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Glossary of Guitar, Theory
and other Music terms

This is a work in progress. Skip to a particular letter by clicking on the links below:

A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z,0-9

Words included so far:

Accidentals, aeolian mode, alternate tuning, anchor, ascending line, barre, bending, capo, chord, chord diagrams, chord synonyms, chromatic positions, chromatic scale, consonnance vs. dissonance, descending line, diminished chord, dominant (note), dominant (function), dominant seventh chord, dorian mode, drone note, eighth-note, enharmonic equivalents , enharmonic tetrachord, finger names (picking hand), finger-per-fret rule, free and rest strokes, fret, gauge (string), glissando, half-note, half-step, harmony, interval, intervals, interval inversion, ionian mode, key-major, key-minor, key signature, lead patterns, licks, locrian mode, lydian mode, major chord, major scale, major seventh chord, melody, minor chord, minor scale, minor seventh chord, mixolydian mode, mode (of a scale), modulation, natural sign, no chord, noise, non-chordal tones, numbers, octave, omited notes, open chords, open notes, open strings, open positions, outside notes, pentatonic scale, pentatonic major scale, pentatonic minor scale, perfect octave, pitch, power chord, progression, pull-offs, quarter-note, relative major and minor, relative minor keys, rest, rest strokes, rhythm, roman numeral system, scale, seventh chord, sight reading, slash chord, slide, solfegio syllables, sound, standard tuning, step pattern, substitution, tab, tapping, tonal center, tone, tonic (note), tonic (function), transposition, trills, vamp, vibrato, voicings, whole-note, whole-step , zone (of the fretboard), 4/4, 3/4, 6/8



A

Accidentals

A symbol used to represent an effect on a pitch. Accidentals affect the pitch for the duration of the measure in which they occur, unless affected by another accidental. (see sharp, flat, natural, double sharp, double flat, key signature).

Aeolian mode

The 6th mode of the major scale. Also known as the minor scale.
(see THE minor scale)

Alternate Tuning

An alternate tuning is any tuning on the guitar other than EADGBE (refered to as Standard tuning).

Anchor

An anchor is placing your pinky (or thumb, yeah -it happens in bass playing), on the soundboard (front of the body).

Ascending line

An ascending line refers to a series of notes whose pitches are ascending.



B

Barre

A barre is the placement of a single finger across two or more strings thus playing multiple strings with one finger simultaneously.

Bending

Place your first finger on 5th fret, 2nd finger on 6th fret, and 3rd finger on 7th fret (all on the 3rd string). Press down, pluck 3rd string. While note is sounding, keep pressure on string and push string in the fret twords the lower strings. You've just bent a note. Using the first two fingers makes it easier to bend the string. After awhile you can do it without adding the first two fingers. Try bending (pushing the string) with the pinky also. It's kinda important when bending, to hit the target note (the note you're bending to).
Try this exercise:
  1. Play 3rd string 8th fret. Sing note. Keep it in your head.
  2. Fret guitar as above with three fingers on third string frets 5-7. Play 7th fret 3rd string.
  3. While playing 7th fret (3rd string) bend to the note you're singing. Release bend.
  4. Repeat, repeat, etc. get a feel for just how much you have to bend to bend a 1/2 notes distance.
  5. Play 3rd string ninth fret. Sing note. Keep in your head. Repeat step 2-4, but bend a whole step (to the sound of the 9th fret) instead. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Get a feel for bending a whole step.
  6. Repeat for m3 (3 half-steps= 3 frets above original note).

Often many licks bend one note while holding another (without bending it). Try these:

  1. Barre 1rst and 2nd strings 5th fret with 1rst finger. Place 3rd finger on 7th fret of 3rd string up 1 whole note (do not bend 1rst and 2nd strings).
  2. Place 1rst finger on 5th fret of 1rst string. Place 4th finger on the 8th fret of 2nd string. Play both notes, bend 2nd string up a whole-step. move both fingers up 2 frets and repeat.



C

Capo

A capo is a device attaced to the neck of a stringed instrument that places a pad down onto the fretboard/fingerboard, acting as a semi-permanent barre at the location.

