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T-6005
05-08-2009, 04:50 PM
I suppose as fans or ex-fans of punkish bands like The Offspring, we're going to be notoriously unfeeling when it comes to using different time signatures, but I've been thinking about it lately. I haven't written a song I considered decent in quite some time and felt like I'd fallen into a rut where I was just dissatisfied with myself - so I just started playing in 3/4 and voila all of a sudden my interest is revitalized.

All of my songs have been in 4/4 until now, but I find myself very comfortable with 3/4 and I can kind of enjoy 7/4.

Strangely, though I enjoy jazzy tunes and their meter, trying to work out the flow in 5/4 music always throws me off - I just don't get it.

Also, for anyone who can explain it in the basest terms - 3/4 =/= 6/8? I get the 3/4 beat, DA da da DA da da DA da da (I DID mention feeling comfortable with it, didn't I?)... but how would you accent 6/8 while counting it out to differentiate it?

Do you like to experiment with time signatures? Or not?

randman21
05-08-2009, 05:45 PM
I'm sure llamas or someone will come straighten me out if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, 3/4 is primarily used in waltzes, and in popular music, it's mostly 6/8 that you're hearing. I don't think there's a major difference, except that the emphasis isn't quite the same (Da da da da da da, Da da da da da da; less or no stress on the fourth beat of any measure).

I don't really experiment with time sigs much, outside of 4/4, 6/8 and 12/8. Anything else just feels unnatural for the kind of music I write. Too progressive. 5/4 is hella cool, though.

JohnnyNemesis
05-08-2009, 07:20 PM
I thought most popular music was 4/4?

I totally fail at time signatures in general though, mostly because the program I use has this awkward-ass percentage system when trying to calculate tempo in relation to time signature and it's a fucking headache.

Outerspaceman21
05-08-2009, 07:46 PM
Well, the eighth note sig is so the 8th note gets the beat. So 8th notes would be counted with 1 beat and quarter notes get 2 beats, like a half-note. half-notes would be counted as whole notes and wholes notes would be fucking long. Take deep breaths on those...

Counting it would be like 123, 123.

It's a little comples to get, but I think Llama can explain it better.

Homer
05-08-2009, 07:58 PM
I tend not to worry about time signatures.

Llamas
05-08-2009, 08:13 PM
I love using time sigs besides 4/4... I'm a dork like that. I know for sure that "This Isn't All" changes time sigs during it, and I know I wrote a song in 6/8 once that I never recorded. I often don't actually pay attention to what TS I write a song in, but I know I use several different ones. There's a song I started working on a while ago that I never finished that I think is in like... 5/4 in the verses and then goes to 3/4 in the chorus... I think.


I'm sure llamas or someone will come straighten me out if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, 3/4 is primarily used in waltzes, and in popular music, it's mostly 6/8 that you're hearing. I don't think there's a major difference, except that the emphasis isn't quite the same (Da da da da da da, Da da da da da da; less or no stress on the fourth beat of any measure).

Meh... not so much. The big difference between 3/4 and 6/8 is that, in 3/4, every third beat is the same weight (ONE two three ONE two three... or one TWO three one TWO three, etc), while in 6/8, beat one is heavier than beat four (ONE two three four five six, etc) so the fourth beat is still heavier than most of the others, but not as heavy as the down beat. Also in 6/8, it's generally used for faster songs that can also be put in 2/4 with a triplet feel. Popular music uses 3/4 and 6/8, but


I thought most popular music was 4/4?
Extremely correct. Most popular music is in 4/4... and that extends to like, metal, rap, country, pop, rock, electronica (don't say shit Ricky no genre truly exists :P), indie, etc, etc. Progressive rock/metal, symphonic, jazz, swing, waltz, polka, etc... these are all "genres" known for using different time sigs.

randman21
05-08-2009, 09:13 PM
I thought most popular music was 4/4?

Yes, yes. To clear it up a bit, I meant to say that whenever you hear a pop song that may sound like it's in 3/4, it's more probably 6/8.



