Rests And Bar Lines

The Orderly Presentation Of Silence And Sound

Music has been defined as the orderly presentation of silence and sound. In other words, silence is as much a part of music as is sound. In terms of reading and writing music, the symbols used for notating exact amounts of silence are called rests.


A Rest Calls For An Exact Amount Of Silence

For every type of note, such as a half note, whole note, or quarter note, there is a symbol for an equivalent amount of silence called a rest. Use the graphic organizer below to familiarize yourself with different types of rests.


Of course, there a few little memory tricks to keep up your sleeve: the whole rests looks like a hole that our friendly fellow below is just about to step in. A half rest resembles the type of hat usually favored by snowmen. For the quarter rest, you may have to use you imagination a little bit to see the internationally known body language sign for ‘be quiet’, or ‘shhh”!



Having already established here a system of working and learning, any new material will seem easy and will quickly become familiar. That having been said let’s return to reading and understanding new rhythms on one string. Below are some studies based on easy and common rhythms which employ rests. In other words, permutations based on our expanded set of musical characters which now includes whole rests, half rests, dotted half rests and quarter rests.

Studying rhythmic permutations until you have exhausted all possibilities means you are doing the real work, the heavy lifting. In this way your studies become interesting and thought-provoking instead of a chore, instead of the drudgery of suffering through the boring music out of those same old, outdated music store books.
What is interesting about the first three exercises below is that you’re hardly playing a thing, mostly counting and paying attention -waiting, for the exact moment at which to strike. When you the hit play button, will hear the traditional count in, (1… 2… 1, 2, 3, 4) after that I’m establishing the beat with four simultaneous quarter notes on the bass guitar and bass drum, this is indicated by the use of rhythmic notation as you can clearly see in the music below. After I’ve established the four beats the bass guitar and bass drum, you be matching the recorded guitar, playing and reading the rhythm which immediately follows that measure of rhythmic notation.

To conclude the rhythmic studies in this lesson you will be practicing and learning rhythms that contain two quarter notes and two quarter rests. Continue to train, drill and repeat on these interactive diagrams until you can effortlessly and easily play in perfect sync with the recording. Most importantly however, you should review all the rhythmic material presented in this course until you hear a rhythm in your head when you look at one of the rhythmic figures or what I’ve called permutations. Experienced musicians can hear the exact sound of the rhythmic figures in their mind, just like when they are quietly reading a book.

Once you are able to look at these one bar rhythms as easy vocabulary words you will find sight reading a smooth and enjoyable experience. In our study of whole notes, whole rests, dotted half notes, dotted half rests, half notes, half rests, quarter notes and quarter rests we have not yet studied all of the possibilities for writing one bar of music using only these eight characters. For extra practice, see if you can think of some of the rhythms we have not yet studied.


Bar Lines

There are 3 very important types of barlines for you to know, the first type of course is a regular, normal barline like the ones that were introduced early in the course but you probably already knew about. The second type of barline I would like to discuss is the “Final Bar Line”, a slighty thicker bar line followed by thick heavy line, thes two lines form the “Final Bar Line”. The third type of bar line is “The Repeat Bar” which has the same two solid lines as the “The Final Barline” but has the addition of two black dots, like a colon, preceding the two thick, solid lines. I also like to add the little ‘wings’ on “The Repeat Bar” to make it hard to miss and to also to make “The Repeat Bar” look extra special and stand out.


More Advanced Duets

Next you are going to try some more interesting duets. Continuing with this course you will no longer hear me counting 1… 2… 1, 2, 3, 4, you must’ve guessed by now that I think the ability to count and keep counting is very important to your learning process. When you read, you must count. In these pieces, both the lead (your part or first guitar) and the accompaniment (traditionally the teachers’ part or second guitar) are playing single lines, one note at a time. This means you must count, listen to the click track, and pay super close attention in order to stay with the second guitar.

The song below, It’s Snowing, is a simple melody I wrote when I first began teaching guitar many years ago. It’s sweet and memorable tune has made it a favorite of my guitar students. It’s Snowing is based on a good old C major chord. The end of the song is signified with the final bar line.

We will conclude this lesson with my version of the Saints Go Marching In. I am a music teacher who believes that there is great value in learning how to read a song when you may already know the melody -it’s a great way to make all sorts of mental connections. I did this a lot as a student and I would often have one of those wonderful “Ah Ha” moments when I saw how sounds and ideas that I firmly understood could be notated.

This arrangement of When the Saints Go Marching In features repeat bars, which means you will be reading through the piece twice, as is clearly indicated in the sheet music below. If you have any confusion here don’t worry, the animation is sure to cler that up. The repeat bars indicate that you repeat whatever is inside of them, enclosed by them, so in this case you’ll be jumping all the way back to the beginning of the song and playing everything inside, to the right of, that first repeat. In other words you will NOT play the three notes outside the repeat bar again. To mark the ending, the word “fine”, appears at the very end of the song in order to tell you where to stop playing, you are at the end of the piece. The three notes at the end are in parentheses because these three notes are not played at the end of the second repetition, these notes, called pickup notes, are only there to begin the melody.

End Of Lesson 6


“My first experience with the guitar was taking lessons from Karl Aranjo as a high school student. His lessons were more than just a collection of tips and riffs: they were a method. As I look through, I get to take a trip back through those lessons and am reminded about I loved about them. His strong focus on the fundamentals quickly draws a connection between general music theory and the particulars of how that theory can be applied to the guitar, even allowing us as guitarists to use our instrument as an abacus-like tool to enhance our musical insight. In high school, Karl’s lessons got me up to speed to jam with my friends and in the school band almost immediately. In the almost 20 years since I left high school and had my last lesson with Karl, the things he taught me have continued to serve me well; I’ve played almost continuously in a variety of styles (jazz, rock, funk, folk), both as a hobby and as a part-time professional (currently playing with San Francisco’s Smash-Up Derby). If I hadn’t grown up in the same town as where Karl taught, I might have missed out on a lifetime of fun playing the guitar. With, wherever you are, you can benefit from the same quality instruction that I had!

-Grahm Ruby

“Mr. Karl Aranjo is one great teacher to work with. When working with him, he is very flexible, and will teach you all the basics and fundamentals you will need while learning how to play the guitar. From learning basic chords to crazy licks and solo’s. You will become an expert in no time and looking like a professional guitar player. In my experience, I learned to master chord progressions much easier and understand it in a better perspective. In my music career/hobby, it has given me nothing but success to play in a band as a front man/rhythm guitarist, compose my own type of music, and as well as songs that I really wanted to learn how to play on the guitar. Learning through Karl Aranjo was a great experience and has helped me understand the guitar a lot easier, I would not have wanted this learning experience any other way.”

-Julius Isaac

“I had the pleasure of being a guitar student of Karl’s for several years. Karl advanced my playing ability a great deal very quickly by giving me a perfect combination of guitar technique, theory and assigning songs that motivated me to continue learning. I highly recommend Karl for all level of guitar players no matter if you are a beginner or advanced.”

-Tom Hunt

”Karl Aranjo is a great and experienced teacher with an extensive knowledge of guitar playing and theory. His thorough online course, covers the whole spectrum from the first time beginner to advanced.”

Blake Aaron- Internationally Known Recording Artist

”Karl helped me dive into the blues when I was first starting out, and learning how to improvise opened up many doors for me on guitar. He has a vast knowledge ranging many musical styles, and i would recommend him to anyone trying to learn the instrument!”

Eric Cannata Young The Giant