Chord

We define a chord as a collection of notes (and their octaves) within a given octave to be played at the same time (though that need not be the case). Chords are harmonic structures of three or more pitches.

Chord Diagrams

Chord Diagrams are a way of explaining a chord in terms of where to place your fingers down on the fretboard and which strings to play. Tthere is a grid of lines (6 lines going in one direction for the 6 strings, and perpendicular lines representing fret bars).

Chord Synonyms

A chord synonym is a different name for the same tones.
C6=C,E,G,A; Am7=A,C,E,G. C6 and Am7 are chord synonyms for each other.

Chromatic positions (octave shapes)

"E-shape"
"E-shape" which has the 1 on the 6th,4th, and 1rst strings.
"D-shape"
we see that there is an octave between a note on the 4th string and a note on the 2nd string 3 frets higher than the original fret.
"C-shape"
There is an octave between any note on the 5th string and a note on the 2nd string 2 frets lower than the original note
"A-shape"
There is an octave between any note on the 5th string and a note on the 3rd string 2 frets higher.
"G-shape"
There is an octave between a note on the 6th string, and a note on the 3rd string 3 frets lower. There is an octave between a note on the 3rd string and a note on the 1rst string 3 frets higher. And also there is a distance of 2 octaves between any note on the 6th string and a note on the 1rst string in the same fret.

Chromatic scale

We shall define the chromatic scale as all of the notes in the twelve tone system (the western system we are discussing). To clarify, the chromatic scale contains every note on the fretboard (assuming that you're in tune in standard tuning, and there are no bent notes). to further clarify, there are 12 distinct notes within an octave given the names : A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab. The chromatic step pattern is :
1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2.

Consonnance vs: Dissonance

Consonnance - an interval is said to sound consonnant if it is pleasing to the ear.
Dissonance - an interval is said to sound dissonant if it is not (as) pleasing to the ear.



D

Descending line

A descending line refers to a sereies of notes whose pitches are descending.

Diminished chord

Now, a diminished chord is a chord that is made up of 3 notes (and their octaves). The three notes are the root note (1), the minor third (b3), and the diminished fifth (b5).

Dominant (note)

The dominant note is the perfect fifth above the root note (see Roman numeral system).

Dominant (function)

A chord that pushes the progression to return to the tonic (a perfect 4th higher). The most common example is V7-I, where the V7 is the dominant seventh leading to the tonic (I). Other chords could be substituted such as viio to perform the same function. One could use the dominant functionality of a chord to modulate keys, or shift tonal centers.

Dominant seventh chord (7,dom7)

The dominant seventh chord is defined as the following: 7=1,3,5,b7. It is naturally created by harmonizing the major scale in 3rds, and is found on the dominant degree of that scale.

Dorian Mode

The dorian mode is the 2nd mode of the major scale. It is a minor scale and contains the intervals 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7. Its step pattern is W-1/2-W-W-W-1/2-W. In the key of C, it would be the notes D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D.

Drone note

A drone note is a note in the bass that is sustained/maintained while melodies or chords move above it.



E

Eighth-note

An eighth-note is a duration lasting 1/2 beat. An eighth-note is the equivalent of half a quarter-note, and also equivalent to two sixteenth-notes.

Enharmonic (notes)/Enharmonic equivalents

Two notes are said to be enharmonic if they are different names for the same tone.
Ex. C# and Db are said to be enharmonic equivalents.

Enharmonic Tetrachord

The Enharmonic tetrachord is a tetrachord consisting of a ditone (two major tones) and two quarter tones.



F

Finger names (picking hand)

We give the fingers of the picking hand names and use their first letters as short hand. The names and correspondences are:
P for pulgar = Thumb
I for indicio = index finger
M for medio = middle finger
A for annular = ring finger
S for (?) = pinky finger

Finger per Fret rule

The finger-per-fret rule says that you number the finger on your right hand T(thumb),1,2,3,4. Then disregarding your thumb, if you have two notes to play simulataneously in the same fret, then the lower numbered finger goes to the lowest sounding string. And if you have notes in multiple frets, then the lowest numbered finger goes on the lowest fret. All the rest of the notes follow by adding fingers one at a time by the rule until you've completed the chord.

