A waltz is always played in 3/4 time, but are there any other types of music that are associated with specific time signatures?
From the Wikipedia article on Time Signature:
- 4/4: Widely used, rock, country, blues, funk, pop
- 2/2: Marches and musical theater
- 2/4: Polkas and marches
- 3/4: Waltzes, minuets, scherzi, country and western ballads, R&B, pop
- 3/8: Same as above
- 6/8: Double jigs, polkas, sega, salegy, tarantella, marches, barcarolles, Irish jigs, loures, and some rock music (half of all Chevelle songs, seemingly)
- 9/8: Triple jigs, rare (famously used in The Ride of the Valkyries)
- 12/8: Slower blues (shuffle), Do-wop, example: Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin
Do you think specifically about 3/4, or time signatures in general?
Pop, rock and metal are almost always 4/4, and rarely change meter, though there can be exceptions (e.g. Iron Maiden - Number of the beast alternates between 4/4 and 6/4, Oingo Boingo little girls - alternates between 4/4 and 2/4). Great exceptions are postrock and avant-garde metal, where there are no specific rules regarding meter, and changes of meters can be common.
Dubstep (both old school and brostep) are mostly 4/4 (as far as I know), except maybe some post-dubstep, though I can't think of an example right now. And modern electronic dance music is commonly 4/4 (e.g. Trance, EBM, IDM). Though, nothing of this is strictly rule, look for example at chapter about meters in EDM in this book.
Derivatives of drum'n'bass music such as breakcore use variety of different time signatures, and it mostly depends upon the producer. Venetian snares writes his music in 7/4. Igorrr uses in some songs duple meter, while in others triple (e.g. Igorrr & Ruby My Dear - Barbecue), and also their combinations. Lauren Bousfield from Nero's Day At Disneyland alternates between duple and triple meters in many of his songs.
In the Baroque style period (roughly 1600–1750) the rhythms of a number of folk dances from all across Europe were incorporated into instrumental compositions -- at the same time, what we now know as ballet was being developed in France. There are numerous Baroque dances and rhythms. Many great composers wrote famous instrumental pieces called suites which have numerous short movements one after the other, each in a different rhythm and meter associated with a particular dance style. These pieces are still performed today.
This list is from the Wikipedia article on Baroque dance. Click on the link and you can go to individual articles on each of the dance forms in this list to read about the rhythm associated with each.
- Canarie (canary)
- Entrée grave
- Forlane (forlana)
- Menuet (minuet)
Further details of a more musical nature can be found at this Wikipedia article on the Baroque suite.
There is a long list of styles of music with particular distinct rhythms and time signatures at the Wikipedia article on Ballroom Dance. That is to say that these are competition styles of dance, but each dance has its own style of music that goes along with it.
Here is a partial list from that link
Waltz: 3/4 time
Tango: 4/4 time
Viennese Waltz: 3/4 time
Foxtrot: 4/4 time
Quickstep: 4/4 time
Samba: 2/4 time
Cha-cha-cha: 4/4 time
Rumba: 4/4 time
Paso Doble: 2/4 time
Jive: 4/4 time
Boogie-Woogie: 8/8 time ("eight to the bar")
Here is a long and detailed list of many Bulgarian folk dances and styles of music (going back centuries) which make use of various odd-time signatures like 7/8, 11/16, 5/8, and many others.