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I listened Pink Floyd "Money" from the album "Dark Side of the Moon" for a while break after and started to think about Seven Four (7/4) time signature in music theory and how to count it in your mind while playing solo guitar. I've been in Guitar hobby last 25 years till this day towarding my hobby still in run till the end.

I discovered the Web with relevant keywords and there not a much information almost nothing appealing for this topic. Using 2-3-4 -variations I did my own chart and it included with the next appearance:

4+3; 3+4; 2+2+3; 2+3+2; 3+2+2;

Theses duplicate twos or twices is four divided by two, you have to lay your bets on odds what comes to the table.

Perhaps the best paper or the article was sourced down in

https://flypaper.soundfly.com/write/seven-beats-to-heaven-our-ten-favorite-songs-in-74-and-78/

where's the conclusion is "Seven four (7/4) simply means that each measure of music will include seven beats, with the quarter note receiving the beat."

Top-Down -approached charting approach I've done it there's none of any other possibilities to count it but do you have any of exception or the practically tips to give for me how might this be calculated while playing the improvisitaion -based solo guitar for myself to getting totally freedomity, and getting involved with groovy, authentic, unique style to make my match just for my own pleasure?

5 Answers 5

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I was tempted to start my answer by refuting "Seven four (7/4) simply means that each measure of music will include seven beats, with the quarter note receiving the beat". There are exceptions, but anything over 4 beats to the bar normally 'beats' in groups of 2 or 3.

Then I listened to 'Money' and agreed, it IS pretty much 'seven on the floor'. There is sub-grouping (I hear 'Money' as 4+3) but the sub-grouping is a lot less pronounced than e.g. the 2+2+3 of 'Unsquare Dance'.

I'd count 'Money' in 7. I'd count 'Unsquare Dance' in 3, with irregular beat lengths. I'd count any other piece in 7/4 according to how THAT piece went.

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  • Hank Marvin is one of my earliest influencier's guitar sound since Shadows was the first British guitar melody instrumental band after Ventures became from United States (It's offtopic who of thouse came first, so please don't come in it), even I'm 1980 early era birth-newcomer in this world. David Brubeck's Take Five is similiar to 5/4 what comes to time signature and I like to listen and Play version of Hank Marvin's Take Five -arragement for his style-sophisticated released on 15th June down in 1993 Heartbeat Album. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 13:50
  • Daid's perhaps most mainstreamed popular song is 3+2 I always 've counted in on my classical studies. (5/4 = 3+2;2+3:: David Brubeck's Quartet Take Five = 3+2 time signature in count on my mind.) Played that for a lot for myself. It's loudest part of the business audience see in this whole thing, as we as already have known for it. Let's be the musiciasns, not for the mainstreamers! Still making at least some living for that behaviour of our lives! Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 13:55
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It really does depend on the piece you're soloing on. Different septuple-meter pieces and sections often have different emphasis patterns. For example, Yanni's "Keys to Imagination" uses 4-3 or 2-2-3, while his "Marching Season" uses 3-2-2 or 3-4 (note that both Yanni links lead to versions with extensive solos), and Bernstein's "Oh, Happy We" from Candide uses 2-3-2.

When preparing to improvise solos for each of these pieces, and for septuple-meter pieces in general, you should listen to each piece enough times to know which septuple-meter emphasis pattern(s) to use (generally the same emphasis pattern as the piece uses) and which chord progression you're soloing on.

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A short answer is that there is no objective way to do so (and this does not only apply to 7/4 but to any time signature). The answer to this question is really just how you feel it and count it naturally (in my case I feel it as 3+4).

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Most multi-time signatures get split into 2s and 3s more than anything else. With 5/4, it's either 2+3, or 3+2 - nothing much else would do! The usual quoted examples are Mars and Take Five, but let's not forget the breaks in Cream's White Room!

But as you state, 7/4 has a few more solutions. There's not just one that does the job. It depends very much on what the piece is, and how the composer wanted it split.

With Money, you'll hear 3+2+2, or maybe 3+4 as the split, so that's what to go with. Anything else will put emphases in the wrong places.

Unsquare Dance (Brubeck) splits 7/4 into 2+2+3, giving a different feel. But whatever split is involved, the most important (as in all music, actually) is to be well aware of where beat 1 is all of the time.

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    I always heard money as 4+3, it's like 2 bars of 4 but without the last beat. Another listen to the song confirms it for me. There are places in the song where they do play 2 bars of 4, with the last beat, and the groove is largely the same there. Listen to 0:58 "New car, caviar..." Would you describe that as 3+2+3? Doesn't seem right.
    – Edward
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 15:27
  • How would you split Lion Tamer? I hear it as 6/8+4/4, but the Stephen Schwartz collection which was edited by the composer himself suggests 3/4+4/4. Is that likely to make it easier to read?
    – supercat
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 15:37
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Just to augment previous answers: sometimes 7 is a good choice, too. It depends.

How would a drummer spice this up? Polyrhythmically. E.g. while the audible rhythm stays 7/4 (counting 7‘s), you could decide to accentuate, e.g by snare or cymbal, each:

  • 3rd beat
  • each 4th beat
  • each 5th etc.

This results in a repetitive pattern over several bars, wich can be very enticing for the audience.

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