# Phrase to help count 3 groups of 17?

I'm trying to learn to count 3 groups of 17.

For example, for 2 groups of 11, I came up with:

1-ap-ple-a-day-keeps-the-doc-tor-a-way
2-ap-ple(s)-a-day-keep-the-doc-tor-a-way


What's something similar that I can use for 3 groups of 17? Like:

1-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da
2-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da
3-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da-da-Da


Thanks.

• In each grouping of 17, which beats are emphasized? – jdjazz Jan 11 at 20:48
• normally, unusual counts like 7, 10, 11, etc will be broken up into groups of 2 and 3 – Michael Curtis Jan 11 at 21:45
• sorry, I missed your Da da breakdown of stresses – Michael Curtis Jan 11 at 22:00
• The first example is actually 2 bars of 5/4, so the whole question seems tro be asked under a false premise. – Tim Jan 11 at 22:17
• I'm going cross eyed reading the 'Da-da's I see 3 lines, exact same pattern of 16+1. I'm assuming the "1" "2" "3" starting each line is meant to be the starting downbeat and would be the same as the capital "Da" – Michael Curtis Jan 11 at 22:43

Take a look at poetry written in a 17-syllable meter, for instance:

1    2   3     4  5   6    7  8    9    10 11 12     13  14  15    16  17
Thís is the | fórest pri | méval, the | múrmuring | píne and the | hémlocks

• (Introduction to Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882)

Then for a 1,2,3 pattern, craft your 5 Dactyls (triplets) and the final Trochee (duplet).

1 pretty kitty   eats meat in the morning along with some salmon.
2 pretty kitties eat  meat in the morning along with some salmon.
3 pretty kitties eat  meat in the morning along with some salmon.

• Would "1 pretty kitty eats meat in the morning along with spaghetti..." work too? – Eriek Jan 12 at 6:27
• Yes, works just the same, although my cat doesn't particularly like spaghetti. He is quite fond of the Friskies' chicken and salmon shreds. – Richard Barber Jan 12 at 9:19

If this feels like 4/4 time with an extra beat tagged on at the end, then I would count each measure as:

1-ee-and-uh-2-ee-and-uh-3-ee-and-uh-4-ee-and-uh-5


If you want the pattern to count up and don't need to worry about accenting a particular beat, I would recommend this:

1-ee-and-uh-IS-ee-and-uh-SEV-ee-and-uh-EN-ee-and-uh-TEEN
2-ee-and-uh-IS-ee-and-uh-SEV-ee-and-uh-EN-ee-and-uh-TEEN
3-ee-and-uh-IS-ee-and-uh-SEV-ee-and-uh-EN-ee-and-uh-TEEN


Then, internalize the "ee-and-uh"s so that you don't have to count them out loud. This leaves you with:

1 / / / IS / / / SEV / / / EN / / / TEEN
2 / / / IS / / / SEV / / / EN / / / TEEN
3 / / / IS / / / SEV / / / EN / / / TEEN


If you were to learn this method, it would be easier because you'll only have to count 5 beats, and the rest you will be able to simply feel intuitively.

Another value of this pattern is that, if you are learning to count/feel lots of different odd meters, then you can easily remember which one is 17/8 versus, e.g., 15/8.

If you want the 17 beats in groupings of 3 (so that every third beat is a strong beat), then you could use:

1-and-uh-THIS-and-uh-IS-and-uh-SEV-and-uh-EN-and-uh-TEEN-OH
2-and-uh-THIS-and-uh-IS-and-uh-SEV-and-uh-EN-and-uh-TEEN-OH
3-and-uh-THIS-and-uh-IS-and-uh-SEV-and-uh-EN-and-uh-TEEN-OH


Once you internalize the weak beats (the "and-uh"s), you can count it more easily like this:

1 / / THIS / / IS / / SEV / / EN / / TEEN OH
2 / / THIS / / IS / / SEV / / EN / / TEEN OH
3 / / THIS / / IS / / SEV / / EN / / TEEN OH


What is some-thing sim-il-ar that would fit for three groups of sev-en-teen.

