Playing harmoniously on the guitar with the use of your fingers can produce some of the most beautiful melodies. The high notes usually carrying the melody as the low notes fill in the gaps with a bassline. Most fingerstyle musicians are self-taught! But how do they find the time to play so well — and from their own creativity! Keep reading on and you’ll discover the tools you need and how to play fingerstyle guitar too!
In this amazing guide, you will learn the following:
What is Fingerstyle Guitar?
Fingerstyle Guitar is the method of playing the guitar by fingerpicking with the thumb, index, middle finger, and ring finger.
There are many features that make fingerstyle similar to slap guitar, or flamenco style. For instance, when playing slap guitar; you tend to add percussive beats to the strings or the body of the guitar. This allows you to add rhythm to your music in between the notes you play!
Flamenco style involves fingerpicking the strings as well, they use a lot of tremolo on the strings between notes. Arpeggios or arpeggiated notes are another melodic technique used as they can be ascending or descending. These really help fill in the melodic content between the bass and higher notes. This cannot be done, however, without forming chords.
Fingerstyle Guitar is a natural blend of these elements, combined with basic pop music structure; which is not overly complicated. In turn when combining these elements together, you wind up with a folk-like or bluegrass feel to your music. This can make covering songs by other artists unique to yourself and your way of playing!
What Fingerstyle Guitar is Not
Fingerstyle Guitar is not to be confused with Classical Guitar. While they both involve fingerpicking, there are some distinct differences between the two styles of playing:
- You’ll come to find that classical guitarists tend to play on a nylon stringed acoustic guitar; this isn’t necessarily true for fingerstyle guitarists. Most professional fingerstyle guitarists prefer to play on a steel stringed acoustic guitar.
- Normally in classical style you don’t mess around with the tuning, but in fingerstyle guitar you are free to be more creative. Sometimes this may include the use of a capo.
- Classical guitar contains rich textures; consisting of a melody, bass and accompaniment. Fingerstyle guitar contains a more vocal-like melody with accompaniment in the form of chords or rhythm.
- Classical guitarists need to have premeditated execution when it comes to playing certain dynamics and plucking the notes just right. They need to play as the piece of music was composed. Fingerstyle guitarists determine themselves how the piece of music should be played; based on their own artistic impression.
- Classical guitar usually contains sheet music (musical notation). Fingerstyle guitar is usually taken from various songs learned by tab (tablature).
- Classical guitar may follow movements to separate different sections altering the mood, using transposition, or changing keys. Fingerstyle guitar usually follows the structure of pop music which is fairly simple. Could be something following A/B/A/B/C/B (Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus).
The takeaway: Learning classical guitar is a much more disciplined practice. It takes patience, timing, dynamics, form and self-discipline. Much like learning a dance. On the other hand, fingerstyle guitar is more self-expressive; open to one’s interpretation or take on a song. The guitar is a canvas, and the song is your subject.
Why Learn Fingerstyle Guitar?
From a skeptic’s point of view: why learn? Short answer: it’s fun.
Do you have a lack of resources available to you? Whether it’s music software, band-mates, recording devices, instruments… etc. Maybe all you have is an acoustic guitar? Perhaps, there are songs you hear on the radio, and you just think to yourself “wow, I really wish I could play this song! I don’t have a band though, or a singer…”
Learning fingerstyle guitar you can play just about any song on a single guitar. I don’t mean just playing that guitar lick you heard from that one song, or just the rhythm guitar from the Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench. You can learn how to play the bass, chords, melody and rhythm all in harmony.
Personal Story: Going to college was an exciting experience for myself. Moving away from home, from the old problems, old way of life, getting to meet new people and try new things! It was like I was granted a clean slate, to develop a new identity, or have a fresh start and make a difference this time.
I ended up meeting lots of great people in my program for music, I found they were a lot like me! That was the problem though! I wanted to break out and be part of a band, be a lot closer to the new identity I wanted to develop. I found there were a lot of bands developing within the program, and I turned out to be the outcast: the solo artist.
Well, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, being “the solo artist” has taught me a lot, and helped me find myself! I jumped from genre to genre: EDM, Math Rock, Indie, and then I found my way closer to what really hit home – raw acoustic fingerstyle music. I didn’t need programs to be my backup musicians! I had one guitar that can play it all. I have a voice too, I could sing! I can still claim that identity I desired. I am the band!
