Questions tagged [meter]

The rhythmic organization of music into regularly recurring measures dictated by a time signature.

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34
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6answers
64k views

Polymeter vs Polyrhythm

What is the difference between a polymeter and a polyrhythm? Do these words mean anything different for different instruments? PS: I'm a drummer.
32
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9answers
17k views

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

When I started as a beginner on the piano I just timed the notes by feeling. That is, until my teacher played back a recording of me to show me just how messed up my timings were. Since then I've ...
31
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8answers
4k views

Aldous Huxley and 5/4 Meter in Music Predating "Take 5"

Background: "Take 5" by Paul Desmond (and famously recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet) is one of the more famous jazz standards out there, and one thing any analyst would point out ...
30
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5answers
7k views

How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?

I need help understanding anacrusis (pickup notes). I'm no musician - I'm more of an anthropologist. I was reading some articles on ethnomusicology, and one of them makes reference to anacrusis in ...
16
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4answers
4k views

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

It seems my musical journey's always pushing me into left field territory when it comes to notation ... So this time I'd like to know what would be a good way to notate a consistent switching of time ...
16
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7answers
7k views

Why must the final bar complete the anacrusis?

The Wikipedia page for anacrusis states that Western standards for musical notation often include the recommendation that when a piece of written music begins with an anacrusis, the composer, ...
15
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9answers
4k views

Intended shift of meter in certain songs?

In pop music, there are some songs that pretend to have the beat accent at a certain time in the intro but with percussion coming in, the beat (apparently) shifts the meter such that you have the ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Does Chinese music avoid counting in 4s?

Many East Asian cultures consider the number 4 to be unlucky, because their words for that number are highly homophonic to the word for death. Quite often you will see companies skipping the number 4 ...
14
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3answers
476 views

Just how specific is the term "hemiola"?

In Name and structure of staggering beat in Ramones' “Merry Christmas,” the rhythm in the second measure of the following example is described as a hemiola: But to me, these are just triplets and not ...
13
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13answers
8k views

Is it hopeless in terms of becoming decent musicians, if they can't count beats?

My flesh-n-blood guitar teacher has tried to get me to count beats (verbally or at minimum in my mind), and I think that I've tried reasonably hard in doing so for few months now. However I've come to ...
12
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6answers
1k views

How does the bottom number of the time signature affect counting?

I have learnt all the complicated mathematics subjects in my school, but that bottom number, I can't understand. Ok, the notation will be different, and it will say what kind of note gets the beat, ...
12
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3answers
10k views

What is the importance of tempo and time-signatures?

What is the importance of tempo and time-signatures? Aren't tempo and time-signatures all interchangeable? 4/8 at 60 BPM can be also described as 4/4 at 120 BPM. Can't a 60 BPM tempo be transcribed to ...
12
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7answers
3k views

Can't feel meter when playing

I can't feel the meter when playing along very well, sometimes not at all. Note I can feel the "pulse" just fine. I have no problem tapping my foot to the beat in time but I can't feel where the one ...
12
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5answers
5k views

What exactly is a beat in sheet music/music?

A quick google search will reveal common answers, such as, beat is a steady "pulse" of music, beat is the foundation of rhythm, or beat is a basic unit. However, to me these are vague answers and I ...
12
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5answers
29k views

What is and what is not syncopation

I'll often hear tunes in which the first note is upbeat and the second is downbeat. When is it syncopation and when is it not? For one of many examples, take "Amazing Grace." The "A-" is a weak ...
11
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5answers
5k views

Why do you need meter in music?

The music score clearly specifies the length of all notes. So once you know how long a quarter note should last, for example, you already know the tempo and timing of entire score. So why would you ...
10
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7answers
6k views

Why is 3/4 a simple meter while 6/8 is a compound meter?

These two meters sound very much alike to me and they can often be used interchangeably. For example: it's a trivial thing to change the meter of "An der schönen blaue Donau" from 3/4 to 6/8. ...
10
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4answers
15k views

How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4?

