How to play guitar songs: The melody
When we learn to play we generally first learn how to play guitar songs by strumming chords so we can create a foundation of rhythm and harmony to help the vocal line of the song come to life.
The next step in our learning could be that of converting the vocal line into a guitar line so we can be the vocalist but instead of singing the words we play their corresponding pitches, musical notes, on the guitar. This can be great fun !
To accomplish such we generally use tabs or other written notations and we also tend to get lost in the process.
I propose 5 easy steps to permanently learn how to play guitar songs and the melody of our favorite song.
- Identify the key
- Select a position for playing the melody on the guitar
- Write down the lyrics of one verse and chorus
- Give each syllable of the lyrics a pitch from the scale
- Play these pitches while saying aloud the natural rhythm of the lyrics
How to identify the key?
Listen to the song. Maintain silence for a few seconds. Sing a note that feels the most relaxed in relation to the song. This note will be the tonal center. Once we have identified the tonal center we know what notes the melody is using and what chords the song will be based upon.
How to find the notes of the desired key in one position?
Guitar students need to know a minimum of one pattern of a major scale in two octaves. This generally takes 10 minutes to learn and one hour of private study to understand.
How to identify the pitch of each syllable?
By elimination. We have 7 to choose from in a scale. We try one at a time but first follow these steps.
- Listen to the target word
- Imagine it in silence
- Sing it
- Find it on guitar within the chosen scale pattern
Generally by the third repetition of the process all students can nail the pitch.
Please refer to Resources for further tips on learning how to play guitar songs and much more.
Notes: Guitar groups and private classes fill up very quick so there is generally a waiting period of 4 weeks before a new slot becomes available once the interview has concluded.