Aside from developing a creative knack for covering pop songs in your own style, learning fingerstyle guitar can help you develop muscle memory and finger dexterity. You develop these skills over time as you learn chord progressions and play arpeggiated notes within these different chords.
Furthermore, as you study different music and incorporate the techniques you learn from this style of playing; it will develop, what I like to call your Guitar IQ. What I mean about having an increased Guitar IQ is that you will gain a deeper understanding of the notes on the fretboard. Which ones work well together, and which ones do not. This can also be called ear training.
Upon further development of your Guitar IQ, you will be able to listen to a song, discover which fret the capo belongs, should it require one, and which chords build the foundation.
These are some of the stepping stones to be achieved in being a successful fingerstyle guitar player.
Note: As most of the skills in fingerstyle are self-taught skills that you need to develop over time, it is required that you discipline yourself and maintain patience. Your fingers will hurt, but give them a break before hitting the grind again. Over time this will build calluses on the tips of your fingers, you want these. They will strengthen your fingers and make the skin harder; therefore the strings won’t hurt as much.
Inspiring Musicians That Will Make You Want to Learn!
There are so many incredible musicians out there, the ones we know – and the ones we have yet to discover! YouTube has been a great source of discovering these artists and talented folk alike. Players like Andrew Foy, Eddie Van Der Meer and James Bartholomew are prime examples of people who have blown up on YouTube for their incredible fingerstyle guitar talents.
You’ll find in Andrew Foy’s cover that he completely utilizes the techniques mentioned before between Slap Guitar, and Flamenco Style to create the perfect blend; resulting in clean Fingerstyle Guitar. Now, that is not to say that Classical Guitar style has no attributing factors to his Fingerstyle Guitar playing. In fact, Andrew Foy started out by learning Classical Guitar, before making the jump to Fingerstyle Guitar.
Classical Guitar can improve your playing for a number of reasons, and is highly recommended that be where you start. In fact, many musicians learn Classical Guitar before dabbling in other styles and genres.
Classical Guitar requires the utmost discipline. You need to play the music as it’s written and meant to be played. The guitar is an instrument and you’re but an extension of that instrument. You need to keep proper posture, timing and play dynamically. It’s an art, like learning a dance, preparing a complicated dish, or creating the right blend of colours to get the desired feeling. Although, learning to play Classical Guitar may be a challenge, it’s very rewarding. Many of the skills are transferable to other aspects of playing the guitar.
Recommended Tools to Get You Started!
The Fingerstyle Guitar player’s trusted allies are none other than his tools they use to play! For beginners, it’s very recommended that you learn a little bit of Classical Guitar before venturing further in the art of Fingerstyle.
Not that you will necessarily fail, but you will gain a deeper understanding of what goes into this style of playing, and have some songs to practice as well! – You want to have a foundation to build off of to which you can grow.
However, if you’d like to keep reading and give it a go, why not?
- Guitar Tuner – As self-explanatory as it is, many people forget to tune their guitar before playing! Therefore, their guitar is not sounding to its full-potential. Nothing sounds quite like a guitar perfectly in tune, with its strings vibrating in harmony!
- Steel String Acoustic Guitar – Not everybody has one of these, which is okay. Some people have started with a nylon stringed acoustic guitar before and got by with that until they could afford a steel string acoustic guitar. The reason why we prefer steel string is because of its crisp, bright tone. They naturally offer more volume and power. Classical guitar is normally played on nylon stringed acoustic guitars because of its warmth. It’s very soft on the fingers, flexible, and gives a more mellow sound.
- Capo – An optional choice, as it really depends on the song that you’re playing. A capo definitely gives you more options, however, as it can transpose the open notes on the guitar fretboard without the need of changing its tuning.
- Thumbpick – An optional choice. It increases the attack or overall volume from your thumb plucking the low E, A, D strings. Keep in mind: If you’re looking to purchase one, they all come in different sizes and handedness. Make sure you find the right one for you!
- Fingernails – A little gross to some, yet an optional choice. You don’t need to grow out your fingernails to be an excellent Fingerstyle Guitar player. The reason some do it, however, is it can provide their own unique sound. The point of contact usually comes from hitting the flesh of a finger to the release of it coming off of the nail. Different ways of grooming your nails, or shaping of them can produce different sounds. Some good, some bad. Another way some people use their nails is to add unique percussive effects to their guitar.