Free strokes and rest strokes.

Ok. Put your finger above or on the string you're going to play, play through the string. If your finger goes back into the air without hitting another string, it is called a free stroke. If upon going through the string, your finger stops on the next string, it is called a rest stroke. Rest strokes are often heard in classical music. Those people interested in learning classical guitar should find a flesh and blood teacher. There are many things not covered in books (a good classical book is "solo guitar playing" by Frederick Noad). For arpeggiating chords, etc. we're mostly concerned with free strokes.

Fret

A fret is the space between two fret bars, or between the nut and the first fret bar.



G

Gauge, string

String gauge refers to the measurement of the string's thickness/diameter.

Glissando (gl.)

Glissando is much like a slide (below), the difference being that there is a momentary pause at each chromatic note along the way. Let's tryt one.
  1. Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string. Play the note.
  2. While playing the note, without lifting the pressure off the string, move your finger from the 2nd fret to the 3rd fret momentarily pausing, then to the 4th fret (momentarily pausing), then to the 5th fret.



H

Half-note

A half-note is a duration lasting 2 beats. A half-note is the equivalent of half a whole-note, and also equivalent to two quater-notes.

Half-step

A half-step (1/2) as the smallest interval we will discuss. It is the distance between any note on the fretboard and the next fret up or down on the same string.

Harmony

Harmony is the effect of two or more simultaneously sounding tones. (harmony is when two or more notes sound at the same time).



I

Interval

An interval is the distance between two notes.

Intervals

The perfect intervals are Perfect unison, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, and perfect octave. (A unison is when you play two of the same note. Think relative tuning for an everyday example)
The major intervals are major 2nd, major 3rd, major 6th, major 7th.

Note: the perfect intervals (unison, 4th, 5th, 8ve) are never major, and the major intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th) are never perfect. ( you would never call an interval a perfect 3rd, or a major octave, etc. It's not done).

These names (P5, etc.) are intervallic names that are given to a note to tell its distance from a relative note (the 1). Since there are 12 notes in our system, and we compare all the notes against the major scale, we have the following names for the twelve notes/intervals in reference to the 1 note (tonic, root note). Multiple names for a note are enharmonic equivalents (different names for the same note). They show that there may be more than one context in which to view an interval.

Distance in 1/2 notes name
0 Perfect unison/augmented 7th/diminished 2nd
1 minor 2nd/augmented unison
2 major 2nd/diminished 3rd
3 minor 3rd/augmented 2nd
4 major 3rd/diminished 4th
5 Perfect 4th/augmented 3rd
6 augmented 4th/diminished 5th
7 Perfect 5th/diminished 6th
8 minor 6th/augmented 5th
9 major 6th/diminished 7th
10 minor 7th/augmented 6th
11 major seventh/diminished 8ve
12 Perfect 8ve/augmented 7th

Because these terms can be cumbersome, I shall use abbreviations in either letter/number combinations or number/accidental combinations. Below is the same chart as above but abbreviated.

0 PU/aug7/dim2 ; 1/#7/bb2
1 m2/augU ; b2/#1
2 M2/dim3 ; 2/bb3
3 m3/aug2 ; b3/#2
4 M3/dim4 ; 3/b4
5 P4/aug3 ; 4/#3
6 aug4/dim5 ; #4/b5
7 P5/dim6 ; 5/bb6
8 m6/aug5 ; b6/#5
9 M6/dim7 ; 6/bb7
10 m7/aug6 ; b7/#6
11 M7/dim8 ; 7/b8
12 P8/aug7 ; 8/#7

Careful examination of the names will show that there is a half-step-wise progression through the names. that is to say you can go by half-steps through dim4-P4-aug4 or dim3-m3-M3-aug3, etc. (amjor and minor never show up in a perfect interval, perfects never show up in a major/minor type interval.) we do not use names below diminished or above augmented.