How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4 ? For example, consider this song : For the first line , I can count 1,2,3 ,1,2,3 ,1,2,3 ,1,2,...
10
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2answers
481 views

What is it called when a sequence of notes lands on a different beat every measure?

Meshuggah does this a lot, where they will have say a 5 note sequence in 4/4. It will look like this if each note is given a number: 1234|5123|4512|3451|2345|1..
10
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3answers
394 views

Is there a term for metric equivalence analogous to "enharmonic" for pitch equivalence?

Key signatures, chords, scales, and phrases are said to be enharmonically equivalent if they contain the same pitches, but are notated differently. Is there an analogous term to express that time ...
10
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1answer
279 views

End Accents in Other Cultures

Disclaimer: It's difficult mixing terminology between Western and non-Western musics, but I'll try to make my question as clear as possible. Western Classical music most often has an accent at the ...
9
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2answers
693 views

Reinforcing meter when dealing with alternating 1/8 and 1/16 notes and rests

Below is an excerpt from a not very known piece (in 4/4 time) that prominently features abuses ornament notes: In an attempt to simplify the piece (which is full of similar ornamentation) while ...
9
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2answers
618 views

Why is meter divided into simple and compound types?

From what I understand, Simple Meter -- divisible by twos Compound Meter -- divisible by threes Why do we choose 2 and 3? Why not n divisions?
9
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6answers
8k views

Songs that move between 6/8 and 4/4?

I am trying to do this for something I've written (4/4 in verse, 6/8 in chorus) but it's difficult to get in and out of smoothly, so I'm wondering how other people have tackled this. For my song, if ...
8
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2answers
753 views

How to write a pickup measure with 5/16 duration in Lilypond?

I'm trying to write sheet music for a piece with a pickup measure of 5 sixteenth notes. Lilypond has the \partial command for this, but it only accepts a single duration. That duration may be dotted, ...
8
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3answers
374 views

Fracanapa tango meter and how to write it

This is the first measure of the accordion part of Fracanapa, a Tango from Astor Piazzolla (you can easily find it on YouTube). In the first 19 measures the meter of the accordion part is 3,3,2 and ...
8
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3answers
589 views

Can beats in fractional meters be grouped? If so, are the groups integers or not?

I learned recently that time signatures can be fractional in the top number. For example, 2.5/4 meter. For normal time signatures, they have integer grouping structures. For example, 4/4 meter has a ...
8
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4answers
578 views

Metric Modulation: Length of 'swing' notes

I just exported a Piano score from Sibelius with a swing feel: I wanted to edit the MIDI in my DAW and noticed, that the notes actually weren't in a triplet duration. The second note was always off ...
7
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4answers
613 views

Is 7/8 an example of measured rhythm or metrical rhythm?

Wikipedia provides the following definitions: Metrical rhythm, by far the most common class in Western music, is where each time value is a multiple or fraction of a fixed unit (beat, see paragraph ...
7
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3answers
9k views

Stress in music

I am currently reading up on songwriting and am confused by the idea of stress in music. I understand it will be necessary to match the lyrics word stress with the music beat stress but dont know how ...
7
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2answers
382 views

Orchestral score has inconsistent time signature changes and note lengths

I'm learning music notation and as both a fan and enthusiast I bought the Star Trek: The Motion Picture film score from Omni Music Publishing. Unfortunately, I've encountered a confusing bit of ...
7
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1answer
132 views

What is meant by "quarter = half" when changing tempo?

What is meant by the following indications when changing tempo: " In 4 quarter = 126" and later "In 2 quarter = half"
6
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5answers
1k views

Are there situations where a time signature is unknown?

My understanding is that a time signature like 4/4 time is known because certain beats are emphasized, for example: ONE, two, three, four. But let's say someone created a song with tempo alone (ie ...
6
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5answers
8k views

How does 'meter' differ from 'rhythm' in music?

The following introductory books' definitions don't distinguish meter from rhythm. Please see the titled question. I asked this on Music Fans, but I still don't understand. Please expound more plainly?...
6
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4answers
57k views

What is a measure?

