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On Twitter this morning I saw someone challenge the electronic musician Deadmau5 in this fashion:

@deadmau5 challenge: 7/8 3/4 13/16 alternating bar groove. Must be listenable.

He produced this little clip in response. I know the challenge has something to do with the rhythm/meter but I don't really have a strong grasp of it.

Can someone explain the challenge?

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It literally just means create a piece of music where the time signature alternates between 7/8, 3/4, and 13/16 in that order. There's nothing more to it.

Here's a 12 bar score template to give you a better idea of what he means:

enter image description here

As you can see, there are 4 complete 7/8, 3/4, and 13/16 measures. Most likely you would want them together to make one complete idea you can build a song out of.

  • Could it be easier to read/understand if the bottom numbers were all 16? As in 14/16, 12/16 and 13/16? Or would that change the feel? – Tim Jul 28 '15 at 18:37
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7/8 Time would be an irregular time signature (5 and 7)

3/4 Is just plain ol' 3/4

...and 13/16 sounds like something the poster made up. You do get twelve time which is compound quad time but 13 sounds to me like rubbish.

  • I'd probably get someone saying wikipedia proves me wrong and a couple of down vote shortly but still... – Neil Meyer Jul 28 '15 at 15:54
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    Sorry to fulfill your expectation, but time signatures are a description of music, not the other way round. If you compose a piece of music that's has 11 beats to a bar, grouped in a 4, a 4 and a 3, and you want to transcribe it, then f**k it: 11/8 it is! Compound time is usually found as sets of 3s, but not always. Conventions in time signatures follow the fact that it's just the music that most commonly is written. There aren't many songs in 13, that's why you don't see it. No other reason. There aren't rules for what music is "allowed" to exist – Some_Guy Jul 28 '15 at 23:08
  • Generally, for irregular time sigs, things are written as x/4 if there is a strong beat with no strong grouping in the bar and x/8 if there are very clear groups. x/16, can turn up 1)if there's a feel of "groups of groups" (i.e. a beat structure both at the 8th and qtr level) 2) because it looks "faster" than x/8 3)if the bar is meant to feel like an interrupted run of 16ths (based on previous context in the music) e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_signature#/media/… 4)because the composer simply chose 16 for no discernable reason – Some_Guy Jul 29 '15 at 0:09

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