Interval inversion

Some interesting properties happen in interval inversion. They are the following:

Perfect intervals invert to become perfect intervals
Major intervals invert to become minor intervals
Minor intervals invert to become major intervals
Diminished intervals invert to become augmented intervals
Augmented intervals invert to become diminished intervals
2nd intervals invert to become 7th intervals
3rd intervals invert to become 6th intervals
4th intervals invert to become 5th intervals
5th intervals invert to become 4th intervals
6th intervals invert to become 3rd intervals
7th intervals invert to become 2nd intervals
Octave intervals invert to become unison intervals
Unison intervals invert to become octave intervals
always.

Ionian mode

The first mode of the major scale. Also known as THE major scale (see THE major scale).



J



K

Key, Major

Now, we shall define a key as the collection of notes found in the major scale of the same name.

Key, Minor

Now, we shall define a minor key as the collection of notes found in the minor scale of the same name.

Key signature

is used in standard notation (after the clef, before the time signature) to tell the performer what key the music is in.



L

Lead patterns

By combining two or three shapes together we can come up with lead patterns ( a way of moving up and down the neck in a scale rather than just across the neck). So you could learn these as a way to travel between two unconnected shapes (just one example of their use).

Licks

A lick is a short melodic piece that is used in place of strumming or picking.

Locrian mode

Locrian is the 7th mode of the major scale, and contains the intervals 1,b2,b3,4,b5,b6,b7. Its Step pattern is 1/2-W-W-1/2-W-W-W. In the key of C, it contains the notes B,C,D,E,F,G,A,B. It is a diminished scale (contains the intervals 1,b3,b5).

Lydian Mode

The lydian mode is the 4th mode of the major scale, and contains the notes 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7. Its step pattern is WWW1/2WW1/2, in the key of C, it would be the notes F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F. It is a major scale (contains the intervals 1,3,5).



M

Major chord

Now, a major chord is a chord that is made up of 3 notes (and their octaves). The three notes are the root note (1), the major third (3), and the perfect fifth (5).

(a) Major scale

A major scale is a scale that contains a major chord built on its root note. In other words, the scale contains 1,3,5.

(THE) Major scale

THE major scale we are discussing (and everyone else talks about when they say major scale) also known as the ionian mode, contains the notes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. It's step pattern is W-W-1/2-W-W-W-1/2. In the key of C, it would be the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.

Major seventh chord

The major seventh chord is defined as the following: maj7=1,3,5,7. It is naturally created by harmonizing the major scale in 3rds, and is found on the tonic of that scale.

Melody

Melody is the succesion of pitches (melody is the way one note follows another).

Minor chord

Now, a minor chord is a chord that is made up of 3 notes (and their octaves). The three notes are the root note (1), the minor third (b3), and the perfect fifth (5).

(a) minor scale

A minor scale is a scale that contains a minor chord built on its root note. In other words, the scale contains 1,b3,5.

(THE) minor scale

THE Minor scale we are discussing (and everyone else talks about) contains the notes 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7. It's step pattern is W-1/2-W-W-1/2-W-W. In the key of Am, it would be the notes A-B-C-D-E-F-G.

Minor seventh chord (m7,-7,min7)

The minor seventh chord is defined as the following: m7=1,b3,5,b7.

Mixolydian Mode

The mixolydian mode is the 5th mode of the major scale, and contains the notes 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7. Its step pattern is WW1/2WW1/2W, in the key of C, it would be the notes G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G. It is a major scale (contains the intervals 1,3,5).

Mode

Let us define a mode as a scale within a family of scales that are related by their step patterns. We can derive the modes of a scale by moving the first step of a step pattern to the end, and repeating until we return to the first scale we started with.

Modulation

Modulation is the act of switching keys.



N

Natural sign

An accidental whose effect is to cancel any other accidentals affecting the pitch, whether from the measure or in the key signature.

No Chord

When written over a measure of music, there should be no chords played at the time. Many times there will be a melody being played. There could still be an arpeggio or ostinato, etc. but there should not be full chords being strummed during the measures until a chord symbolshows again.

