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D Third Fret Metric Pulses in 4/4

If we continue to follow the musical alphabet downward, we arrive at the pitch D, which is just below the pitch E in the alphabet. Since the pitch E is played open, we can't play a lower pitch on string number 1, so to continue playing through the musical alphabet, we have to move over to string number 2.

Find string number 2 on your guitar and place the third finger of your fretboard hand just behind fret number 3. You should be pressing down with your fingertip, and your finger should be well arched.

The note you are holding is D Third Fret.

The note D is written on the fourth line of the staff.

While you are holding D Third Fret, let's play through some musical examples.


These practice measure contain familiar rhythm. The symbols for picking direction and the numbers for counting with the meter are included as reminders while you play.

Metric Pulses in 4/4

There is a common arrangement of strong and weak pulses that define the metric nature of music played in 4/4 time. Beat number 1 is the strongest pulse, beat number 2 is weak, beat number 3 is a medium pulse, and beat number 4 is weak.

A graphic of Beat pulses in 4/4 meter might look like this:

Practice Measure 1

As you play measure 1, use exaggerated dynamics to bring out the common arrangement of pulses more clearly. Even though each of the quarter notes will ring for the same duration, play beat number 1 with the greatest force, play beat number 2 softly, play beat number 3 with medium force and play beat number 4 softly.

Metric pulses in music are usually more subtle, but practicing in this way will help you understand the nature of 4/4 meter.

Practice Measure 2

Measure 2 has a rhythm that you may be able to hear, even before you play the music Try to hear the rhythm before you play the notes.

If you can hear this pattern in your head, then you are already building a rhythmic memory with the written music.

Practice Measure 3

The picking symbols in measure 3 are a reminder to maintain an alternate picking motion, even though the pick does not strike the string on beats 2 and 4.

Play measure 3 and pass over the string as you pivot your wrist upward on beats 2 and 4. Let each of the half notes ring for a full two beats. Now we'll remove the measure numbers and change the double barlines to single barlines.

Play this complete line of music from start to finish. Did you notice that as you approached the end of the piece, the rhythm became sparse?

At first, a note sounded every beat, until beat 3 of the second measure, where a note sounded every two beats, and even though the tempo remained constant, the change in rhythm suggested that the music was slowing down.

Rhythmic change like this one will often appear at the end of a section of music and may often be clearly heard at a cadence. Some musical sections will display the opposite effect, having a rhythm that suggests a quickening pace.

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