Anatomy and Dynamics (Guitar Lesson)

What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Mark Lincoln

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Guitar Performance seriesLength: 23:19Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:37) Musical Introduction Welcome back to another lesson in the Guitar Performance lesson series!
Chapter 2: (02:26) Introduction and Warm-up Before moving on with the lesson, please be sure to warm-up and review the following:
1. Warm up the body.
2. Single note hum.
3. Three note hum.
4. Hum "me-me-me-me" to "mah-mah-mah mah" to me-ma-me-ma-me."
5. Wake up the breath with "sah-sah-sah" etc. long and sustained then five times staccato.
6. "Sah" in five-note descending scales, then five-note ascending scales.
7. Work these scales faster and faster, then louder and louder.
8. Play each of the open chords and sing scales while accompanying yourself.
We’ve been talking about the process of developing performance skills and the singing while playing the guitar. I’ve been giving you some basic ways to start developing the skills necessary to sing and play at the same time, but there’s more work to be done!
Chapter 3: (06:36) Song Anatomy From my experience, it is important to learn the guitar rhythm and the chords that you will be playing before you start to sing along with them. If you jump into a song without getting the initial structure of it down first, then singing it can become a nightmare. The first step of learning a song is figuring out the structure. Thinking about songs in the following way can be very helpful.

Song Introduction
1. Does the introduction have unusual chords?
2. Does the intro have any unusual chord changes?
3. Does the intro have any unusual rhythms?
4. How is the intro played? Does it use picking, strumming, fingerstyle, etc?
The Verse
1. Try and figure out which chords are being used in the verse. They may be open chords, barre chords or other interesting chord variations.
2. Listen to the strum pattern played in the verse. It may be different from the introduction and chorus.
3. Listen for any melody lines. Are there notes played in between the chords?
4. Listen to the length of the verse. How many measures of music are there?
1. Listen to the chorus and figure out which chords are being used. Are they the same chords as the verse or introduction? Is the chorus in a different key (such as a minor key)?
2. What strum pattern is being used? How does it differ from the other parts of the song? Is it faster or slower?
3. How long is the chorus? Be sure to listen to how many measures are present.
4. Are there any melody lines found within the chorus?
1. Pay attention to the chords in the bridge. They may be different from the rest of the song, especially if the bridge is designed for a guitar solo.
2. Pay attention to the structural aspects from the other sections as well. Figure out the strum pattern. Listen to how long it is and pay attention to any hidden melody lines.
Dynamics of the song
1. Listen to the dynamics of the song. Figure out where the song is played loudly and softly. Figure out where the tempo speeds up or slows down. Pay attention to the singer and how his voice responds to each segment of the song. We will talk more about dynamics in the next scene.
1. Be sure to listen for any anomalies in the song. Songwriters often throw in anomalies or change things around to make the music interesting. Be sure to take note when this happens!
This is just a simplistic way of expressing the structure of a given song. You know as well as I do that songs can take on much simpler or much more complex forms involving very specific parts from the bass, drums, and vocals.
Chapter 4: (06:28) Song Dynamics Dynamics can be defined as variation and contrast in sound, intensity, and form.

When we look at the concept as applied to music, it often implies changes in volume from one part to the next. In the above outline, if one were to learn a particular song that he or she were interested in learning, it would be in his or her best interest to pay close attention to how the song changes in dynamics from one section to the next. In other words, does the song get louder during the chorus? Does the song start soft in the introduction and then get louder as it goes? Does the song fade in during the intro and fade out at the end? These are important considerations when learning (or writing) a song and should be looked at in earnest. Dynamics can determine the overall mood that the song imparts and can distinguish between parts of the song as well. Dynamics can also deliver the “punch” that the writer is intending during a particularly intense and emotional portion. Pay close attention to the dynamics of a song when learning it and listen carefully to how it changes the overall tone of the piece.

The final section of the outline is merely here as a suggestion that songs need not follow any preexisting patterns or guidelines. A song can be two chords played over and over and with the exact same rhythm and strum, or it can be an incredibly complex and non-repetitive piece of music that only the most talented orchestra could play. Many modern songwriters throw in an extra chord here and there or an odd change in rhythm in order to deviate from the ordinary. Pay attention to what the writer is trying to convey to the listener when you are learning a song. I’m not saying that you have to learn someone else’s song exactly as they wrote it. I’m merely suggesting that you listen and pay attention to the structure that is there for you before you attempt to sing it. I’ve learned much of what I know about music from other writers.
Chapter 5: (00:24) Exercise Time Get your guitar out! It's time for some exercises.
Chapter 6: (02:20) Practice Exercises Exercise 1
Play D A C G for your verse and strum in this pattern: down down down up or "down down down-up." Pay attention to the dynamics and/or volume that you are playing these chords and don’t forget to relax your strum and play from the wrist.
Chapter 7: (04:25) Exercise #2 and #3 Exercise #2
Play the chords F G Am G for your chorus and strum them in this pattern: down down up or "down down-up down-up down-up down-up down-up." How do you want to change the dynamics of the song? Do you want to make the chorus louder than the verse? What emotion (if any) do you want the change in dynamic to relay to the listener?