Noise

we define a noise as extraneous unwanted aural perceptions, things that get in the way of sound (information) we are trying to hear.

Non-chordal tones

Tones not found within the chord in question.

Numbers

Last abstraction today: we will represent notes and intervals by numbers. The numbers 1-13 will be used. Numbers above seven will be the notes that are an octave above the notes 1-7. so a 9 = 9 - 7 = 2. ( 8=1, 9=2, 10=3, 11=4, 12=5, 13=6). The numbers 1 - 7 refer to the notes and intervals of the major scale. So in the key of C: C=1=8, D=2=9, E=3=10, F=4=11, G=5=12, A=6=13, B=7.
This leaves five more notes in the chromatic scale not accounted for. We shall use #'s and b's to describe these notes. So in the key of C, C# = #1,Db=b2, etc. By using numbers rather than letters, we can discuss chords, scales, progressions outside of the limitations of a key.



O

Octave

An octave is the interval between a note and the next note (up or down) with the same name. The octave is defined as the pair of pitches whose frequencies form the ratio of 2:1 (also known as a perfect octave).

Ommited notes

Ommited notes notes are notes that would normally be found in a context but are not to be played at this time. They are seen in chord symbols, as either (omit X), or (no X).
Ex. Cmaj11(no 5) would be a Cmaj11 chord without the P5.

Open Chords

Open chords are chords that contain open notes, usually in open position.

Open notes

Notes created by open strings.

Open strings

Open strings are strings that are not fretted (no fingers pressed down on the strings).

Open position

Open position is the zone of theck containg the open notes, and the first 4 frets.

Outside notes

Notes which do not normally occur with the context where one would find the chords in the progression the outside notes occur over.



P

Pentatonic scale

Now, a pentatonic scale is a scale made up of five distinct notes and their octaves. (Note: C is distinct from D, but C# is not distinct from Db.)

(a) Pentatonic major scale

So, a pentatonic major scale is a scale of five distinct notes with a major chord built on the 1. It is a five note scale with the notes 1,3,5, and any two other distinct notes.

(THE) Pentatonic major scale

THE pentatonic major scale we are discussing (and everyone else talks about) contains the notes 1,2,3,5,6. Its step pattern is W-W-m3-W-m3. In the key of C, it would be the notes C-D-E-G-A.

(a) Pentatonic minor scale

So, a pentatonic minor scale is a scale of five distinct notes with a minor chord built on the 1. It is a five note scale with the notes 1,b3,5, and any two other distinct notes.

(THE) Pentatonic minor scale

THE Pentatonic Minor scale we are discussing (and everyone else talks about) contains the notes 1,b3,4,5,b7. It's step pattern is m3-W-W-m3-W. In the key of Am, it would be the notes A-C-D-E-G.

Perfect octave

(see octave)

Pitch

Pitch is the highness or lowness of a sound.

Power chord

A power chord is the chord having the distinct notes 1,5,8(1). These notes being the root note (1), the perfect 5th (5), and the octave.
Power chords are denoted with a 5 after the letter name (and nothing else). Ex. C5 = C power chord, Eb5 = Eb power chord.

Progression

Now, we will define a progression as the pattern of movement from chord to chord. A progression tells uswhat chords are in a song, how they relate to a tonal center, and (in many cases) what order they appear in.

Pull-offs (p)

A pull-off is a form of a slur, performed on a string instrument. It is similar to a hammer-on but in a descending order.
Keeping your fingers down (1rst and 3rd fingers) on the 1rst string (5th and 7th frets respectively). Pick the note (3rd finger on 7th fret), then pull the 3rd finger off the string so that the new note sounds (1rst finger ,5th fret) without plucking the string a second time. There, you played a pull-off.



Q

Quarter-note

A quarter-note is a duration lasting 1 beat. A quarter note is the equivalent of half a half-note, and also equivalent to two eighth-notes.



R

Relative major and minor-

There are two terms used when comparing major and minor scales, relative and parallel.
Relative major and minor is when the two scales share the same (named) notes, but with different emphasis (different root notes).
Parallel major and minor is when both scales have the same root note.

