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Sorry, I saw this two days ago but when I tried to find the article back I forgot the title. But I managed to copy and save the excerpt. What is this "Sub-beats are regular beats of duration less than those of their underlying tempo"? Did he talked about subdivisions of a beat? Sorry for my English. Thank you

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  • Googling the quoted text yields nothing. Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 2:11
  • I just dont understand what the excerpt means, so what is that? Is it subdivisions
    – SnoopyKid
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 3:25
  • It's difficult to understand the excerpt without the context. If you can't find the source perhaps it would be more productive if you asked a more specific question about related topic you're interested in. Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 4:01
  • The question was "What do you mean by this "I know of no European musics using rhythmical structures like a metric unit of, say, twenty-four sub-beats being consistently used to produce a complex of simultaneous metres like 3/8, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 (and possible additive asymmetric subdivisions of these) on top of each other." I don't understand about the "twenty four sub-beats" part." Then his response was "Sub-beats are regular beats of duration less than those of their underlying tempo"
    – SnoopyKid
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 4:55

2 Answers 2

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If I understand the question correctly, 6/8 is a good example.

There's always going to be that feel with compound times - that's why they're called compound.

In 6/8, there are two distinct 'feels' to the music as far as count is concerned: 1--2--1--2--, and 123456123456. A sort of 'beats within a beat'.

Otherwise, it's a simple - 4/4 can be subdivided into 24 'sub-beats', in may different (mathematical) ways.

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  • So, he was talking about subdivisions. Correct? Because usually people call that subdivisions, not sub-beats
    – SnoopyKid
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 12:35
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"Underlying tempo" would be better phrased as "underlying meter" in that quote, I dare say. A sub-beat is a smaller unit of rhythm that evenly divides one beat of the underlying meter (so "regular" because it divides that beat into same-length sections). This is synonymous with a subdivision of a beat.

For example, in 4/4 time, one beat is a quarter note, so 8th notes and 16th notes are example sub-beats. In 6/16 time, one beat is actually a dotted 8th note, so 16th notes are sub-beats but 8th notes are not.

Regarding the additional quote in the comments about "a metric unit of, say, twenty-four sub-beats being consistently used to produce a complex of simultaneous metres like 3/8, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 (and possible additive asymmetric subdivisions of these) on top of each other", the same sub-beat/subdivision unit can be used for multiple meters, such as the 16th notes mentioned above being sub-beats of both 4/4 time and 6/16 time. However, actually playing the polyrhythms produced by playing simultaneous meters on top of each other that do not evenly divide each other, such as 2/2 and 3/8, can be quite tricky.

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  • There is no mention of meter in the quote. Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 4:07
  • I think you have the right idea, but it needs some more detail. For example, in 6/16 time a regularly occurring series of quarter notes would also be a sub-beat by the definition given in the OP quote. In 4/4 time, a regularly occurring dotted sixteenth note would also be a sub-beat.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 4:12
  • Sorry for the confusion, the question was "What do you mean by this "I know of no European musics using rhythmical structures like a metric unit of, say, twenty-four sub-beats being consistently used to produce a complex of simultaneous metres like 3/8, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2 (and possible additive asymmetric subdivisions of these) on top of each other." I don't understand about the "twenty four sub-beats" part." Then his answer was "Sub-beats are regular beats of duration less than those of their underlying tempo"
    – SnoopyKid
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 4:56
  • @Aaron - Wait, how does a quarter note evenly divide into 6/16 time, let alone a series of them?
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 5:53
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    @SnoopyKid - Yes, he is. I'll edit my answer to clarify this.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 15:34

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