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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-14-2001, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 84
Help with time signatures.

Hey Jem7VWH,how about some lessons on time signatures.I've been searching now for a long time but I haven't found any lessons that explain them properly.

Also,some examples of songs in diff. time signatures would be nice to get a feel for them.

I know how 4/4 and 3/4 sound but how about more complex odd meters like 13/16,7/8 etc.How do they sound and how do you work with them?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-14-2001, 10:21 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Help with time signatures.

well, this will come up in later lessons as we move on into the intermediate levels but let me just say this
a time signature will often *look like this

4
4

or
7
8

The top number of the signature tell us how many beats are in a measure. *The bottom number tells us what sort of note gets one beat. *In 4/4, there are four beats in a measure and a quarter note gets one beat. *In 7/8 there are 7 notes per measure and an 8th note gets one beat and so on. *This is an easy way to figure out what they're telling you. *In terms of how each time signature should feel, that's going to take more time and consideration later on. *Hope this helps a little.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-14-2001, 01:36 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 165
Help with time signatures.

Briefly... time signatures are just fractions. *4/4 is the same as 8/8 which is the same as 16/16 and that's the same as 32/32 ect...

If you want to play in 13/16 simply count:
1 e n a 2 e n a 3 e n a 4 1 e n a 2 n a 3 e n a 4 ect..

For 7/8 try
1 2 3 1 2 3 4 or 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sev (don't say seven because it has two syllables, which may confuse you and you'd end up playing in 4/4!)

Hope this helps a bit. *Remember count EVERYTHING you play. EVERYTHING. I just saw a Jordan Ruddess/Morganstein concert. Jordan even conducts to himself when he's not playing. Conducting will give you a visual representation of which beat you're on.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-14-2001, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 84
Help with time signatures.

ok,so how do I know the way to count in diff. meters?

eg.where do I use

1 2 3 4
1 and 2 and 3 and 4
1 e and 2 e and 3 e and 4

and whatever other variations there are?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-14-2001, 05:42 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 165
Help with time signatures.

This will vary depending on the time signature and tempo of the song. Generally If you're couting quarters or eighth notes use 1 2 3 4 ect. *For a time signature like 13/16 it's not very practicle to count to 13 since 11 & 13 both have more than one syllable and at faster tempos you'll get tongue tied. *

Does that help? Remember any time signature can be divided into groups of 2 and 3. *With those two numbers you can count anything.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2001, 03:20 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 101
Help with time signatures.

With complex time signatures, when you can't divide the number per 3 or 2 (example 11/16, 7/8 ecc.), you have to decide how to divide the bar, in other words where to put the accents. If you have 11/16 for example you may divide it 1234+1234+123 so you will have two groups of four notes and the last one of three, this off course means that the last accent will be colser to the next one than the previous ones. Or you may chose 1234+123+1234. The same goes with 5/8 (3+2 or 2+3) and 7/8 (3+2+2 or 2+3+2 or whatever). So how you divide it? Well usually it's the way the music is written.
If you read 5/8 and there are groups of eigth notes written III II, III II, III II this off course mean you have to divide the bar 3+2. Always relate to regular signatures. Irregular signatures simply are regular ones *without some beats or with more beats. For example you can imagine 5/8 like a simple 6/8 without the last eigth note. It's a bit difficult to eplain in words. Anyway the thing you have to do is always decide how you are going to divide the bar in group of two three of four notes like i've said before. If you want to practice complex time signatures simply buy some book by Dream Theater, there you will find a lot of this stuff. They are way simplier than it seems...
Hope this helps
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2001, 07:43 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kentucky
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Help with time signatures.

You wanted an example of something unusual? *"Windows to the Soul" is in 11/8. *Try to keep track of the beat on that.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2001, 10:21 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Help with time signatures.

To count something like windows to the soul I'd count:
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2

Again, you CAN count any time signature with 3's and 2's. *I'm not sure what you meant yuza, you started out saying that you can't divide some time signatures into 2's and 3's and then basically proceeded to explain how to do so.
:idunno:
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-15-2001, 11:21 PM
 
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Help with time signatures.

that's the nice thing about meter, no matter how complex it's worked up to be, all western music can pretty much be reduced to sums of 2s and 3s. *
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2001, 12:04 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 101
Help with time signatures.

