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54

A time signature is simply the composer's way of telling you how s/he is subdividing the measure. So in 4/4 time, the composer imagines the measure divided into four beats, while in 8/8 time, the composer imagines the measure divided into eight beats. The difference is less in the strict timing and more in the feel or pulse of the music. Try counting ...


30

Go for a walk. Count each step, in twos or fours. Tread heavier on the ones. One two One two One two One two One two three four One two three four They feel different, don't they? This is the difference. And yet there is an equivalence between them. Walk at the same tempo, but count to four twice as fast, so you're stepping on the One and the three. One ...


15

"Crotchet" is the British term for quarter note. A "Minim" is a half note and a "quaver" is an eighth note. 3/4 is a time signature. More specifically, it is simple, triple time. The top number in this time signature indicates that there are three beats in each measure. The bottom number (below the slash) means that one beat is defined as a quarter note, ...


14

I recommend listening to Dave Brubeck's Time Out. That whole record is an exploration of odd time signatures and unusual ways of subdividing rhythms, but in a way that still swings. Three of the more famous tracks, for example, are: "Blue Rondo a la Turk": This is in 9/8, which is an old time signature dating back to the Baroque period, used when a ...


14

I'm quite used to it by now, my point being that at one point, you can sort of feel this rhythm patterns. However, when you start a new time signature, it's good to break the bar up in smaller pieces. For instance, you can count a 7/8 as 2 times 2 and 1 time 3. Just tap your foot on the 1 when counting in your head the following pattern: 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3. ...


13

The song "Killing Me Softly (With His Song)", by Roberta Flack and re-made by The Fugees, which your linked piano tutorial would (kind of) fit with, is in 4/4 time like most pop songs. The rhythm would be three eighth notes, one dotted quarter, one non-dotted quarter. In pseudo-notation: * * * * * 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ... for ...


13

Using only your ears, it's impossible to determine the exact time signature the composer would have used when writing the score. This is because there are many ways to write the same thing, all of which sound the same when played. For example, a piece written in 3/4 time can easily be re-written in 3/8 time by halving all the note values and playing it half ...


12

The other answers are all essentially correct, but I think a critical point is missing. There aren't just fully "strong" and fully "weak" beats; there are also beats of medium strength (and other varieties). 4/4 is emphasized like this: ONE two three four Note the half-accent on the third beat, different from what slim mentioned. If you're playing ...


12

After a quick listen I see no reason not to just use 4/4. The beat is definitely even, so whatever time signature you go with you should stick with or at least similar times (e.g., 2/2). You certainly shouldn't be switching signatures almost every measure. It's hard to say where you went wrong here, especially since you didn't describe your method, but ...


11

These numbers are time signatures. In brief, they tell you how many beats are in a measure. (This answer might not work as well for people not familiar with music that doesn't have a strong rhythmic component.) To start this off, think of a waltz. You might count it out like this: One two three one two three (and so on). That's 3/4 time; each measure is ...


11

Whilst even time-sigs are far more common that odd ones, once the 'feel' of a tune is running, most people will go with the flow. Even when there is a change of time in the middle of a line, most people don't spot it. Having sung/played 'The 12 Days of Christmas' (topical !) for many years, it took me by surprise when I looked at the music; the time changed ...


10

These two time signatures both indicate simple triple time (also known as waltz time). They are mainly used in the same genres: Formal dances such as waltzes, minuets, mazurka, and scherzi Country, R&B Western ballads sometimes pop All of these genres commonly use simple triple time i.e they have three beat per measure (usually with the first beat ...


8

For the most part, the time signature indicates what kind of feel the beat of the piece has. Consider waltzes, usually written in 3/4 – the beat goes ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two three. Although you could write it as ONE two three, FOUR five six, ONE two three, FOUR five six with a time signature of 6/4, there's no point because the beat still ...


8

Try and fully understand what rhythm you are working towards - and if necessary tap it out on a drum or something else so you can feel the beat. If you can describe it as 4/4 6/8 or standard structure then it should be straightforward. If you can't time it physically, you will have problems getting it into a DAW. Assuming you can do it audibly and make the ...


8

Even if a large orchestra in rehearsal is not getting a verbal count-off, the meter is stil getting set up by the conductor visually--it's just that in many cases the conductor won't bother giving more than a single cue because the ensemble doesn't need it. Certainly if it's fast asymmetric and mixed meter music, you'll see something a bit more active from ...


