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Most of the sources I've seen talk about 6/8 or even 3/4, but I totally feel like I'm listening to a 4/4 with triplets everywhere, and even more, 4/4 would mean about 120bpms if 1/4=1bpm, which has more sense I believe for the tempo of the song

Where am I wrong?

Let's analyze it deeply, because it is not trivial

Capture (as formatting does not seem to work)

So my problem is what is considered a beat. Because you can either pick both first asterisk line and second asterisk line. If you pick the first one, them in my view:

  • Bass is 2/2
  • Main feel 4/4 implying aprox. 120 bpms
  • 1/8 does not exist, as they use triplets, it would be in theoretical something like 6/6
  • 1/16 does not exist, guitar is purely theoretically something like 12/12

If you pick second asterisk line as main beat, then

  • Bass is purely theoretically 2/1.5 (OMG)
  • Drum feel is purely theoretically 4/3
  • Main beat is 6/4 (or 3/4) implying aprox. 180 bpms
  • Guitar is 12/8

If you pick bass as main beat, then

  • Bass is 2/4 implying aprox. 60 bpms
  • Drum feel is 4/8 ¿?
  • Alternative groove is purely theoretically 6/12
  • Guitar is purely theoretically 12/24

If you pick guitar as main beat, then

  • Bass is purely theoretically 2/0.5 xD
  • Drum feel is pure theoretically 4/1
  • Alternative groove is 6/2
  • Guitar is 12/4 implying 360 bpms xD

Is this something arbitrary or am I tremendously wrong in my premises?

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Wow I'd die for that experience, please tell us more about conclusions!... They deserve a Music StackExchange tag on their own xD –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 17:20
    
Orlando, Florida circa 1995 on the "Talk" tour. Another fan presented them with a sheet music piano-vocal arrangement of "Close to the Edge" that had been printed in the 70s and asked for them to autograph it. They seemed unaware that such a thing had ever been published. –  Wheat Williams Aug 10 '13 at 18:47
    
off-topic: You seem to know them well. I've been looking for ages a source of any kind to venture into their composition methodology and process. Do you know where could I find these information/lesson? –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 18:50
    
Google me and send me a regular email. –  Wheat Williams Aug 10 '13 at 19:04
    
The lower number in a time signature shows the SORT of notes used. In 4/4 there are 4 crotchets, or quarter notes in U.S. Often called one beat notes. When the feel is quicker, the bottom number changes to 8, as in eighth notes, or half a beat. –  Tim Aug 11 '13 at 9:01

2 Answers 2

Hello I'd try to answer your question ok?

  • First of all I can tell you that you use some grammar mistakes like 4/3 or 6/6, so maybe you should express your thoughts using a common musical language.

  • I don't know if you're talking about the intro or other parts of the song... for example the part of "i get out..." is 4/4 for sure.

  • more things... sometimes is difficult to determine if a song is in 2/4 or 6/8, it can change 'cos sometimes you can play in "swingie" groove and become 6/8 and later on play it on funky style and become 2/4 (without changing the tempo)... do you know what I mean?

  • You have to understand that all the music is organized sound, so "writing" is quite anachronic itself. Indonesia, japan, thailand, arabian countries, india... they have other kinds of writing music... and still everything is music, and sound, and tempo... And this has to be understood and performed by musicians that need the skill of playing properly. So, the question "witch is the time signature of..." sometimes it hasn't one single answer, 'cos there's such music as musicians... I told you before... I can listen a song and think it's 2/4, and you can think it's 6/8... and WE BOTH WILL BE RIGHT, because maybe I am listening the bass player (how loves funky music), and you are listening the drummer (who loves swing music)... Groove can't be written at all, 'cos it depends on who is playing and who is listeining (and its brains bla bla). A paper with "music" can't contain itself this information. Anyway I must say that the case of "close to the edge" is especially difficult 'cos they where amazing musicians and (keeping with the previous example) while one is playing swingie, the other one is playing funky... they only have to main beat to be unite... so they can create this wonderful polyrithmic groove.

ANALISING THE SONG

  • first of all I must say that the different musicians play different time signature SIMOULTANIOUSLY so, it's impossible to say "they are all playing x/x all the time"... as I said, they follow the main beat all the time.

If i had to write the sheet of this song i'd say:

MINUTE 1 to 3 bass: (most important) 3/4 drums and piano: 6/8 guitar: just crazy stuff but I'd say 3/4 EXCEPT THE FIRST "AAAAH" part witch is 2/4

MINUTE 3 TO 4: all musicians 6/4

MINUTE 4 TO 4:38. bass: keeps on 6/4 piano: just weird noises like morse code? xD guitar: 6/8 drums: that's the funny part. he changes 3/4 and 6/4 in some parts changing the fills... so the listener can get temporary deorientated

The part of: Down at the edge, round by the corner,

3/2 + 6/4

Not right away, not right away.

6/4 + 6/4

Close to the edge, down by a river,

3/2 + 6/4

Not right away, not right away.

