# 4/4? 3/4? 6/4????

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ThePaste, Apr 5, 2001.

1. ### ThePaste

Dec 23, 2000
West Virginia USA
Time signatures. What are they and where do they come from?

I think they tell you how fast the music is?

2. ### fretless5

Nov 28, 2000
Blue Ash, Ohio, USA
Not how fast it is (that is the tempo), but rather how many beats and the value of each beat per measure:
3/4 = 3 quarter notes per measure (a waltz)
4/4= 4 quarter notes per measure (standard rock)
and on from there........

Each has a distinctly different feel. Then there is 5/4, 5/8, (5 eighth notes per measure). Hell we even do a groove in 11/8! Almost any combination can be used, and it sure is a lot of fun to try different ones.

And then of course you can sub-divide any of these with accents falling in different places.

I could explain it much better if you could hear it at the same time.... I'm sure someone else will elaborate more.

3. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
...where it gets wild & "out there" is when you begin superimposing one time sig over a different time sig.
Like, say the horns are playin' in 6/4 @150bpm vs. the rhythm section's 4/4 @100bpm. This keeps everybody's ONE(as in 1-2-3-4 & 1-2-3-4-5-6)at the "same place in time". Note that the 6/4 part is played 1.5 times "faster" than the 4/4 part...that's the mathmetics' side of it. 5/4 would be 1.25 times "faster" than a 4/4 part(125bpm vs. 100bpm); etc (See if you can figure out 3/4 vs. 4/4 & 7/4 vs. 4/4).

Also, one can play in a fashion where the ONE doesn't coincide; you may hear a bass part in 4/4 for 3 bars while the drummep opts for 2 bars of 6. BOTH are playing 12 beats. Etc.

There are also grooves where, say, the drummer is playing in 1/2 time vs. your time; or you(the bassist)may be doubletiming vs. the band's "straight time".
Drummers really have an advantage(IMO)when talking about multiple timelines(pianists, too...the "best" bass slappers out there, IMO, are the ones that are thinking like a drummer & using cross rhthms.

BTW-
...a pretty decent exercise to do WITHOUT an instrument in-hand; tap out the various polyrhythms on a desk(or in my case, my girlfriend's head).
That is, one hand will be tapping out 4 beats while the other taps out either 3, 5. 6. or 7 all in the same amount of time.
If interested, I'll post the formula for those...right now, I gotta run...

4. ### ThePaste

Dec 23, 2000
West Virginia USA
JimK, you never cease to confuse me. LOL.

5. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
...baffle 'em with bulls***, right?

Try tapping this rhythm(the BOLD notes) with ONE hand-
/1e&a2e&a3e&a/

First, note that it's in 3/4 time(THREE beats, right?).
Now, with your RIGHT hand, play this-
/1__a__&__e__/= 4 'beats'

...with your LEFT hand, play this-
/1___2___3___/= 3 beats

The LEFT hand is playing the "3" component; the RIGHT hand is playing the "4" component. This is a 4 over 3 polyrhythm...4 'beats' equally spread out over 3 beats.

Hope that makes some sense; here's 3 over 4-
/1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a/

Note that's it's in 4/4 this time(& with 3 'beats' spread out equally over 4 beats).
RH=/1___2___3___4___/= 4 beats

LH=/1____e____&_____/= 3 'beats'

6. ### ThePaste

Dec 23, 2000
West Virginia USA
I know I've asked you this before, but what is the 1e&a2&ea3 stuff? Do you have any sound samples?

7. ### dancehallclasher

Jul 21, 2000
Northern VA
example - most music you can count along "1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4" that's 4/4. but for example, the verse of "all you need is love" by the beatles is counted "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,1,2,3,4,5,6,7" because after 7 beats a new bar begins, so it's 7/4.

8. ### Davidoc

Sep 2, 2000
Northern VA and JMU
does anyone know what the c time signal is?

9. ### magdalena

A C, is referred to as 'common time', which is 4/4 - four beats in a measure with a quarter note getting a beat.

10. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
The "e"s, "&"s, and "a"s are the subdivisions of the beat; 1e&a would equal all 1/16th notes, 4 'notes' to the beat(have you heard TOP's "What Is Hip?". Rocco Prestia is chugging along with a 1/16th note rhythm/groove.
1_&_2_&_3_&_4_&_ would be all 1/8th notes; like a very typical Rock 'N' Roll/Boogie Woogie bassline-
G-G-B-B-D-D-E-E-/F-F-E-E-D-D-B-B-/.

I'm wonderin'-
...do you count when you play? If so, how?

11. ### Quzumm

Sep 25, 2000
Trondheim, Norway
I count with my legs: 1 on my left, 2 on right, 3 on left etc. It makes it easier to know how much of the bar I've played: If I play in 7/4, I know that the 7. is on my left foot, and that a new bar is begining after left. I think it's hard to count with words, especially when I'm playing subdivisoins; I always count in the same rythm that I play.

12. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
...that's right; then again, it may be easier to count the 1st bar as 4 & the 2nd bar as 3. So, rather, than 7/4, "All You Need Is Love" is a bar of 4 + a bar of 3(ie, the last 1/4 note is omitted).

Quizzum-
...some players advocate counting in 1/2 time vs. what "rhythm" they're actually playing. That's a "play fast while counting slow" method. It works for odd times, too; instead of counting to, say, 7, you count to 3 and a 1/2:
1___2___3___&_/ which = fourteen 1/16th notes

What this accomplishes(as far as my playing is concerned)is "thinking in multiple timelines"(as a drummer does)& helps put me in a different groove structure kinda-mind(not so "busy", a little more relaxed/laid-back). Give it a shot...

13. ### dancehallclasher

Jul 21, 2000
Northern VA
my problem is, i can never tell the difference between 3/4 and 6/8, or 10/4 and 10/8 and so on. does that matter?

14. ### Chris AChemo sucks!

Feb 25, 2000
Manchester NH
The difference between 3/4 and 6/8 is in the way it feels. 6/8 is still a duple meter, in other words, it still feels in 2. Like this. 1 2 3 4 5 6 with the stress on the 1 and the 4.(sorry I can't do the bold face type for the 1 and 4). And 3/4 is a triple meter with the stress on the 1 of each measure.

Hope that helps.

Chris A.