8

The way this band is approaching odd times is by adding the remainder to some kind of easily digestible time signature. In terms of 17/16, they're playing it like 4/4, but adding one sixteenth to the end of the beat. The 9/8 thing is the same as adding an extra 8th note to the end of a 4/4 bar. This way you get the rhythm of 4/4 then they create tension ...


8

The history goes that religious music was written in 3 time, reflecting the holy trinity.So a circle would be used. When music was written in 4 time, a BROKEN circle would be used. This over time became printed as a C. So it represents 4/4, but doesn't actually stand for 'common'.As above, when split, it means split time - 4/4 but played with a 'two' feel.


8

I would say that the specific name is "experimental." My feeling is that it comes from the school of thought that attempts to turn the back on musical tradition and come up with something new. There's a certain arrogance to it in my opinion (famously, Schönberg said upon coming up with his rather superficial tone-row concept that he had assured the ...


7

I'm a big, big fan of odd time signature. The thing is, there is not really any theory that I know of, it's all notation and counting/feeling, and notation is convention. Basically, the idea is you have a X/Y time signature, meaning you have X elements of value Y (generally 1/4 or 1/8 notes). That's about it. While Bryan's answer is perfectly valid, my ...


7

Things are getting way off-topic here (although it's a fascinating discussion). The initial question was: "What is the theory behind not playing in the usual 4/4 time"? Who says 4/4 time is "usual"? Most musical phrases and thus time signatures are ultimately based on dance rhythms. Surely you've heard of the waltz? it's in 3/4 time. The minuet is in 6/8 ...


7

You need to understand that flamenco rhythm is very different from classical or popular music (it has more in common with Indian Classical music and the concept of "Tala"). All flamencos talk about rhythm using the notion of "compas" - these are rhythmic "styles", that include a time structure, as well as a feel and a usual tempo. For example, Bulerias ...


7

There's no absolute rules as to when a composer should use one over the other - it often comes down to the tempo and feel of the music, but it is subjective. I've (for better or worse) seen Presto 3/4 pieces that go much faster than some 3/8 pieces. The big difference in terms of timing is that 3/8 is mainly used as a compound time, whereas 3/4 is most ...


7

If a computer plays them, they are the same. However, it may influence how a human player interprets it, even if they don't know anything about what it meant historically, because all those extra beams will make the score look thicker, less spacious, and the notes seem to be more connected. A good player should be able to find a working interpretation ...


7

I believe that the person a step beyond a layman would be the most likely to interpret an odd meter as a mistake, however, there are many factors that weigh in here. First of all, we have to say that our layman is of the Western music persuasion, as odd meters are very common in other cultures (including some that fall very near the Western tradition). The ...


7

There are many more time signatures. Just use the ones in the "Popular" list, because those are probably the only popular ones that are not in your list. Popular: 2/2 (very, very popular) 3/2 6/4 (very popular) Other time signatures: 4/2 (Schuber Impromptus Op 90 No 3) 7/4, 9/4, 10/4, and 14/4 (all used in this song, but I forgot the name). x/16 (used ...


7

The purpose of "Cut Time" is not to reduce the use of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in a piece, it is to facilitate easier reading for musicians. Simple metric durations (e.g. 1-4) are much easier to calculate and respond to than, let's say, 32nd notes, which take just a moment longer to interpret because of the additional visual stimulus. When a player ...


7

The 107 defines the tempo(speed) of the song. If you see a metronome, you'll see that you can determine the speed. The speed of the specific song is 107 bpm (beats per minute). Also, you can see that the duration of the note is a quarter. That means that if you set your metronome at 107 bpm, every tic would be a quarter. So, the correct name for this would ...


7

I'm guessing this is from guitar tab, with 6 lines. The 6/8 really means 2 beats per bar, made up with 3 triplet quavers (1/8 notes). This will give each bar only 2 beats, despite numbers like 6 and 8.The tempo mark found above tells how many b.p.m. (beats per minute) the tune should be played at, In this case, 107. A metronome can be set to this, and every ...


7

I think the author of that Wikipedia page has rather misinterpreted Nancarrow's title page for the Study (linked on Roland Bouman's comment to the question). (1/√π)/√⅔ refers to a tempo ratio between two voices, not a time signature. Nancarrow was rather obsessed with canons. The canon is a form where multiple voices each play the same music at some time ...



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