top of page

Importance of Accents in Music


Dhanesh Sarangadharan

Musicians use a number of techniques and methods Musicians to make a normal piece of music stand out. These include vibrato, bends, legato, trills, tremolo picking and various other types of ornaments and embellishments.

Learning and incorporating all these techniques should be a long term goal for you as an intermediate guitar player, but you don’t have to become a master of all these techniques before you can differentiate yourself from any average guitar players out there.

Today we’ll learn about a very basic and easy to apply technique, that will instantly enhance your Rhythm and Lead Guitar Playing.

Introduction To Accents

Accents when associated with a note or beat indicates that the particular note or beat has been given a lot of emphasis while performing the music.

You can think of it as making the note stand out from the other notes.

The simplest ways to do that is to play that note louder than the other notes, or make the other notes sound relatively softer.

But it’s not merely articulating or picking the note harder that will make it sound louder, you need to do it with a lot of feeling and attention given to the accented note. It’s all about the energy you put into an accented note.

Accents are notated with the below mark appearing on top or bottom of the note.


SEO 1.png

When used intelligently, accents can instantly make your Rhythm and Lead playing highly attractive to the listener.

Check this simple Guitar lick played without accents.

SEO 2.png

Now listen to the same lick played with accents in different places. The notes to be accented contain the accent sign on top of them on the staff.

SEO 3.png

Did you notice how accents can enhance the sound of a simple lick without any change in the Rhythm or the notes being played? If not, then I encourage you to listen to the audio till you understand the difference.

Now let's hear the difference that accents can bring to a chord progression.

Here is a chord progression played without accents.

SEO 4.png

Now here is the same Chord Progression played with Accents as seen in the image below.

SEO 5.png

Easy exercises to easily apply accents in your playing

Practice the below examples for incorporating accents in your playing.

Ex 1

seo 01.png

Click here to listen to this.

Ex 2 - Strumming with Accents

seo 02.png

Click here to listen to this.

Ex 3: Deliberately use accents in different places while performing Rhythm and/or lead guitar parts


1.     Understand the use of Accents to embellish your music through the examples in this document. Keep reminding yourself to use this when you play regular music

2.     Even a single accented hit can make your strumming sound more interesting, so don’t shy away from using this.

3.     Don’t limit yourself to the examples listed here. Create your own melodic lines and chord progressions, or use the progressions and strumming patterns you already know and experiment with adding accents at different places and observe the change.

4.     A bonus tip is to initially use accents only on Downstrokes or the start of a beat initially, and later experiment with it by adding in different places in your music.



About The Author:

Dhanesh Sarangadharan is a certified guitar teacher in Pune, Maharashtra India, who is passionate about helping students progress faster towards their guitar playing and musical ambitions.

bottom of page