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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, Or
Posts: 223
Red face notation, and polyrhythms/polymeters?

Seeing as Mr Vai and Mr Zappa get discussed a bit here, and since they have dabbled in these ( ), I figured I might as well ask...

Some of the music I write is polyrhythmic, but I also have some polymetric work as well. A "light" example would be where I have a verse with guitars and bass doing a nice 6/8, drums doing 4/4, and vocals 3/4. Oddly enough, i did not st down and come up with an outline for this... I was playing, and dug the guitar figure. When I started to hear the drums in my head, I then realized they were in 4/4, and as I came up with the vocal line, a waltz feel just clicked. The verse works out so it divides up into 3 complete "turns" through before hitting the chorus. The second turn for the vocals does a semi- System of a Down type thing (Daron Malakian-esque semi-pitched staccato-ish...ya know?), which places the vocals in 6/8 meter...sort of.

I am using Sibelius primarily for transcribing out my work now. I would love to be able to have each instrument line sport it's own time sig, where applicable. I am guessing I will need to screen shot stuff, and photoshop the pieces to have it look the way I want.

Am I simply being nit-picky and stupid? Or should I simply pick one sig, and then offset everything accordingly? Or pen and paper? I never took theory per se, almost 100% learned from other musicians and stuff. Am I even going about this the wrong way?

(I actually have some song sections that are "Dream Theater wet dream compositions" and while being polymetric, instruments will take turns running through various tme sigs, some changing each measure.. 10/8, 7/8, 6/8, 7/8, 8/8, 10/8, back to 4/4..crazy stuff; oddly, it flows quite well)
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: dallas
Posts: 754
Re: notation, and polyrhythms/polymeters?

hmm, i think for notation sake you need to determine a time signature, at least for each section of the song (verse, chorus, etc.). if you have drums doing 4/4, guitars & bass doing 6/8 & vocals doing 3/4, i'd say your time sig is really just 6/8 (vocals are just in half time and your drums are just accenting on off beats). it just makes more sense that way imo. it's really mathematical in a sense. you find the instrument who's time seems to carry that section (usually a melody) and that's usually where the true time signature is.
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