Simple Finger Exercises to Give You a Feel for Fingerstyle
It’s important to do exercises that will keep your fingers sharp, your muscle memory intact, and prepare you for different patterns of playing you’re not already used to. Common to Classical Guitar, we follow the reading of the fingers to a string as P, I, M, A.
P = Pulgar Thumb
I = Indice Index
M = Medio Middle Finger
A = Anular Ring Finger
When we play using these fingers, you’ll find that they each belong to their own set of strings. For instance: I (your index) belongs on the G string. M (your middle finger) belongs on the B string. A (your ring finger) belongs on the high E string. P (your thumb) belongs on all three of the bass strings, Low E, A and D.
When we look at this diagram, you can see where the fingers correspond to each string. Try playing the tablature below!
Now let’s make it a little more challenging for you:
How about trying to play this?
If you can manage playing these 50 times each without messing up, (missed notes, buzzing, or muted strings) You’re ready to add some chords!
You may try your own chords, if you have a progression you’re comfortable with. If you need help coming up with a chord progression; try playing C, G, D, A.
This will help you in getting used to changing chords while maintaining a steady pace in your right hand. Do this another 50 times while changing chords to get both hands moving in sync with each other.
Tips for improved practice:
- Play with a metronome. A metronome playing at a comfortable starting point to which you can play the notes on time. If you can’t think of a good starting point, try 120 BPM. If it’s still too fast for you, try playing on every other beat. 1 _ 3 _ 1 _ 3_…
You can purchase metronomes at most music stores selling hardware. If you want to go with the cheap option, download the metronome app on your phone, or simply Google online metronome.
- Play slowly. The goal isn’t to play as fast as possible. It’s to play without messing up. Consistency is key. If you can play the same pattern 50 times without messing up at any given attempt; you’re ready to increase the tempo.
- Don’t get too comfortable. When you start getting comfortable with what you’re playing, that’s when you work yourself back into that discomfort, the challenge that pushes you even further. Increase the tempo, play backwards, try slowing the tempo (that throws a lot of people off).
For the advanced players who are trying to dabble in Fingerstyle guitar, try learning any of these following songs!
- Blackbird – Beatles
- Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
- Dust in the Wind – Kansas
- Bon Jovi – Dead or Alive
Tricks of the Trade!
Many of the tricks you will start to learn from Fingerstyle Guitar are what give the music performed its unique flair. These skills can be transferred alike to Slap Guitar, Flamenco Style, and Classical Guitar – as they may also be extracted from them.
For instance, adding percussive rhythm; a trait of Slap Guitar has been used to enhance Fingerstyle Guitar and fill out the song beyond what thought possible. Flamenco Style uses a lot of arpeggiated chords, which stand as the foundation to a lot of pop songs. Classical Guitar helps improve the overall tone and quality of Fingerstyle Guitar playing.
Learning these different styles of guitar playing can be an asset to your fingerstyle guitar playing.
Typical tricks of the trade involve:
Keeping a constant flow – Learning to form chords and mentally prepare yourself for the notes ahead. This can mean playing arpeggiated notes, and switching chords promptly so that it doesn’t ruin the natural flow of the song. Your hands moving simultaneously without missing a beat.
Adding percussion when necessary – Some songs call for a beat to be played. If this is a cover song, it may more than likely be necessary depending on what the original song sounded like. Check out Eddie Van Der Meer’s cover of Despacito. You’ll notice how he plays every other beat with his thumb slapping the string against the fretboard. That’s but one example of adding appropriate percussion.
Ear training – Most Fingerstyle Guitar players are able to cover songs because they have developed their ear. Another reason is because they were able to take the original song they learned and convert it to fingerstyle, while incorporating their own “flair” or “personality”. Ear training comes with experience. The more you play your instrument, the faster and stronger it will begin to develop!
Playing on the neck – What is meant by this is when it’s done by both hands. Now it isn’t super common in fingerstyle, but sometimes it’s necessary. One example is when you’re in need of harmonics, but your other hand is preoccupied forming a chord. It may also be when you’re in need of playing a tight sequence of notes – using hammer-ons and pull-offs with both hands, or tapping on the neck.
