# Irregular Time, Odd Meters.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thefruitfarmer, Jun 3, 2011.

1. ### thefruitfarmer

Feb 25, 2006
Kent UK
I have done a search but not found anything specific enough.

All my life I have only really played in 4/4 time with maybe an odd 12/8.

I need to learn you to play in the odd time signatures, most specifically 7/8 at the moment.

I have been using the Indian words systems to count the 7 and I am making some progress. This involves 4 words - Ta, Ka, Di, Ma and is a useful way to count time, it makes more sense to me than counting the numbers.

Counting a 7 beat would be

Ta ka di ma ta ka di ta ka di ma ta ka di........

Has anyone got any good tips on learning the odd meters, links to some good books?

Thanks dudes.

2. ### kr0n

Feb 4, 2009
Pink Floyd - Money has a nice 7/8 riff.

I think people have said to count like 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 or reverse depending on accents which is pretty much the same as ta-ka-di-ma ta-ka-di

3. ### ariwaxInsonating the acoustic windowSupporting Member

Apr 3, 2005
Cleveland, OH
Yes, they call that subdivision. Most of us with Western ears naturally think in triple and duple meter, so the trick is to break down the rhythm into manageable chunks of twos/fours and threes/sixes, then counting that in your head with appropriate accents to help you keep the beat. The order of twos and threes is determined by the syncopation the song calls for.

So 5/4 would be ONE-two-ONE-two-three, ONE-two-ONE-two-three, etc.

11/8 might be ONE-two-ONE-two-three-ONE-two-three-FOUR-five-six.

Make sense?

4. ### IWishIWasBlank

May 28, 2011
Just play Bron-Y-Aur stomp a lot more.

OK, maybe that's just a clever one line reply that's not helpful at all... Especially since it's 4/4, 7/8, 9/8 in an almost random pattern. Fun to play though.

IIRC, back in the olden days of high school band, the way our teacher broke us into odd time signatures was to have us play 4/4 with all eighth notes (8 notes in a row in a four count) till it nearly zombified us, then removed one note (creating the feel of a 7/8) and repeated. Then you start working in a simple melody to continue repeating until you feel comfortable with the time signature.

Remember, the first number of the time signature (4)/4 is how many quarter notes per bar, the second number of the time signature 4/(4) is how much the quarter note is worth. In the 4/4 time measure case, it's 1/4 of the total time within the bar. In 4/8, each one is worth a half note. In 16/8, each is worth an eighth note.

Also, the difference between feel any of these signatures where both the top and bottom are a base 2 (or base 4 number) is next to none. It's not until you get into 3/4, 7/8, some of the ones with mismatched numbers where both you and the crowd will notice a difference. However, remember that it also makes it that much harder for a crowd to follow along if you're trying to get them out on the dance floor. If they can't handle a straight forward 4/4 blues or 3/4 waltz/shuffle, don't fling any "Mars" by Gustav Holst at them.

5. ### devine

Aug 22, 2006
Owner: Scott's Bass Lessons
6. ### HooverBanned

Nov 2, 2007
New York City
^^^This...except that it's really only twos & threes; fours are just two twos, and sixes can be two threes or three twos, so calling it a "six" only obfuscates what's going on.

But once you can A) learn to think/count in terms of subdivisions rather that absolute number of beats; and B) divine the particular subdivisions used in a particular piece of music, it becomes very easy to approach any odd-metered music.

7. ### thefruitfarmer

Feb 25, 2006
Kent UK
Thanks, I have looked at his vids, he uses the ta ka di ma system so I can relate to that and the snippet from his book is pretty good too.

I have a drummer mate who has been helping too, with taking me through his system of how he counts it. He counts a

1 - 2 - 3 & 1 - 2 - 3 &

rather than a

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-1-2-3-4-5-6-7

I thinking more in a rock context than a jazz context.

Seems like everyone has their own way of counting time, I think I have been couting four for so long that I have forgotten how to do it.