I'm sorry dwswift, my english is not perfect and so perhaps i kinda mess the things up in writing what i had in mind. What i meant is this...
Let's imagine i'm playing to a metronome.... if i'm in 12/8 (12 cand be divided per 3) i can divide each beat of the metronome in three equal parts. This means that each beat has the value of three eight notes. If i'm in 4/4 i can divide each beat in two... this meaning that every beat has the value of two eighth notes. Basically time signature can be divide in two great folders.
The first is simple signatures (4/8, 3/4, 4/4 ecc.) in other words all the signatures where you usually divide the beat per 2 (4/4= II II II II, 3/4= II II II). And composite signature (12/8, 9/8, 6/16) where you usually divide beat per 3 (12/8= III III III III, 9/8 = III III III).
Now let's take complex time signatures like 5/8 or 7/8.
Here you can't divide every beat per the same number.
Let's imagine we are playing with a metronome.... every beat has the value of two eighth notes. We are in 7/8 . So first beat..II, second beat... II, third beat.... II now we can't play two notes in the last beat otherwise we'd play in 8/8. So we can't play this to a metronome because the last beat should be shorter... the half of the previous ones exactly. Now one can ask.... why don't we set the metronome so that every beat is a eighth note and simply count 1234567 eighth notes?
In fact you can do this when the whole piece is in the same time signature. But if the signature changes and the tempo is not VERY slow this won't be very pratical. Imagine fo example we have 2/4.... we'll set the metronome with a beat= a quarter note..... then, some bars later in the same piece, we encounter 5/8. When we get to the complex time signature the metronome will only make a mess, since we can't divide every beat in the same way, like i've already explained before.
But we know that the eight notes have the same value (last for the same time) *in the two time signatures (unless it's otherwise indicated in the sheet of music).
So we must keep to have in mind the eighth notes, with the difference that in 2/4 we'd arrange them II II, while in 5/8 we'll arrange them either III II or II III. In fact the 5/8 bar is longer than the 2/4 (always supposing that it's indicated that the eighth notes have the same value in the two signatures) because we have five eighth notes instead of four, and so the metronome will be pretty much useless in this case.
A good example for this is Dream Theater's "Learning to live" :read:. At a certain point we have an alternation between 12/8 and 11/8. We can play with a metronome the first bar but not the latter, unless we don't set the metronome to a beat=a eighth note...... but that won't be very useful because we'll have to set it at 288 bpm!:shocked:
So we'll keep counting eighth notes in our mind and we'll divide the first bar III III III III and the second one III III III II.
It will be VERY simpler to explain if i had a way to write in musical notation.....
Well... i hope i wrote it down in a comprehensible way!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2001, 12:42 PM
 
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Help with time signatures.

Yuza, you did a fine job with your explantion. *You're english is excellent.*Far better than my Italian!

I have to disagree with your explaination. *Metronomes can be useful in counting any time signature. *I'll use 7/8 as an example. *

Tap quarters with your left hand. *This will act as your metronome. Keep it steady.

Now tap eighth notes with your right hand. *Count to seven (using sev instead of seven). *

You should notice the first, third, fifth, and seventh eighth notes falling on the down beat for the first bar. *For the second bar the second, fourth, and sixth eighth notes fall on the down beat. *This pattern will alternate indefinately.

If my explanation made sense :loco: ...you should be able to see how a metronome can be beneficial with any meter. *You must learn to feel as well as count.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-16-2001, 03:32 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 101
Help with time signatures.

Yes you are right! You can count anything with a metronome.... the only problem is that, if you count that way, the beat of the metronome won't fall on the accent. And there is also another problem.... if you have two bars 12/8 for example, then a bar 11/8, and other two bars 12/8 you can't count that way or you will blow your brain off!. The way you have explained is ok for polymetric rythms.... there's a classical guitarist called Dusan Bogdanovic who has done a lot of interesting music using polymetric signatures. By the way I've found a way simplier way to explain what i meant in my first post.
Regular signatures are the ones that can be divided in ALL group of three or ALL group of two notes. Irregular signatures are the ones where you have to *use groups of both two and three notes (5/8 7/8 ecc.)
By the way... i find the topic very interesting... combination of regular and irregular signatures sound great!
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