Keeping it tight – Classical Guitar is a perfect example of playing a piece of music as true to how it was composed. Fingerstyle Guitar, we do get more freedom, however – when it comes to rhythm and timing, nothing is more important. What good is a song cover, if you butcher the tempo?
These are but a few skills that will develop over time. Other honorable mentions include: finger dexterity, finger strength, volume, fingerpicking, and muscle memory.
Including a Capo
A capo is a tool the guitar needs from time-to-time to transpose the open notes of the fretboard to the desired fret. It clamps down on the neck of the guitar, hanging over the fretboard. Some songs require a capo be played in order to play notes in harmony that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Examples of songs using a capo:
Hotel California – Capo on the 7th Fret
Wonderwall – Capo on the 2nd Fret
Landslide – Capo on the 3rd Fret
Free Fallin’ – Capo on the 3rd Fret
Capos are great because they allow you to change the color and feeling of music with minimal effort. Under normal circumstances, some chords require that you play a “bar chord”. Bar Chords are when you hold your finger down the entire fret covering all 6 strings of the guitar. It can be quite uncomfortable for most, but having a capo lets you get away with not having to do that in most cases.
Some chords like the F chord, or the B minor 7 chord still require that you create a bar chord, regardless.
What Kind of Capo Do I Get?
When shopping for a capo, you want to look for quality, and longevity. Something that’s there for the long-haul and doesn’t need any changing whatsoever. You want something that puts good pressure on the strings, doesn’t cause them to fall out of tune, sturdy and it doesn’t hurt if it looks nice and sleek as well!
Some trusted capos are:
- Kyser Quick Change Capo (my personal favourite /w maple texture)
- GuitarX X3 Original Guitar Capo 2.0
- D’Addario Planet Waves NS Artist Classical Capo
- Nordic Essentials Guitar Capo Deluxe
- Shubb Deluxe Series GC-30
And there are plenty more you can find …
Importance of Chords
When it comes to just about any pop song you hear on the radio, you’ll notice the foundation on which the song lies is on chords. So, naturally, chords are pretty important to Fingerstyle. You can strum them, pluck them and arpeggiate them. All of which may be used when it comes to Fingerstyle Guitar.
Chords provide structure – They allow for more than just melodic content, but having a chord progression really makes life easier when either writing, or covering a song. This can help you determine how many bars the chord is played for. Strumming patterns may also help you out:
Strumming Pattern: Down, up, Down, up, Down, up
Beats In Bar: 1 & 2 & 3 4
When you take the initial strumming pattern, all that’s left to do is count the beats that complete the bar. In other cases, people may use words to replicate the pattern so that it’s easier to understand. So let’s use the diagram again, but include the sentence “give me a pineapple”.
Strumming Pattern: Down, up, Down, up, Down, up
Beats In Bar: 1 & 2 & 3 4
Words: Give Me A Pine Ap – ple
Now there’s really only so much we can gather from this without hearing the song, or seeing the musical notation. Whether it’s played in half notes, quarter notes, dotted sixteenths.. Etc. This is only a good reference to an extent. Since, however, you more than likely have heard the song, or have an idea in your head; this should suffice.
Another reason chords are useful – they can be played a number of ways! The way you choose is ultimately up to you and your preference. You’ll discover that some ways of playing the chord allow you to do more, perhaps in freeing up a string – or just that it naturally works better. You find the more you go up the neck you get a more warm and mellow sound, while the base of the neck allows for a more powerful, sharper tone.
It’s important to learn chords and exercise them in your daily practice. Your fingers will hurt, you will get calluses, but in the end your playing will improve. If you can, I’d practice chords at least 3 – 4 hours a day until you feel comfortable. Then practice more! You can never practice enough. Try new chords, try playing the same chords elsewhere using your ear and try challenging chord progressions and strumming patterns! Build that genius Guitar IQ of yours!
Famous Songs Played Fingerstyle
There are a number of amazing artists out there who have literally written their own iconic Fingerstyle Guitar songs. A few of these were suggested earlier for your practice, but if you haven’t practiced them yet, this will give you more incentive to. This will give you a feel for how they pan out – what goes into the making and playing of these types of songs.