• Wow, synchronicity much? – Eriek Jan 11 at 21:00
• I figured why not try it. I am sure you'll get better answers but I couldn't resist. – ggcg Jan 11 at 21:06

Assuming captial 'Da' is the stress. It's duple and 16+1.

But, a meter like 17/8 seems to obscure the very regular stress given except for the last group.

It seems a mix of 2/4 and 5/8 meters makes the clearest break down of beats and stresses.

2/4 1 + 2 + | 1 + 2 + | 1 + 2 + | 5/8 1 + 2 + a


I'm seeing this as a subdivision of 2 rather than 4. So instead of treating 'Da-da-Da-da' as 1 e & a I reduce that to just Da-da twice which counts as 1 + 2 +. If you had written something like Da-da-ti-da or otherwise differentiated the 1st and 3rd events, then a subdivision of 4 would have been appropriate.

I don't see how the various mnemonics suggested in other answers are supposed to help.

If it's put into meters that reflect your stress pattern, it's not overly complicated, and a mnemonic becomes necessary. Personally, I feel the mnemonic seems to obscure the pattern.

If a mnemonic is really desired, wouldn't it make sense to pick parts of speech to reflect the beat divisions?...

up and down and
left and right and
in and out and
there and back a-gain


... that a pattern of 4 + 4 + 4 + 5 = 17 eighth notes.

Sheet music and notes would make the question more clear

Using 4 times Da-ba-da-ra with a final Da and counting with the fingers of the left hand instead of 1234 - 2234 - 3234 4234 5!) and the right hand counts the lines would make it easy to get along : 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 1=17

1) Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da

2) Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da

3) Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da-ba-da-ra + Da

In jazz counting 8th notes goes Da-ba-Da-ba (where the -ba is creating a swing as the da is longer than the ba.) Thus you might also use this by counting 4 times Da-ba-Da-ba with a final Da! for each line.

• Is "Da-ba-da-ra" a common Swiss method for counting sixteenth-note subdivisions? – Richard Jan 12 at 17:14
• No, I just "invented" it. But I meant Da-ba-Ra-ba, of course , this makes more sense. It' s the way I use to practise chains of groups of 16th notes (ehe variations of an euphonium solo e.g. ot o, I just "invented" it. But I meant Da-ba-Ra-ba, of course , this makes more sense. It' s the way I use to practise chains of groups of 16th notes (e.g.the variations of an euphonium solo, invention nr.8 or the violin concerto of bach). – Albrecht Hügli Jan 12 at 22:58
• . But there is actually a smart method in a swiss school music book that goes likes this: ta - ta - ta -ta = 4 fourth notes ta - te - ta - ta - te .... for 4 eighth notes and ta-ge-te-ge for 4 sixteenth notes. – Albrecht Hügli Jan 12 at 23:00
• I see. I'd never heard of it before, so I just wondered if it was a European thing. Just curious! – Richard Jan 12 at 23:21

Not sure if I understand where you want to put the accents. If it does not matter then I think that I would break down 17 into a nine plus an eight and then further break down the nine to three sets of three and the eight to four sets of two.

So my result would be

Da da da Da da da Da da da Da da Da da Da da Da da

or if counting

1 2 3 |2 2 3 |3 2 3 |1 2 |2 2 |3 2 |4 2

For me this is easier to count in my head or to say out loud.

Using konnakol (you can find many videos on it):

|| ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | taam  . ||
|| ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | tohm  . ||
|| ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | ta ka ta ki ṭa | dheem . ||
`

Quick note: The 't' is dental (close enough to the Spanish/French denti-alveolar 't') and 'ṭ' is retroflex (but can be approximated by alveolar 't' of English).

The period (.) indicates a rest (of unit duration)

Here the difference in the three phrases is at the end, but it could easily be moved to the start.