There is a song by the Andrews Sisters from the 1940s whose lyrics talk about a difference between eight-beat rhythm and four-beat rhythm. For example:

The boogie woogie was never like this,

We've got a new beat that no one can miss,

if Boogie woogie sent like I think it did,

Four to the bar will flip your lid.

I do not understand the difference, or why "Little Brown Jug" is a particularly good example of a song which is in four. I thought boogie woogie is in 4/4 time anyway? I would like examples of music which would help me to understand what two types of rhythm the song is talking about and how to hear the difference between them.

  • Little Brown Jug is actually in two time. It could be misconstrued as four, but the count would be very fast.
    – Tim
    May 11, 2014 at 7:24
  • 3
    Enough with the edits on this question which change it from a specific question about jargon specific to a historical period and style of music, to a general uninteresting question about the difference between quarters and eighths. The question was excellently put in its original form. May 11, 2014 at 21:25
  • Back to the future... May 12, 2014 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


Like @Codeswitcher says, it's about the implied rhythm. The characteristic walking bass of a boogie woogie will imply a rhythm in eights. If you listen to Bounce me brother with a solid four, the piano in the beginning is emphasizing the quarter notes instead. You can imagine that song being played with a boogie woogie bassline to appreciate the difference.


Apparently the expression "eight to the bar" is the term for the "beat" (well, that's what they called it) characteristic of boogie woogie, which is actually a style of bass accompaniment. See Wikipedia's page on boogie woogie for a discussion of this and example bass lines. The "eight to the bar" means it's all in eighth notes. I'm gathering that the "solid four", in contrast, is a bass line in quarter notes. I don't get the impression that by "beat" they meant anything to do with the drum part or the meter.


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