Exercise 3
Yes, you knew what was coming next! This time, pick four chords for your verse and four for the chorus.
As I’ve said before and will probably say again, don’t ignore the element of emotion in music as it dictates whether your playing is exciting and inspiring or bland and boring. Listen to what you are playing and to others who already do it well. We all can learn from others who have preceded us even if we don’t necessarily like that particular style of music or that particular artist.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

silvainvpsilvainvp replied on November 1st, 2013

Id been learning the annie song, and its kind repetive the picking I do, so i guess i have to put some variation. to make it interesting.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 19th, 2008

Hi Sylvia, actually they're horns!

SylviaSylvia replied on September 21st, 2008

ha ha ha!! You horny little devil you! Ha ha ha...

SylviaSylvia replied on September 16th, 2008

The speculation is that there are antennae under that "northface hat." Is it true?

Guitar Performance

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Performing live or in a studio situation is a goal of many aspiring guitarists. Vocal training and the ability to sing and play at the same time are skills that will help in this endeavor.

Lesson 1

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Vocal Exercises

Mark Lincoln guides you through stretches and vocal exercises to warm up the voice.

Length: 23:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Vocal Vibrato

Mark continues to discuss vocal warm-ups and exercises. Then, he moves on to explain vibrato.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warming the Breath

Mark covers some singing terms and teaches an exercise that is used to "warm the breath."

Length: 19:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Singing and Guitar

Mark Lincoln talks more about vocal exercise and warm-up. Then, he moves on to discuss singing and playing at the same time.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Singing Exercises

Mark Lincoln provides more singing exercises to practice while playing your guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Singing and Playing Revisited

Mark returns to singing and playing. Mark teaches proper form while singing and playing, cognitive exercises, and chord progression basics.

Length: 17:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Length: 23:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Rhythm in Music

Mark Lincoln explains how rhythm is used in music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Technique Applied

Mark Lincoln applies singing and playing techniques to the Doors song "Riders on the Storm."

Length: 17:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Palm Muting and Separation

In lesson 11 of his performance series, Mark discusses the palm muting technique and how to separate your singing from your playing.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Picking Vs. Strumming

Mark discusses how alternating between arpeggios and strummed chords can add contrast and flair to your music.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Silence Is Golden

Mark discusses silence in music and how it can transform a piece. Additionally, he explains how to use silence effectively in your playing.

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Warm-up and Practice

In this lesson, Mark Lincoln talks more about warming up your voice and walks you through a few exercises that will aid this process.

Length: 16:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Preparations for Playing Live

Mark provides a lecture on items you should do and think about to become a proficient live player.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Length: 21:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

A Day in the Life

Mark Brings us Lesson 17 today to explain the preparation that goes into a performance. Mark tracks back up to 36 hours in advance, and shows us some routines to prepare for a great show.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Dynamics of a Song

In this lesson, Mark teaches all of the diverse parts to a song with regards to dynamics.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Play Along with Mark Lincoln

Mark Lincoln brings us a great play along opportunity. Mark provides lyrics as well as the chord progression for this play along. He also breaks down key elements such as palm muting, hammer-ons, bending,...

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Palm Muting Technique

Lesson 21 is a repeat of lesson 20's content only with a whole new set of chords and techniques. The"chords de jour" will be a little simpler than lesson 20's and will also include a much more in depth...

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Kaki King Kaki King

In lesson 6, Kaki discusses how the left and right hands can work together or independently of each other to create different...

Free LessonSeries Details
Tyler Grant Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is back with an introduction to his new series "Classic Country Chops." In this series, Tyler goes in-depth...

Free LessonSeries Details
Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

Free LessonSeries Details
Calum Graham Calum Graham

Award winning, Canadian fingerstyle guitarist Calum Graham introduces his Jamplay Artist Series, which aims to transform...

Free LessonSeries Details
Freebo Freebo

In this lesson, Freebo covers the basics of right hand technique. This lesson is essential for all up and coming bassists.

Free LessonSeries Details
Justin Roth Justin Roth

In this lesson Justin introduces his series on playing with a capo and dishes out some basic tips, including how to properly...

Free LessonSeries Details
Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

John DeServio John DeServio

JD teaches the pentatonic and blues scales and explains where and when you can apply them.

Free LessonSeries Details
Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

Free LessonSeries Details
Rex Brown Rex Brown

Dive into the playing of Rex Brown. As the bass player for Pantera, Down, and Kill Devil Hill, Brown's real world experience...

Free LessonSeries Details
Chris Liepe Chris Liepe

Chris brings his ingenuity to this lesson on the American folk song called "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" Also known as...

Free LessonSeries Details
Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

Free LessonSeries Details
Eric Haugen Eric Haugen

Eric Haugen discusses the goals of his "Six String Problem Solver" lesson series and what kind of material it covers.

Free LessonSeries Details
Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

Free LessonSeries Details
Stuart Ziff Stuart Ziff

Stuart delves into all the different aspects of how R&B guitar has had an impact within reggae music.

Free LessonSeries Details
Aaron Marshall Aaron Marshall

JamPlay welcomes instrumental guitarist Aaron Marshall for a comprehensive master course. In this first lesson Aaron discusses...

Free LessonSeries Details
John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 522461 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 92 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!