I would like to understand what a measure is, can someone help me understand this concept? Wikipedia defines a measure as "a segment of time defined by a given number of beats", but this doesn't ...
6
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5answers
3k views

Is 5/4 simple or compound?

I have seen 3 major ways of subdividing the quarter notes in 5/4. 1 is treating it as a simple meter and 2 others treat it as an irregular compound(or technically speaking, complex) meter. I have seen ...
6
votes
3answers
860 views

What is this old time signature (2 with a vertical line through it)?

On the fourth line of page 5 of the score of Fasch's Ouverture-Suite in F major, one reads a time signature that is the number 2 with a vertical line through it: What does it mean? I know some '...
5
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2answers
677 views

How to interpret the '3' notation underneath the first two quavers?

I'm trying to adapt a guitar piece to the piano. The piece, shown here, is in 3/4. I've never seen this bit of notation before and I initially thought it was the indicator telling you to play 3 notes ...
5
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4answers
358 views

How does an apparent 4/4 arise from 2 totally unrelated time signatures?

So I have been listening to Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and I notice something that is unusual to me in his promenades. It has a 4/4 feel but it isn't written in 4/4 at all, instead it is ...
5
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3answers
399 views

What is the name of this notation in this example by Couperin?

Consider following excerpt from the beginning of the 2nd leçon of Couperin's Leçon des ténèbres pour le mercredi saint: As you see, it uses a rather strange notation where, for instance, a bar of 3/2 ...
5
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3answers
201 views

Fractional phrase length in Chopin's Nocturne Op. 62 No. 1

The main subject in Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1 consists of two phrases that each begin with "B A# G# F# D#". However, they are not aligned relative to the barline, because it seems that ...
5
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1answer
11k views

What is a hypermeter?

I understand both the terms polymeter and polyrhythm, but when songs from bands such as Meshuggah are discussed the term 'hypermeter' keeps popping up. Can someone please explain?
4
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2answers
982 views

Why does "Modern Man" from "The Suburbs (2010)" have missing beats?

I used to feel "Modern Man" from "The Suburbs (2010)" by Arcade Fire had an interesting "beat skip effect". But now when I really count the beat, there are indeed missing ...
4
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2answers
192 views

Counting 2+3 and 4 over a beat of 4 at the same time

I'm rearranging a piece of mine from 12/8 to 4/4. This works pretty fine for the harmony since those were arpeggiated chords, 4 groups of 3. But I notice the melody is rather complicated to transfer ...
4
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5answers
6k views

How to count a note which has 6 on above it?

It's on 2/4 meter. I know we all are much familiar with 3 on top of any note which is a triplet. Here I'm confuse today: What is 6? Please describe to me what the 6 is about and how to count those red ...
4
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2answers
131 views

How does one indicate time for a melody without a consistent meter? [closed]

I wrote a melody. I have trouble figuring out which time signature it belongs to. I tried different rhythms, this rhythm sounds the best. It is safe to say, this is the rhythm of this melody. But this ...
4
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3answers
634 views

Rhythmic/Metric Stress Patterns

The attached images are a page from Jack Perricone's Melody in Songwriting. I am familiar with the concept of stress patterns in music, but, honestly, have no idea what the hell he's on about here. ...
4
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2answers
5k views

What feel is 12/8 meter and why?

I know 6/8 is a two feel, so I feel like 12/8 would be a four feel of four triplet groups per bar. Is this correct?
4
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1answer
222 views

Regarding the beginning of Gould's B minor fugue, WTC 1, performance

I've listened to Gould's performance of this piece many times, sometimes following the score, and I've noticed that maybe Gould plays this piece wrong at the beginning. Unfortunately, I am unable to ...
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Does a phylogeny of Afro-cuban rhythms exist?

I've recently been immersing myself in Afro-cuban rhythms. There are many similarities between them, and it struck me that it would be interesting to learn how they are related to each other with a ...