- Blackbird by the Beatles
This song was released November 22nd, 1968, written by Paul McCartney, himself. The song is interpreted in a number of ways – a song about nature, love, and even the Black Power Movement. The way the Beatles would describe this song, is an awakening on a deeper level. Despite further interviews on the subject of the song, however, it doesn’t seem as though anything is conclusive.
Why learn this song? – It’s a great way to start Fingerstyle Guitar. Personally, it got me used to playing up and down the neck, and using the P, I, M, A accordingly to each string. It’s a fun song to learn, and a complete classic. While I taught this to myself by ear one morning, there should be plenty of guitar tabs online for you to learn this yourself! If you have the confidence to do so, however, try learning by ear! It’s not that hard!
- Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
This song was released November 8th, 1971, composed by Jimmy Page, and their vocalist Robert Plant. It’s a pretty unique song, as it’s written in three sections all consisting of a different tempo and feeling. Robert Plant attributes the success of the song to how abstract it is. He interprets the song differently upon listening to it each time. The best way he could describe what it means, is about a woman who has gotten everything she wanted, without giving anything back.
Why learn this song? – It’s a fun challenge to those willing to dabble in the art of Fingerstyle Guitar. The chords can be tricky for most to play, and the fact that it changes up so abruptly in each section of the song makes for a fun play. This was the first official Fingerstyle Guitar song I learned, and it wasn’t easy – but the challenge made it all worth it! Not to mention, it’s an amazing song. There are plenty of guitar tabs for this song online, it won’t be hard to find a good one to get you started.
Note – Biggest challenge of this song is maintaining a steady flow between changing chords.
- Dust in the Wind by Kansas
This song was released January 16th, 1978 written by Kerry Livgren, a band member. The song just started as a simple Fingerpicking exercise by Livgren. His wife loved the sound of it, and deeply encouraged him to write some lyrics for it. Unsure if his band would like it, as it was different from most of the other stuff they would play, he demoed it to his band. It was met by a stunned silence, they were absolutely blown away. The song is ultimately about time, and how death is inevitable, whilst reciting biblical passages from Genesis.
Why learn this song? – It’s a great tune that began as a Fingerpicking exercise. It’s easy to repeat and helps build your finger dexterity. It’s mainly focused on the C Major chord and its different variations, which makes it a good song for beginners. Should you be tempted to practice including vocals into your Fingerstyle Guitar playing, this is another great choice as the vocal line is very conjunct and easy to follow.
Another reason: You’ll absolutely blow your friends away if you can play it. It looks more complicated than it is.
Going About Covering Your Own Fingerstyle Songs!
There’s a simple reason why most people want to learn Fingerstyle Guitar: other artist’s music. It’s enough to make us want to learn how they do it, and how we can make it our own – connecting with what truly made us love the song in the first place. When we hear a Fingerstyle Guitar cover played by Andrew Foy, Eddie Van Der Meer, or James Bartholomew; it makes us fall in love with the song all over again, hearing it in a new light for the first time of many.
Step 1: To get started we need to identify the capo position or the tuning of the guitar, should it need a change. There’s a simple way of going about it – simply look up the tabs for the song, and discover which one fits closest to the sound of the song, or positioning on the fretboard you are looking for. In most cases, you’ll see at the top whether it’s standard tuning or not. Next to that you should also see if a capo is required on a fret. If so, adjust accordingly.
Now should you not have this luxury – it’s going to take a little while longer. You would be best to follow step 2 beforehand.
Step 2: Identify the chords that build the foundation of the song. As done in Step 1 you may go online and look for tabs that give you a chord layout. Find the one you desire. There are a variety of different chord progressions given for most songs – it’s up to you to use your ear to determine which one is best for you.
Now as before, if you do not have this luxury, finding the root note of each chord is a good start to determine the rest of its buildup. Having a chord chart handy is always an asset.
Listening to the chord carefully and playing the notes you believe make the chord whole is recommended. You must use your trained ear. If the notes sound right, but it’s impossible to play together, you may need to involve a capo – likewise if the notes sound a little flat you may also need one.
Step 3: Now that you have your chords figured out, you have the choice to determine whether the notes sound most appropriately strummed, plucked, or arpeggiated. It mostly depends on the type of song your playing. Make sure that whatever you decide that you are making the chords sound full; playing all of the required notes to fill it out.
