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43 votes
Accepted

How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?

Anacrusis (pickup) is a bit more rhythmic than melodic. Hearing it seems easy to my musical brain, but I can understand how it would not be easy for others. Most music has a set rhythm, which we can ...
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34 votes
Accepted

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

Yes, one possible way is to clarify a "5+3" meter throughout. Depending on the music, this could be preferable to just writing 8/4 if the meter is clearly a 5+3 layout. As one example of how this ...
  • 80.2k
26 votes

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

Brubeck's exploration of 5-beat and other asymmetrical meters was revolutionary for jazz, but it had been going on for decades in classical music, largely inspired in the late 19th century by the ...
  • 15.1k
21 votes
Accepted

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

Technically speaking, you can't ever say for certain until you see the composer's original score (if there even is one); a piece could literally be written in an infinite number of time signatures. As ...
  • 80.2k
20 votes
Accepted

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

It's not hopeless, but may take more time than others would. A couple of ideas. While listening to music, start tapping, singing, nodding, whatever, and turn down the sound, initially so it's still ...
  • 178k
19 votes

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

Counting is an absolutely necessary step when learning a new piece.It is the rhythmic framework of any piece. Without it, you may well be playing a different tune. 'All the right notes, but not in the ...
  • 178k
19 votes
Accepted

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

They are not very much alike, and cannot often (if ever!) be used interchangeably. So, the question itself is under false premises. 3/4 is 3 beats of one crotchet each. Counted 1&2&3& 1&...
  • 178k
18 votes

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

This very much depends on what tradition you're working in, what information you're trying to convey, and who will be reading it. As many other answers have noted, the "feel" of the two meters is ...
  • 298
15 votes

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

One of my mantras as a teacher is to tell my students to play things "painfully slow." In other words, so slow it hurts. I would say you are practicing too fast. When playing an instrument, there are ...
  • 5,504
15 votes

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

One way which is possible is to show two time signatures, as here from Tchaikovsky's second String Quartet via Popflock: This warns the user that bars of each length are to be expected. You haven't ...
14 votes
Accepted

What exactly is a beat in sheet music/music?

A lot of good introductory questions here - I can tell this is really bugging you. Not near my computer at the moment so no pictures but maybe we won’t need them. First off, we need to be clear on ...
  • 25.2k
14 votes
Accepted

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

In fact, you can beam rests! I would go with: This is a clear modification of the "correct" beaming of your original example, which would be: Some of the comments below correctly state that beat 3 ...
  • 80.2k
14 votes

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

I believe there are fundamentally 2 main reasons I can think of: historically, the tempo was not strict as it has been considered in the last 2-3 centuries, and it was usually decided based on the ...
  • 5,800
14 votes

What time signature should I use with partial triplets?

You can notate the measure as (1-1/3)/4, but the better solution would be to notate the first measure as 12/8 and the second as 4/8. 12/8 is understood by convention as 4 groups of three eighth notes. ...
  • 62.4k
14 votes
Accepted

What time signature should I use with partial triplets?

Where are the accents, and is this meant to be a polyrhythm? You have 16 actual notes in your sample notation. That would fit into 4/4 time with the groupings of three forming a polyrhythm. This kind ...
13 votes

How to notate time signature switching consistently every measure

As a possible alterative to Richard's answer, you can write the total in the time signature and the division above the staff like this: This may be easier, depending on the capabilities of your ...
13 votes

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

There are examples of Five-Step Waltzes danced to 5/4 time from the 19th century from about 1846. These are also known as "Valse à Cinq Temps". There are descriptions of some of theses at the Library ...
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12 votes
Accepted

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

It's definitely a mess; there are a couple of notational aspects that suggest the person that did this is not well-versed in notational norms. Listening to the recording on the website you listed in ...
  • 80.2k
12 votes
Accepted

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

Add to the list of well known 5/4 music Mussorgsky's Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition. But really I think you need to also consider authentic folk music which can use odd meters or mixed ...
12 votes

How are beats divided in simple/compound/odd meters supposed to sound different?

The underlying principle at work here is: Notated music "doesn't show everything." Compare, say, the sheet music of the Moonlight Sonata to a midi file capturing a performance of it.* The ...
  • 8,562
12 votes
Accepted

Eliminate ties via additive meter?

Firstly, it would really help if you sort out what the various voices in the bass clef are doing, (this is where the "noise" is coming from). For piano it's not really possible to re-...
11 votes

Do musicians count the meter all the time?

As you beginner, I strongly suggest you keep doing that. What I did when I first begun, was to count everything with my foot. After a while, I didn't really need to count every single thing with the ...
11 votes

How can a non-musician recognize anacrusis?

I'll try to give you a clearer example of a tune with an anacrusis or pick-up: The Star Spangled Banner. This melody has three beats to a measure. The first full measure contains "Say, can you". ...
  • 4,413
11 votes

Why is meter divided into simple and compound types?

The difference between a simple meter and compound meter greatly affects the feel of the piece and the differences are bigger than you think. There are other types out there, but let's correct some ...
  • 46.5k
11 votes

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

I would argue that it's a question of levels. In other words, the confusion is caused due to the different hierarchical levels of the meter (the eighth-note level and the measure level). You're ...
  • 80.2k
11 votes

Notation question: Adding half a beat to a bar?

Here's some possibilities. If the note grouping is as clear as in my example, maybe the metric modulation is unnecessary in A. D is acceptable in today's music. But you will find it a challenge to ...
  • 81.2k
10 votes
Accepted

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

What you're hearing I would consider as added beats rather than missing ones. The general term for how beats are grouped is meter. Meter is the pattern of strong and weak pulses that underlie the ...
  • 62.4k

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