Example: Parallel major and minor
C major and C minor both have the same root note (C) but the 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths are different.
C major = C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.
C minor = C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C.

Recall, that we've defined the major and minor scales as:
major = 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
minor = 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7

Example; relative major and minor
C major and A minor scales have the same (named) notes but different root notes.
C major = C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
A minor = A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A

Relative minor keys

The relative minor key of a major key shares the same relationship of the relative minor scale to the major scale. See relative minor scales.

Rest

A rest is a duration of silence. Also, the deliberate absence of sound in a particular voice.

Rest strokes

see free strokes

Rhythm

Rhythm is the aspect of music that deals with time.

Roman numeral system

The Roman Numeral System uses roman numerals to represent chords. It is similar to the intervallic notation we already use (1-7,#,b)with the following additions: we use
  1. Upper-case roman numeralsto represent major chords
  2. Upper-case roman numerals with a "+" in the superscript for augmented chords.
  3. Lower-case roman numerals for minor chords, and
  4. Lower-case roman numerals with a "o" in superscript for diminished chords.
  5. Extended chords use rules 1-4 for root chord (base triad) contained within them, and the extension added in superscript.

Roman numeral system

1 = Tonic
b2,2 = Supertonic
b3,3 = Mediant
4 = Sub-dominant
#4/b5 = Tritone
5 = Dominant
b6,6 = Sub-mediant
b7 = Sub-tonic
7 = Leading note
8 = Tonic



S

Scale

We define a scale as a collection of notes (and their octaves) within a given octave to be played one at a time(though you could play them in other ways).

(a)seventh chord

Now, let us define a seventh chord (any arbitrary seventh chord) as a 4-note chord (4 distinct notes) containing some form of the following notes: a root note, a third (of some sort), a fifth (of some sort), and a seventh (of some sort).

Sight reading

Sight reading is the term used for the ability to play unheard music from reading standard notation

Slash Chord

when you see a slash chord, it means play the top chord with the following note in the bass (ex. C/G - play a C major chord with a G in the bass).

Slide (sl.)

A slide is much like glissando (above), but there is no pause between starting point and destination.
  1. Place 2nd finger on 2nd fret of 3rd finger. Pluck note.
  2. Without releasing pressure on the string, move finger through the 3rd fret to the 4th fret (while string is sounding).

Solfeggio syllables

If you've ever sang Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do then you have sung a major scale. Do-Re-Mi-... are known as solfeggio syllables and are the system used in many countries outside the US (where I'm residing).

Sound

We will define sound as an aural perception created by vibrations through the air.

Standard tuning

(guitar) the tuning EADGBE.

Step pattern

We call a step pattern (of a scale) the particular pattern the notes of a scale create in a strictly ascending order.

Substitution

Substitution is the replacement of one chord with another chord.



T

TAB

short for tablature. A form of musical communication that predates standard notation. Horizontal lines represent strings. Numbers on lines represent frets at which fingers are to be placed to create the desired pitch.

Tapping (T)

A tap is basically a right-handed hammer-on. Place your first finger (left hand) on the 5th fretof the first string and tap your middle finger (of right hand) onto the 12th fret of the same string. You've just tapped.
Keeping those fingers there and using the left hand pinky for the 8th fret, try the following: tap onto the 12th fret, pull-off to the 5th fret, hammer-on to the 8th fret, and repeat. This sketches out an Am chord. It is helpful when tapping to be able to visualize chords and scales on a single string.

Tonal center

Let us define a tonal center as being a note ( and the chord built on it) which other chords in the tonal system want to resove to.

Tone

Tone is a sound of a specific pitch.
We often refer to notes rather than tones to desribe pitches (as well as durations). We understand that when we refer to notes in a melodic or harmonic context, we are actually talking about tones.

Tonic (note)

The tonic is the root note of a chord, scale, or key. It is also referd to as a root note or tonal center.

