Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Counting 2/8

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by pontz, Sep 27, 2005.


  1. pontz

    pontz

    Oct 31, 2003
    CT
    I’ve played in 4/4, 3/4, and 5/4 time sigs. For an audition this week though I have to play a song in 2/8. I had to problem learning the song by ear before I got the chart from the band leader, but when I saw the chart and saw 2/8, it got me wondering, how do you count this? I searched and learned that it means there are two beats to each measure and “the 1/8 note gets the beat.” Unfortunately that only confused the matter. Does that mean, if I tap my foot and count, the first 1/8 is the down beat, the second 1/8 is the upbeat?

    I didn’t have any trouble playing in this measure, but I’d still like to understand it.

    Cheers,

    Pontz
     
  2. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    I dunno why someone would use 2/8 for an overall time sig in a piece... I can't think of a situation where 1/4 wouldn't do just as well, or 2/4 if they really insist on 2 equally emphasised beats per bar

    i've used 2/8 in transcription before but usually only as a single bar in a cluster of bars of varying meter (eg 2 bars of 5/8, one of 3/8 followed by a bar of 2/8 etc) ... and then i'd only use it in preference to 1/4 to make it easier for the player to get their head round the continuing 8th note pulse

    they'd have to have a good reason for making it 2/8 rather than 2/4... but I dunno what it could be
     
  3. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Sweden
    well, in my opinion there's no difference between 2/8, 1/4, 2/4, 4/4
    or 32/4...

    except it lokes different when it's written down, i could change something played in 4/4 to 2/4 and there would be no difference at
    all...
     
  4. pontz

    pontz

    Oct 31, 2003
    CT
    Thats how I've always felt too.

    Pontz
     
  5. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    There is in fact a difference between 2 and 4. 2 generally has a strong downbeat, weak upbeat. 4 has a strong downbeat, weak upbeat, semi-strong downbeat, weak up beat. Not quite the same as two. Often the difference between the 1 and 3 gets lost in a lot of songs and they could be written in 2 though.

    As for 2/4 vs 2/8 the difference is probably convinence when scoring the peice for whatever reason

    As for counting it would be:

    "One, two, One, two, One, two..." assuming you are accenting the downbeat normally.
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I think simple duple time, two non-dotted beats to the bar, is felt like a march, like said above, one two, one two.

    The difference between these meters is that at the same tempo on the crochet, 2/8 is twice as fast as 2/4, which is twice as fast as 2/2.
    So, I guess they exist mainly for that reason... for the option to use shorter bars, or change the speed of the music without changing the written tempo, for example?

    I cant think of an example I'm 100% happy with actually, but one would certainly help. I'm guessing a bit I must admit! :)