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Independent Voices
 

Independent Voices

So far we have dealt with one musical event, be it single note or chord, happening at a time. However, music usually involves many events happening simultaneously, as when several voices sing together or different instruments play in a group. Each of the voices or instruments may be moving independently. This also happens on the guitar, where lines of music represent different “voices.”

This is more easily understood with a practical example.

Here the two separate lines or voices can be seen easily from the stem directions of the notes. How do we count two lines at once? The answer is to focus on the faster moving notes—the longer notes simply need to be held. In this example we will count three to the measure, which will give the time for the quarter notes, and simply leave the finger on the dotted half notes so that the sound continues.

Now try these examples.

Here is a piece in two voices. I have included tablature to speed up the note finding, but as far as possible try to work just from the notation in the upper line, particularly when you have tried it a few times.

At this point we can play pieces by Sor and Bach in two parts. To give them their full effect, we need to hold the sustained longer notes, so be sure to study the notation as well as the tablature.


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