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Dumb question on time signatures

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Atshen, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    If I play straight eighths in 6/8 and the drummer plays his downbeat on the 1 and his backbeat on the 4, is said drummer playing in 2/2?

    Sorry if that sounds stupid or confusing. :smug:
  2. myrockinbass


    Jun 10, 2005
    I think the answer is no because in order for it to be considered 2/2 you would have to be playing in 8/8. If there are six beats in a measure then hitting on 1 and 4 would leave only two beats left.
    Break it down to individual notes. 4 eighth notes = 1 half note
  3. myrockinbass


    Jun 10, 2005
    atleast I think that's right?!
  4. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    myrockinbass is right, I think...
  5. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Does this mean that the drummer would play half notes in 6/8? :confused:
  6. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    If the drummer is playing on 1 and 4 in 6/8, he is playing dotted quarter notes.
  7. The drummer is also playing in 6/8. However, we often talk about playing it in 2 when we play in 6/8. The alternative would be to play in 6. It's just like taking a waltz (3/4) in 1 rather than in 3. You're still in 6/8, but it's easier, because of either the tempo or the feel of the piece, to count it as two beats per measure, each a triplet, than as six. Similarly, pieces in 12/8 are usually taken in 4.
  8. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    If your drummer is playing on 1 & 4, then he's playing in 6/8 too.


    Your drummer could be playing quarter notes in 2/4 while you are playing 8th note triplets in 2/4.


    You could be playing 8th notes in 3/8 while your drummer plays on the 1 of each measure.


    Your drummer could be playing...

    Hey! Is this a theory exercise from college?! This is one of those things that got posted on the bulletin board and we would see how many combinations we could come up with.

  9. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    The answer to this is that you are not "playing in" any time signature. Time signatures are a tool used to write out the music you are playing. It would be silly and confusing to write music for you in 6/8 and your drummer in 2/2. So, if you were to write down what you are playing, you could write it any of the ways Bassist4Life lists. They all are ways of writing the same music. You are playing what you are playing. Your question should be "what is the best way to write this down?"

    Hope that helps.
  10. In 6/8, the emphasis is normally placed on beats 1 and 4, so it has the feeling of being in duple (2) meter. However, if you take the math/numbers approach, 2/2 actually equals 8/8, so if you are playing in 6/8 and your drummer is playing in 8/8, you are going to get some interesting results!
  11. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Thanks everyone!

    I feel a bit dizzy right now! :)
  12. We did that once, tried to sightread "Three Times a Lady" on the gig. Drummer playing in 4/4, we're playing in 3/4.

    Interesting doesn't quite cover it. Us yelling "switch to a waltz, you're in 4/4". Him yelling "I can't change". Us yelling "Just STOP then and we'll start over" Him yelling "NO Don't stop they'll know we screwed up". Us yelling "THEY ALREADY KNOW!!!!".

    Hint: You can take 1 note per measure and hold it for an extra beat to convert a 3/4 song into a 4/4 song. On the fly. If you have to. Its often obvious which note you should hold longer. Sometimes, not so obvious.

    Disclaimer: Closed course. Professional driver. Do not attempt.

    Welcome to wedding band hell.