Meh... not so much. The big difference between 3/4 and 6/8 is that, in 3/4, every third beat is the same weight (ONE two three ONE two three... or one TWO three one TWO three, etc), while in 6/8, beat one is heavier than beat four (ONE two three four five six, etc) so the fourth beat is still heavier than most of the others, but not as heavy as the down beat. Also in 6/8, it's generally used for faster songs that can also be put in 2/4 with a triplet feel. Popular music uses 3/4 and 6/8

I thought that was almost exactly what I said, except for being wrong on the beat four thing. :confused: Anyway, there you have it, T.

Llamas
05-08-2009, 09:43 PM
3/4 is primarily used in waltzes, and in popular music, it's mostly 6/8 that you're hearing. I don't think there's a major difference, except that the emphasis isn't quite the same (Da da da da da da, Da da da da da da; less or no stress on the fourth beat of any measure).


The big difference between 3/4 and 6/8 is that, in 3/4, every third beat is the same weight (ONE two three ONE two three... or one TWO three one TWO three, etc), while in 6/8, beat one is heavier than beat four (ONE two three four five six, etc) so the fourth beat is still heavier than most of the others, but not as heavy as the down beat. Also in 6/8, it's generally used for faster songs that can also be put in 2/4 with a triplet feel. Popular music uses 3/4 and 6/8, but... most popular music is in 4/4... and that extends to like, metal, rap, country, pop, rock, electronica (don't say shit Ricky no genre truly exists :P), indie, etc, etc. Progressive rock/metal, symphonic, jazz, swing, waltz, polka, etc... these are all "genres" known for using different time sigs.

It seems to me like I said something different, but I also didn't really quite get your explanation, haha. And you were wrong that most popular music is in 6/8 and not 3/4 (well it did seem like that's what you were saying... you cleared it up now, but you were still wrong that it's probably 6/8 and not 3/4). GOD STOP BEING SO WRONG ALL THE TIME. omgjk!

randman21
05-08-2009, 09:55 PM
Bah, fuck it. I was guessing on most of what I said anyway, haha.

Llamas
05-08-2009, 10:10 PM
Haha! You weren't completely wrong, which is why I said "not really". You were on the right track! No worries :)

ad8
05-09-2009, 03:07 AM
I don't really pay attention to time signatures. I guess 95 % of my songs are in 4/4, but one or two have small changes of the time signature.

Static_Martyr
05-09-2009, 09:45 AM
Time signatures for me are like guitar techniques; I like to not really "try" to use them (i.e. I don't set out to write a song in 7/4 or anything special, with the signature taking priority), but I like to be aware of them all the same. That said, I'm terrible at pretty much all written form or awareness of music --- I can't read notes (though I can read tabs), I have no idea what any of those clef things are for, I grasp the concept but still don't understand why the TS numbers are arranged the way they are at the beginning of a....music-page-thingy. I am pretty much completely retarded about written music and the rules/technicalities thereof; so if you hear a song by me that's in 3/4 or 5/8 or some weird timing, it's probably more of a coincidence than anything 0.0

And on that note....3/4 and 6/8 have always kinda confused me. I hear songs that I think could be in those notations, but I'm not sure. So can someone answer this: Longview, by Green Day. Is that a 3/4 or 6/8 song? Or is it something else? The beats during the verse/chorus are like "da-DUH da-dah dah-DUH da-dah," with this rhythm that kind of evokes a pendulous swinging sensation. I counted it out in my head so that even rest notes are played, and I get "DA-da-da-da-da-da-DA-da-da-da-da-da," which seems like it should be 3/4 or 6/8 (probably 6/8), but again, I'm not entirely sure. This has been bugging me for some time now, too....

ad8
05-09-2009, 09:56 AM
lol... I am probably wrong, but to me Longview sounds like a normal 4/4 beat. My problem is that I know these time signatures theoretically but I can't decipher them in a particular song:confused:

Llamas
05-09-2009, 10:30 AM
I have no idea what any of those clef things are for, I grasp the concept but still don't understand why the TS numbers are arranged the way they are at the beginning of a....music-page-thingy.
This made me smile :) I find this stuff interesting to talk about with people who are not formally trained in music and learn it themselves. I've read music since I was eight years old and understood things like time sig and clef and whatever since I was 10. It's like reading to me; I can't imagine life without being able to read this stuff! And of course, I've (inadvertently) surrounded myself with friends who were also musical who are the same as I am. So I think it's genuinely interesting to talk about with other people. The perspectives are so much different!


