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Reggae & Ska: Life On The Upbeat

WholeNote Staff (593) · [archive]
Style: Reggae · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 80
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

"You getting a three in one music. You getting a happy rhythm with a sad sound with a good vibration... It's roots music."
- Bob Marley, June, 1975. (McCann p.29)

The "upbeat" chord pattern on the previous page is a staple of reggae guitar, but there is an equally important aspect of this guitar style. Because one guitar is tied to the rhytmic upbeats, another guitar ( or bass guitar ) is obligated to play a bit more melody and fill in some of the open spaces. (I've written it as an octave fill for a six srting guitar, but either instrument will work.) This kind of lick lives on the "downbeat" or the "One" of a "ONE" and "TWO" and "THREE" and "FOUR" and...count. It acts as a foil for the super- straight upbeat guitar. You should consider this part as similar to the "inside melodies" found in 50's and 60's Rhythm and Blues. By "inside melody" I mean those guitar and horn hits that simmer in the background of old R&B. It's not a part that is intended to be too dominant or complicated. It should just bubble away between the lead vocal and the ryhthm guitar. Before we combine this part with the upbeat pattern, try it all by itself.
Reggae & Ska: Life On The Upbeat - Page 2
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