Step 4: Incorporating melody – how can you best play the chords while adding melody to the mix. Perhaps, if you’re strumming, strum once and follow it up with a melodic line before changing chords and strumming again. If you’re plucking the notes, maybe add a rhythm to it while including some hammer-ons and pull-offs. If the notes are arpeggiated, perhaps figure out how you can continue arpeggiating the notes while simultaneously playing the melodic line! You have plenty of options. If something isn’t working – you’re not able to reach the notes, not appropriate timbre or color you’re looking for… etc. Play the same chord elsewhere on the neck. Transpose it to a higher or lower chord if you must!
Step 5: Including percussion if necessary. That’s a big if. Not all songs necessarily need percussion, it depends on the feeling and song you’re trying to cover. Covering The Scientist by Coldplay wouldn’t require any percussion, but playing Feel Good Inc. by the Gorillaz could!
Percussive options could be as little as thumb tapping on the low E string so it slaps the string against the fretboard creating a tap noise. It could be hitting your palm against the body of the guitar to create a bass kick feel. You could even slap your hand against the strings above the soundhole – muting the vibrations of the strings. That is but the tip of the iceberg what you can attempt to create percussive beats on the guitar.
Those are the essentials when it comes to covering music Fingerstyle. Timing is extremely important to getting the song to sound as it was initially written. Using a metronome can help you in your endeavor to cover a song in your original way. Try listening to the original song a few times at the part you’re working on to maintain accuracy in playing the right notes. If somebody can determine what your song cover is without you needing to say a word, then you know you’ve done a good job!
Note: Try recording yourself playing your cover and listen to it a couple of hours later with fresh ears. Does it sound right? What could be improved?
There comes a point in most musicians careers, where they begin to feel somewhat lost and at a dead end, not knowing how to improve and what steps they need to take to develop further. With Fingerstyle Guitar, the same is true. Rest assured, however, if you find yourself in a musical rut, there is plenty that you can do to improve! Check out these five tips on how to improve your growth when you feel lost.
- Learn the methods of Classical Style guitar music. It will improve your self-discipline, your ability to play the correct notes, on time, and with the proper strength. It’s already determined that picking up an instrument and learning to play can increase your IQ by 7 points. Learning something as complex as Classical Guitar, however, should only boost that even further. Between learning to sight read, understand music theory, and ultimately deepening your understanding of music in general, you’ll only be doing yourself a great service.
- Train your ear. Listen to the radio, and try to replicate what hit songs are being played at the moment. You can start with the melody of a song and once you nail that, try working your way to playing the chords! You even have the option of replicating what the guitar is doing in the song, should there be one. The point is, you want to put yourself on the spot to play things by ear on command. This will ultimately assist you when it comes to covering songs by Fingerstyle Guitar.
- Fingerpicking different patterns. By the use of P, I, M, A, create different and more complex fingerpicking patterns. If you need help, there are plenty of different patterns you can find online; including ones that will teach you to add percussion in between! This will help you adapt to uncomfortable fingerpicking patterns that you are not used to.
- Study different chords. There is a plethora of different chords one may learn on the guitar, or just about any stringed instrument in general. Learning different chords will help build familiarity and adjust to different chord progressions. Should you be interested in writing your own music, this can only enhance that experience. You will have a wide variety of colors to work with, and including a capo the possibilities are endless! Try learning a chord a day. Play it for a few hours, and learn about why the chord is the way it is. What makes the B minor 7th chord a B minor 7th? What does it mean? What are the inversions?
- Learn from the professionals! I’ve already jotted a few names such as, Andrew Foy, Eddie Van Der Meer, and James Bartholomew. You can easily find them on YouTube. They perform seamless covers of popular songs, as well as songs from other genres. If you want to learn how to play professional Fingerstyle Guitar, definitely watch them and incorporate some of their techniques! You’ll be sure to learn a lot and be inspired in the process!
The path to becoming a great Fingerstyle Guitar player is a tough endeavor, but a very fun challenge. It may be some of the most fun you’ll have learning to play acoustic guitar! You’ll develop in not just your skills, but your knowledge and appreciation for music in general. Keep practicing these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to playing some of your favourite music in such a unique raw form.