A melodic rhythm is a rhythm that is not achieved with notes and pauses, but with a rhythmic melody.

If you have no idea what notes are or how the example below is read, then you should get the first Notes and rest values post.

As an example, let’s take a normal rhythm:

In this example, a rhythm is created using notes and rests. So by playing notes and not playing during the breaks.

With a Melodic Rhythm, we now try to achieve the same effect, but without even a single pause.

For this we take a slightly simpler example with fewer grades:

Which would then sound like this:

Now we try to fill the rests with other notes. Here we must make absolutely sure that we – for the pauses to be filled, do not take notes that are too close to one another.

If the notes are too close together, we don’t hear a rhythm, just a sequence of notes. Therefore always make sure that you, for example. skips one string at a time to make the rhythm clearer.

However, it is possible with one too second to be able to generate a melodic rhythm. But for this example I prefer to use something that is easier to hear.

So now I’m trying to replace the rests with notes that aren’t necessarily too close to each other:

As you can see in the following example, all grades that weren’t rests are significantly higher than the grades before or after.
Our hearing gets used to the ‚low‘ notes very quickly. As soon as a new note comes in that is higher than the last (or the following), we hear it as a rhythm.

For the guitarists among us, there are still tabs here to be able to replay it.

As a comparison, I will now again replace all rests with grades, but this time with less high grades. You probably notice that the melodic rhythm is no longer getting through well and is no longer so easy to recognize.

If you listen carefully you can still easily hear a „rhythm“, but not the rhythm which we initially set ourselves as our goal. We hear the high notes again as a melodic rhythm.

Rhythms with palm mutes

Another way guitarists can create a rhythm are that Palm Mutes.

In this example we always play the same chord (which, by the way, is an E5 = Power Chord on E).

If we play everything „normally“, i.e. without Palm Mutes, it would sound like this:

So we just have 4×4 (= 16 beats per chord) chords, without accents or rhythms.

But let’s play them Palm Mutes (which were marked as PM), it sounds something like this:

The difference here is that we are putting an ‚accent‘ on the first note, 4th note, 7th note, etc. by adding the Palm mute leave out.

You can imagine that a Palm mute achieved roughly the same result as with the above, the melodic rhythms. The only difference is that we don’t play „low notes“ in order to hear the higher ones better, but rather we „mute“ certain tones so that others can stand out more.

As a final example I have a combination of Palm Mutes and melodic rhythms.

Here we always only play the low E string and emphasize the whole thing again with much higher notes:

In addition, we mute all notes on the E string with palm mutes. So we’ve reinforced the riff twice. Once through Palm Mutes and once through the melodic rhythms.

So we don’t have a single break, but it still sounds like a rhythm -> Melodic Rhythm! 🙂


As always, the Guitar Pro Files and more examples can be found on my Patreon Channel to be downloaded.

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