And on that note....3/4 and 6/8 have always kinda confused me. I hear songs that I think could be in those notations, but I'm not sure. So can someone answer this: Longview, by Green Day. Is that a 3/4 or 6/8 song? Or is it something else? The beats during the verse/chorus are like "da-DUH da-dah dah-DUH da-dah," with this rhythm that kind of evokes a pendulous swinging sensation. I counted it out in my head so that even rest notes are played, and I get "DA-da-da-da-da-da-DA-da-da-da-da-da," which seems like it should be 3/4 or 6/8 (probably 6/8), but again, I'm not entirely sure. This has been bugging me for some time now, too....

Longview is definitely in 4/4. But it's actually reall interesting that you thought it was in 3/4 or 6/8. The thing is, if you tune out the drums and just count along to the song, you go "ONE two three four ONE two three for" (that's a lame way of saying it, but hopefully that makes sense...) The drums, while still playing in 4/4, carry what's called a triplet beat. This might be something better explained by Thomas since he's a drummer, but the hard beat for the drums is also on every ONE, just like the rest of the instruments.... but after the one, the drums have this sort of swing feel that could be counted in three. Also, that intro guitar part going into the main riff is basically in 6/8, but it's just the guitar and it's just for that one measure (yes, instruments in a song can play in different time sigs than each other. It can be pretty complicated!) but if the song was written out on paper, they would write it as though it's also in 4/4 like the rest of the song, and denote those little guitar notes there as triplets (a triplet is when you fit three notes in a place where normally only 1 or 2 should fit).

Ah, I hope that made sense... it's REALLY hard to explain this stuff over the internet. I feel like I could do it in person with the song playing, ready to point out what I'm talking about! Again, this is so interesting for me... it's crazy trying to explain something that I've always just done... it's like explaining to someone from China why we say "how come?" hahaha

Llamas
05-09-2009, 10:33 AM
By the way, if anyone is interested in what a song in 5/4 sounds like, this was the first mainstream success song that was in 5/4. And it's suuuuuch a good song. Just count over and over to 5 along with it (the main piano riff repeats every 5 beats) and you should be able to tell... especially if you try counting to 4 - it doesn't work! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNrmYRiX_o

drummerbecca
05-09-2009, 11:00 AM
Aw man, I love Take Five! I'd never heard the original until now but I've heard it done by a guy called Ben Castle, but it's much heavier (can be heard here http://www.myspace.com/bencastlesax if anyone's interested).
I have to admit that I'm useless when it comes to time signatures. I've been playing drums for 14 years, and I taught my own students for about a year and a half, but I'm useless with time signatures and never learned to read tab! Talk about blagging it...

randman21
05-10-2009, 04:17 AM
By the way, if anyone is interested in what a song in 5/4 sounds like, this was the first mainstream success song that was in 5/4. And it's suuuuuch a good song. Just count over and over to 5 along with it (the main piano riff repeats every 5 beats) and you should be able to tell... especially if you try counting to 4 - it doesn't work! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNrmYRiX_o
Also, the "Mission: Impossible" theme. And don't you tell me I'm wrong. :mad:

Llamas
05-10-2009, 09:57 AM
Also, the "Mission: Impossible" theme. And don't you tell me I'm wrong. :mad:

haha you're right about that one! :) ^5!!

