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12/8 timing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cort45, Aug 11, 2002.


  1. Cort45

    Cort45

    Mar 1, 2002
    US, TX, Austin
    can anyone explain 12/8 grooves for me? im real confused
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    123, 223, 323, 423.

    You can count it straight, if you want to sound like a dork. If you swing it, it's a standard blues shuffle time sig.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    P.S. Good example is U2's "Trip Through Your Wires."
     
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, good example. the feel can also be very similar to a waltz kind of feel - sorta swing. that triplet feel will do that.


    funny, right now, as i type this, i'm listening to one of our songs that's in 12/8. how surreal :D
     
  5. Cort45

    Cort45

    Mar 1, 2002
    US, TX, Austin
    ...so theres 6 quarter notes in a measure, 4 dotted quarter notes, 12 eighth notes, ect.?
     
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    4 dotted quarters. The meter is called "compound quadruple" in theoryspeak, and about a million 50's songs have that groove.

    When writing time sigs (for the most part) we talk about the number of beats to the bar, and the unit of beat. But in compound time, each unit of beat is divided into 3, so we have to use multiples. For example, in 4/4 time, there are 4 beats to the bar, and the quarter note gets the beat. But in 12/8 time, there are 4 beats to the bar, but the dotted quarter gets the beat, and there's no number for the dotted quarter.

    So there's more than you probably bargained for, and the "why" behind it. My aplogies if it's unclear.
     
  7. Cort45

    Cort45

    Mar 1, 2002
    US, TX, Austin
    alright i got it now. thanks
     
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Some 12/8 grooves you might have in your CD collection include:

    Jimi Hendrix

    Red House
    Catfish Blues
    Once I Had a Woman
    Bleeding Heart
    Jelly 292

    Buddy Guy
    Slippin Out, Slippin In
    7-11
    Little Dab-a-Doo
    Trouble Blues
    I Smell Trouble
    Don't Tell me About the Blues

    Gary Moore
    Over the Hills and Far Away
    Story of the Blues
    As the Years Go Passing By

    BB King

    Sweet Little Angel
    Gambler's Blues
    Lucille
    My Mood

    Kenny Wayne Shepard

    Born With a Broken Heart
    Shame, Shame, Shame

    Allman Brothers

    I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
    Jelly, Jelly
    Gambler's Roll
    Get On with Your Life

    I can't find my collection of Stevie Ray Vaughan sheet music or I'd be able to list some of his 12/8 songs, too. If you have any SRV CDs, listen and see if you can identify a 12/8 shuffle. Listen to SRV's bassist Tommy Shannon. He is a master of shuffles.
     
  9. virtual.ray

    virtual.ray

    Oct 25, 2000
    Let's not forget Eric Johnson's epic "Cliffs of Dover" which reminds me of an Irish jig,another genre that makes use of compound time signatures.
     
  10. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    so the difference between a "12/8 feel" and actual 12/8 would be that the 12/8 "feel" is written in 4/4, with three triplets getting a beat, but 12/8 is that "compound" dealy?

    i got that from an ed friedland article awhile back, but i kinda had to figure out what actual 12/8 was written like on my own with the help of the awfully uncooperative shareware "finale notepad."

    (i was forced into using 12 since it wouldn't allow me to have all triplets in a measure. it identified too many notes before making the final group of triplets was possible).
     
  11. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Sorry to bring up a somewhat old thread, but I just have a small question:

    I have piece of sheet music in front me that is in 12/8 time. There is a measure that shows the following and I'm not sure I understand how this would be played:

    quarter note - quarter note - eighth note - eighth note - dotted quarter note - quarter note - eighth note rest

    I know the dotted quarter note would equal 1 beat and that the quarter note and eight note rest would be played like "1e&a" (I think :confused: ) but I am stuck on the first 2 quarter notes and the 2 eight notes together.

    Thanks,
    Stephanie
     
  12. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Im not sure how to convey the sounds so how about this

    12/8 means you have 12 eigth notes in the bar each Beat get 3 eighths each.


    OoO,oOO,Ooo,Oox

    The capital O is a attack little o a sustain and x is space


    AJ
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Although the Blues shuffle/swing thing is the most common in the US - the straight version of this is used in South African "Township" music and is quite a different feel or groove - so if you have ever listened or played any music by Jazz pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly Dollar Brand) then you will have heard this.
     
  14. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Thanks. That is a bit clearer. I have another question: Am I wrong to play this against 4/4 on the metronome? The piece says "quarter note = 69 bpm".

    Pacman said this in a post above: "But in 12/8 time, there are 4 beats to the bar, but the dotted quarter gets the beat, and there's no number for the dotted quarter."

    I believe he's explaining the "feel" as opposed to what's actually written. How do I get that "feel" when I'm counting out '1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12'?

    Guess I'm confusing myself some more LOL but I do understand what you posted, Ed.

    Thanks again,
    Stephanie
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Ed's explination is definitive. But you wouldn't be "wrong" setting your metronome to hit on the four emphasized beats in 12/8...in fact that's how you should do it if the tempo is anything above a crawl. Another way to illustrate it is like this:

    one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve
     
  16. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Once again, the mighty Fuqua smashes everythign we think we know about music..;) Excellent explanation Ed.
     
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The key words in Ed's last post are "in this case". With the one measure isolated from the rest of the chart like this, we can't tell what the intention is so what Ed has posted is fine (and it helps if you're the least bit confused about 'compound quadruple' time).

    But it might just be really syncopated in the triple 4 time, too...
     
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Okay...but I'm not ready to say "uncle" yet Ed ;) .

    Cort45 and Stephanie are talking about two different pieces of music. Actually Cort45 is just asking about 12/8 "grooves". That indicates to me he's speaking about jazz or blues/R&B styles, which would make the "triplet thang" the more likely situation, dig?

    Stephanie's piece (careful boys...nuthin' "punny" intended) would indicate that it's either classical or somethin' "straight", which would explain the quarter note, quarter note, eighth note, dotted quarter, etc. notation. If it was something swingin', it would be incorrect notation to "hide" the natural subdivision in the second quarter note, for example.
     
  19. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Yeah, it's a classical piece. Actually it's taken out of a book for upright bass, a bowing exercise (not that I play upright). There's just like 2 measures in the whole piece that I just can't seem to get the feel for.

    I was looking at the "Note Reading Studies For Bass" book and page 42 has two exercises: the first one time signature is 4/4, "quarter note=76", the second is in 12/8, "dotted quarter note=76". And it says "When a piece has a four-beat pulse based on an eight-note triplet rhythm, it is often written as 12/8..." And it says that both exercises should sound exactly the same. I've played these exercises without confusion in the past so I don't know why I'm getting myself all confused here LOL.

    What I also understand, as with any time signature, is the top number is how many beats in the bar and the bottom number is what note gets the beat. So in this case, going along with what Ed said, there are 12 beats in the bar and the eighth note gets the beat. But on that page in the Note Reading book that doesn't sound like the case. If I played 12 beats per bar it wouldn't sound like the exercise above it (???). :confused:
     
  20. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    the top number is how many beats in the bar and the bottom number is what note gets the beat.

    Actually its the bottom number says what division you have and the top is how many of those in the bar . So 12/8 you have 12 Eighth notes.

    Ed is right (as usual) in how you can interpret it. As said before though its not the common Thing to expect when you see a 12/8 time signature.

    Tell us more about the double bass part and mabye we can guide you better.

    The reading book is trying to show the common use for 12/8 time sig. Is the thing in 4/4 all triplets? It probally is and will sound the same a what 12/8 is ussually assosiated with.

    AJ