You might have noticed words such as melody or chords after a song title - they tell you the playing style for that exercise. It’s handy to understand these for your instrument(s), so you can find the ones you enjoy and choose the skills you want to work on.
Here’s how the playing styles work for each instrument...
For when you want to strum the chords of a song. Some chords are harder than others, so we use a few categories to help you find songs with chords you know and like:
|Cowboy chords||Basic chords all guitarists need to know: A, Am, C, D, Dm, E, Em, F, G. Essential for every jam around a campfire.|
|Fancy chords||Relatively basic shapes to hold, but they have complex names like Am7, Dsus4, Cadd9. There are more of these than you can poke a stick at, so you may need to learn new ones for any given song.|
|Moveable chords||Intermediate shapes that can be moved around the fretboard, but without a full barre. These are a great stepping-stone to barre chords.|
|Barre chords||More challenging intermediate shapes that require a full barre with the index finger, covering 5 or 6 strings. These are hard work, and take practice!|
For when you want to learn how to play as a part of a group, look for these exercises.
|Riffs||Riffs are those repeated musical ideas that make up the backbone of many songs – think of the intro to Smoke On The Water or Back In Black. Typically played on the thick strings, using single notes and power chords.|
|Rhythm||These arrangements combine chords and riffs into a versatile “rhythm guitar” playing style.|
|Fingerpicking||Using individual right-hand fingers to pluck the strings. It’s typically most suited to experienced players.|
|Melody / Lead||Typically single notes played on the thin strings. A melody is the tune of the song, usually sung by a vocalist or played on instruments. Lead parts include soloing – in the music video you’d be standing on a mountain top with the camera circling around you.|
|Rhythm & Lead||Not surprisingly, these combine rhythm & lead playing styles into a single exercise – it’s a very common approach for intermediate/expert players.|
For when you want to strum the chords of a song. You learn to pluck strings and strum chords to outline the harmony of a song. This is a core playing style for ukulele!
|Chords||Basic and intermediate arrangements focusing on strumming chords. Can also be an exercise combining strumming and fingerpicking.|
|Fingerpicking||An intermediate-to-expert playing style that uses individual right-hand fingers to pluck the strings|
Look for melody, rhythm and chords&rhythm exercises that teach you to play main themes and melodies.
|Melody||The tune of the song, usually sung by a vocalist or played on instruments.|
|Rhythm||Exercises that include more than just chords, e.g. chords and single-note riffs.|
|Chords&Melody||Not surprisingly, these exercises combine chords and melodies!|
Bass can provide rhythmic and harmonic foundation to songs. Bassline and Melody exercises in Yousician teach you these skills.
|Bassline||This is the core playing style for bass – it’s all about laying down that groove and locking in with the band.|
|Melody||Sometimes, when the other band members are feeling generous or need a rest, bass players get to play the tune of the song. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s excellent for building your sense of melody and fretboard knowledge.|
The following exercises cover accompaniment, teaching you to rhythmically support melodies and main themes in songs. For example, they outline basic chord progressions in songs.
|Chords||Basic chord arrangements that capture the harmony of a song.|
|Accompaniment||Arrangements that go beyond just playing the chords; they add comping patterns and sometimes melodic passages.|
Playing melody, bass and band exercises, teach you to play melodies and main themes in songs.
|Melody||A melody line arranged for one or two hands, basic and intermediate.|
|Bass||Basic and intermediate left hand arrangements of bass lines.|
Keyboard parts transcribed or arranged for one or two hands, basic to advanced.
|Play along||A basic arrangement for beginners, where you play the key basic elements of the melody and bass.|
Solo piano exercises are independent arrangements allowing you to play and perform a song solo.
The exercises in Yousician for Singing teach you to train and use your voice in a group setting, accompanied by other instruments.
|Lead vocals||Exercises that only have one lead singer.|
|Male lead, Female lead & Duet||
Exercises with more than one lead singer where you can practice each part separately.
What does basic / main / full in the exercise name mean?
In some exercise names, you’ll see the words basic / main / full, e.g. basic riff or main melody. These tell you how much an exercise has been simplified from the recording, so you know what to expect.
- Basic means a simplified version of the song.
- Main means the core essence of the song, without some of the tricky details.
- Full means the complete song you hear on the recording.
If you want to learn specific techniques for your instrument, check out the Workouts tab accessible via the Learn tab.