Free?
05-10-2009, 12:17 PM
This thread clearly needs more Meshuggah or The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Superdope
05-10-2009, 12:42 PM
This thread clearly needs more Meshuggah or The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Holyfuckyes+10points

Also, Pink Floyd's Money, which is awesome by the way, is mainly in 7/4.

Thomas
05-10-2009, 01:47 PM
Longview is definitely in 4/4. But it's actually reall interesting that you thought it was in 3/4 or 6/8. The thing is, if you tune out the drums and just count along to the song, you go "ONE two three four ONE two three for" (that's a lame way of saying it, but hopefully that makes sense...) The drums, while still playing in 4/4, carry what's called a triplet beat. This might be something better explained by Thomas since he's a drummer, but the hard beat for the drums is also on every ONE, just like the rest of the instruments.... but after the one, the drums have this sort of swing feel that could be counted in three. Also, that intro guitar part going into the main riff is basically in 6/8, but it's just the guitar and it's just for that one measure (yes, instruments in a song can play in different time sigs than each other. It can be pretty complicated!) but if the song was written out on paper, they would write it as though it's also in 4/4 like the rest of the song, and denote those little guitar notes there as triplets (a triplet is when you fit three notes in a place where normally only 1 or 2 should fit).



Yeah, Longview can be written as either a swung 4/4 or in 12/8. For swung patterns, you (generally) take the up beat 8th notes and move them to the last beat (there's a better word for this that escapes me at the moment. is it partial?) of the triplet. Like, if you had straight 8th notes, to swing them, you would move the syncopated beat closer to the next downbeat to get the "shuffle" pattern.


By the way, if anyone is interested in what a song in 5/4 sounds like, this was the first mainstream success song that was in 5/4. And it's suuuuuch a good song. Just count over and over to 5 along with it (the main piano riff repeats every 5 beats) and you should be able to tell... especially if you try counting to 4 - it doesn't work! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNrmYRiX_o

I played that in a jazz combo last year! Joe Morello is a freaking genius on the kit!

Outerspaceman21
05-10-2009, 03:12 PM
I think a drummer would be the best person to ask because I've seen that they've had a better understanding time sigs.

Thomas
05-10-2009, 03:17 PM
I think a drummer would be the best person to ask because I've seen that they've had a better understanding time sigs.

http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/poke.gif

Outerspaceman21
05-10-2009, 03:20 PM
http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/poke.gif

That went right over my head.

Llamas
05-10-2009, 06:27 PM
I think a drummer would be the best person to ask because I've seen that they've had a better understanding time sigs.

I definitely wouldn't say that drummers understand time sigs better than musicians of other instruments, really. The reason I said Thomas could answer better was because we were talking about a drum part in Longview. And Thomas has actual music training/experience like I do, but I'm not a drummer so I don't know how to talk about drums as well as he does :) His response was good, though... I think it made good sense.

Outerspaceman21
05-10-2009, 08:43 PM
I definitely wouldn't say that drummers understand time sigs better than musicians of other instruments, really. The reason I said Thomas could answer better was because we were talking about a drum part in Longview. And Thomas has actual music training/experience like I do, but I'm not a drummer so I don't know how to talk about drums as well as he does :) His response was good, though... I think it made good sense.

Well, yeah, of course with musical experience. All the drummers I know have had lots of musical training. I was in marching band for 6 years. A kid who teaches himself how to play along with all his favorite bands and never really learning how to read music or understand time sigs isn't someone I would go to for musical advice.

I just said that because most drummers I know have to understand all kinds of signatures because of the nature of their instrument.

Llamas
05-10-2009, 09:34 PM
Gotcha: if you've got a bunch of people of equal skill and education on their instruments, percussionists are likely the best to ask regarding rhythm and such. I misunderstood before, but yeah, I see what you're saying. :)

Outerspaceman21
05-10-2009, 10:18 PM
I'm still working on it. I'm too used to listening to the percussion section for the beat.

Les Paul Girl
05-12-2009, 02:09 AM
This thread clearly needs more Meshuggah...
Yay, Backyard Babies and Meshuggah - way to go Free?.