
With just a little more music theory, you can learn to write simple songs with the chords you've just learned. The song would be in the key of C major (C, D, E, F, G, A and B). You can use the major chords for the I, IV and V notes and the minors for the II, III and VI notes. That means you can play a chord progression which uses all of the chords you've learnt, if you want to.
Another chord you come across every day, the E major chord is fairly straightforward to play. Make sure your first finger (holding down the first fret on the third string) is properly curled or the open second string won't ring properly. Strum all six strings. There are situations when it makes sense to reverse your second and third fingers when playing the E major chord.
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A capo (short for capotasto) is used to change the pitch of open strings. Capos are clipped onto the fretboard with the aid of spring tension, or in some models, elastic tension. To raise the guitar's pitch by one semitone, the player would clip the capo onto the fretboard just below the first fret. Its use allows players to play in different keys without having to change the chord formations they use. For example, if a folk guitar player wanted to play a song in the key of B Major, they could put a capo on the second fret of the instrument, and then play the song as if it were in the key of A Major, but with the capo the instrument would make the sounds of B Major. This is because with the capo barring the entire second fret, open chords would all sound two semitones (aka one tone) higher in pitch. For example, if a guitarist played an open A Major chord (a very common open chord), it would sound like a B Major chord. All of the other open chords would be similarly modified in pitch. Because of the ease with which they allow guitar players to change keys, they are sometimes referred to with pejorative names, such as "cheaters" or the "hillbilly crutch". Despite this negative viewpoint, another benefit of the capo is that it enables guitarists to obtain the ringing, resonant sound of the common keys (C, G, A, etc.) in "harder" and less-commonly used keys. Classical performers are known to use them to enable modern instruments to match the pitch of historical instruments such as the Renaissance music lute.
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