Mandolin Self Instructor, online tutorial - Page 17

A simplified self learning system for the Mandolin with tuning instruction, song folio, chord diagrams, sheet music and PDF for printing. By ZARH MYRON BICKFORD

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Should the second of the pair of strings occasionally be missed on the up stroke, it need cause no concern, since the
two strings are always to be considered as one, and the missing of one of the pair is partly compensated by the fact that
if the strings are perfectly in tune, the second will vibrate in sympathy with the first, and also by the fact that up strokes
are, as a general rule, on 'unaccented or rhythmically less important notes than the down strokes. Many of the great-
est virtuosos, soloists and authorities, both in this country and in Europe openly advocate the striking of but a single
string on the up stroke. The author would suggest, however, the above method as being most nearly ideal.
When the tremolo on two or more strings is studied, the pick must necessarily strike both strings of the pair on the
up as well as the down stroke, but the slight angle at which the pick is held for work on single strings ceases to be neces-
sary at that time, since it would be inconvenient to always rest the pick against an adjacent string.
Music is distinguished from unrelated and isolated tones by the grouping together of these tones in pleasing and rhyth-
mical combinations. Rhythm itself is the "movement imparted by the alternating of accented and unaccented tones in
regular order." This rhythm or regularly recurring beat is the underlying principle of all music and its development
and constant application should be the first care of the student. For the purpose of developing and keeping this steady
rhythm it is essential that the various Studies and Exercises be counted, preferably aloud, in the earlier stages of advance-
This counting must not be done in a haphazard manner, suiting the counts to the difficulties or convenience of the
fingers, but must be as precise and regular as the tick of a clock. It is suggested that, as a preliminary study for the
development of a steady rhythm, the counting be done in connection with the ticking of a clock, the ticks which come on
the second being taken as beats or counts.
In counting "one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four," the words should be spoken in a quick, energetic manner,
the pulse actually being jell inside, like a heart beat.
Another method of developing a strict sense of rhythm, time, pulse, counting, or whatevername may be given it,
is to actually walk about the room, making each step as decisive and regular as though marching to the music of a band.
The counting is done with each step, as with the ticks of the clock, and in the same energetic, snappy mannerónot draw-
ling the words, but snapping them out with a strong impulse.
Tapping the foot lightly on the floor, or tapping with a pencil can also be utilized in the same manner. In all these
methods the pulse must be felt and projected very strongly menially, the physical motions being merely aids to the men-
tal impulse or thrust. For the purpose of assisting the eye in reading music and showing the strong accents, the notes
are divided into small groups called measures, these measures, like the inches on a yard stick, being of exactly the same length,
in seconds, during the course of any particular composition.
The length and character of the measures or groups is indicated by the figures in the shape of a fraction, placed at
the beginning of the staff, after the clef sign.
> This fraction or Time Signature, indicates, by its lower figure, the kind of notes to be taken as the beat ox count,
and by the upper figure, how many of these notes are used in the group or measure. Thus the 4/4 in the following ex-
ample shows that there are to be jour quarter notes, or their equivalent in other notes or rests, to each measure. The
letter C is often used in place of the figures 4/4, this being knowmas Common Time or measure. This particular time or
measure is known in Italy as tempo ordinario (ordinary time).
The letter C is a modernized form of the semi-circle (() of the ancient "measured music," in which it signified the
division of a whole note into two half notes, in contra-distinction to a certain kind of measure, formerly used, in .which
the whole note was equal to three half notes. The perpendicular lines crossing the staff and dividing it into measures,
are bars, although the measures themselves are frequently, though improperly, called "bars" in modern usage.
The heavy double bars at the end are used to indicate the close of a piece or movement and also to indicate the division
into sections of parts.
"Keep time. How sour sweet music is when time is broke and no proportion kepi."óShakespeare.
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