6/4 + 6/4

minute 5 to 5:49 drums: 3/2 piano: morse to me bass and guitar just made weird stuff following the beat but i'd say they make 3/2 too

minute 5:49 to 6:12

Down at the end, round by the corner.

3/2 + 4/2

Close to the edge, just by a river.

2/2 + 5/2

Seasons will pass you by.

5/2

I get up, I get down.

3/8 + 3/8 + 4/8 + 3/8

Now that it's all over and done,

7/8

Now that you find, now that you're whole.

7/8

MINUTE 6.10 to 6:54 bass is the most important in this part. he makes a 12/2 to me. i'd say that drums make 6/2 guitar 24/8 (6/8 four times)

My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love.

4/2 + 2/2

It changed as almost strained amidst clear manna from above.

2/2 + 4/2

I crucified my hate and held the word within my hand.

2/2 + 4/2

There's you, the time, the logic, or the reasons we don't understand.

2/2 + 4/2

instrumental: 3/4 + 3/4 + 3/4 + 3/4

MINUTE 6.54 TO 7:15

the change 3/4 and 6/4 subsequently

MINUTE 7.16 to 7:46

Sudden problems shouldn't take away the startled memory.

3/2 + 3/2

All in all, the journey takes you all the way.

3/2 + 3/2

As apart from any reality that you've ever seen and known.

3/2 + 6/2

MINUTE 7:46 TO 8:03. the same than minute 5:49 to 6:12

MINUTE 8:03 TO 8:33 (A M A Z I N G part and an example of the creativity of yes) Bass and guitar 8/2 piano: (and it's amazing). he makes 6/4 to me, buf off the beat... like cannon drums: he barely makes any fill (only the beat), but it'd say he makes 4/2...

III. I Get Up, I Get Down PART ALL 4/4 till minute 14:22

MINUTE 14:22 TIL 16 (also amazing) drums: outstanding skilled... bruford plays 3/4, but sometimes he goes to the main beat and performs 6/8, and then comes back to 3/4 or even 6/4 bass: 6/8 (or 2/4 with swing xD) like crazy just following the beat guitar: 3/4 but in some parts 6/8

the part IV. Seasons Of Man minute 16 to 16:50 all the performers play 3/4

the part "On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley" i consider it is on 3/2... you can feel it listeing to the drummer.

Close to the edge, down by the river.

3/2 + 4/2

Down at the end, round by the corner.

2/2 + 5/2

Seasons will pass you by,

4/2

Now that it's all over and done,

7/4

Called to the seed, right to the sun.

7/4

Now that you find, now that you're whole.

6/4 + 4/2 --> (NO WORDS!)

Seasons will pass you by,

5/2

I get up, I get down.

3/8 + 3/8 + 4/8 + 3/8

9/8 (instrumental part)

I get up, I get down.

3/8 + 3/8 + 4/8 + 3/8

9/8 (instrumental part)

I get up, I get down.

3/8 + 3/8 + 4/8 + 3/8

9/8 (instrumental part)

I get up.

OH DAMN, I think I had a couple of orgasms while analysing this song. if i am wrong in any part please just tell me!

LOVE ;)

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Nice answer Thank you!!!! It fits me everything but one thing. When you say drums are in 3/4 and guitar is 6/8, I feel like drums in 4/4 and guitar in 6/8 (being both /4 and /8 totally unrelated, former on 110bpms and later on 150bpms if any) –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 19:34

6/8 is 2/4 with triplets, and this sounds to me like 4/4 with triplets, making it 12/8. 3/4 it's not. As far as tempo is concerned, if you're a guitarist or bassist, you should have your own metronome !! However, it's close to 113bpm. It fluctuates a bit though.

You seem confused as to how tempos are counted. A 4/4 song uses 4 beats per bar. How fast those 4 beats are counted gives the tempo in bpm (beats per minute).The number of individual beats is immaterial, though. At, say, 60 bpm, each beat will keep in time with a ticking clock. That's one beat per second. Double up to 120 bpm, and you'll count 2 beats per second.

Because there are triplets involved, each beat is sub-divided into 3. I say each beat, as that is what constitutes the formula for bpm., not each individual triplet.So at,say, 120bpm,3 triplets would be used up for each beat. It's not a good idea to try and work out 'how many milliseconds'each note is.Just feel the beat, and sub-divide.

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Shouldn't it be then in that approach 12/16? What is your 1/4 level ? Bass? If you think its close to 120 bpms, then you are assuming same 1/4 level as me for main beat, what means that IMHO during 4 beats you get 12 1/16 but no 1/8's as 1/8's don't exist.. wow I'll reformulate the question –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 16:58
1  
I vote for 12/4 –  Wheat Williams Aug 10 '13 at 17:05
    
Then I assume you think the lead beat is howe, which means the song is over 300 bpms –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 17:32
    
1/16 notes aren't used in time signatures, but 1/8 notes are !! –  Tim Aug 10 '13 at 17:58
    
I would not be surprised if Yes broke any established rule for intepreting or writing down music xD –  user1352530 Aug 10 '13 at 18:01

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