Tonic (function)

The tonic functionality is that of "being home". It is the point from which the progression leaves, and to which trhe cadence returns. there is a sense of relief when the progression returns to the tonic. Other chords could be substituted for the tonic (I), and would function in the same way (such as vi in a major key context).

Transposition

Transposition is a method of changing keys. If we have a melody or something in one key and we want to write it into another key (maybe you're transposing it for another instrument like a horn), we can do so by changing each note to the new key keeping the same intervals for each note.

Trills (tr)

A trill is kinda like putting the two (hammer-on and pull-off) together. To play a trill, place one finger down on a string then hammer-on to to another note and without plucking again, pull-off to the original note (and then hammer-on and pull-off and hammer-on and pull-off, etc. all without striking the string beyondthe first note). Trills are often played quickly.

Here is a trilling exercise to build endurance and muscle strength:

  1. Place your first finger on any fret (I suggest starting somewhere in the middle of the neck) on any string (I suggest starting on the thinner strings) then trill to the 2nd finger on the next fret up, for as long as your fingers can do it.
  2. Then keeping 1rst finger on same fret, trill to the 3rd finger two frets higher than 1rst finger, for as long as your fingers can. Repeat process for 1rst and 4th fingers (3 frets higher).
  3. Take the 1rst finger off, put 2nd finger down. trill from 2nd finger to 3rd finger (one fret higher), then trill from 2nd finger to 4th finger (two frets higher) then take 2nd finger off.
  4. Put 3rd finger down and trill from the 3rd finger to the pinky (one fret higher).
Work on maintaining an even rhythm while trilling, and the speed and endurance will come.



U



V

Vamp

A vamp is a repeated background pattern (progression, ostinato, etc.) that continues while waiting for a particular event to happen (such as a soloist to enter).

Vibrato (vib.)

Place your third finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd string. Strike the note, and with your third finger still playing the note, rock it (pivot it) back and forth along the string keeping it in the fret. This creates a little waver in the notes pitch. This is a vibrato. Vibratos are often heard when a note is being held for a long time or at the end of a melodic phrase.
Another type of vibrato is often heard where the finger is pushed and pulled to the side and brought back to the original note quickly and repeatedly. It is similar to bending (below) but is quick and usually in a small tonal range (less than a half-step). this later type of vibrato is heard in blues based musics (rock, jazz, etc.). The first type above is heard in classical musics. work on keeping your vibrato even.

Voicings

A voicing is the particular way tones are arranged in a chord, or other harmony.
Ex. Am7 = A,C,E,G.
Assuming no repeated tones, there are a number of ways that the tones can be arranged: A,C,E,G; A,C,G,E; A,G,C,E; A,G,E,C, etc.
Further, Those combinations could be spread among octaves in different ways. Adding in possible doublings, etc. of tones, we can come up with many ways of playing the tones required for the chord. The specific arrangement of tones is called its voicing.

Note: A particular voicing could be played in a couple of different ways on a guitar, and we typically refer to this as a fingering of the voicing, and not a different voicing. Voicings refer to the arrangement of tones, where fingerings refer to the placement of the fingers.



W

Whole-note

A whole-note is a duration lasting 4 beats. A whole-note is the equivalent of half a breve, and also equivalent to two half-notes.

Whole-step

We call the interval of two half-steps, a whole-step (W). In relation to a particular note on the fretboard, it is two frets above or below on the same string.



X



Y



Z

Zone (of the fretboard)

A zone of the fretboard is a particular area of the fretboard under consideration. There are many different zone approaches to fretboard understanding, including amoung others three-fingers-per-string systems, and open-chord based systems; as well as fret positions.



O - 9

4/4

Four-four time. Four equal beats to the measure. the first (or top) four means that there are 4 equal beats to the measure. The second (or bottom) four means that the quarter-note gets the beat.

3/4

Three-four time. Three equal beats to the measure. The first (or top) three means that there are 3 equal beats to the measure. The second (or bottom) four means that the quarter-note gets the beat.

6/8

Six-eight time. Six equal beats to the measure. The first (or top) six means that there are 6 equal beats to the measure. The second (or bottom) eight means that the eighth-note gets the beat.