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Is it 15/8 or 4/4 & 7/8??

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Gaius46, Aug 13, 2012.


  1. Gaius46

    Gaius46

    Dec 15, 2010
    As a blast from the past we've decided to add Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" to our setlist. The main riff is a 2 bar phrase, first being 4/4 and the second being 7/8.

    If I was going to transcribe it would calling it a one bar phrase in 15/8 be equivalent to 4/4 & 7/8?

    Thanks
     
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I would definitely not write it as a single bar of 15/8. It may work out to be the same number of 8th notes, but it would be much harder to read and count.
     
  3. You could call it 15/8, but it might be simpler to notate as 2 bar phrases, one bar in 4/4 and one in 7/8. You see this notation quite often with early 20th-Century composers like Stravinsky, who would add a time signature such as 5/8 + 2/4 at the very beginning of a piece, with the understanding that every bar would alternate that time signature (which saved the trouble of constantly notating the time change).

    Just make sure to be clear that the basic pulse won't change (i.e. - 8th note = 8th note throughout).
     
  4. Exactly.
     
  5. Gaius46

    Gaius46

    Dec 15, 2010
    Thanks. I was thinking 15/8 might be easier only because it's crystal clear that it's always an eighth note pulse and because I though the constantly shifting time signatures would be a distraction.

    I'll see if Finale can notate 4/4 + 7/8 up front.
     
  6. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Look for the "composite" button in the time signature dialog box in Finale.
     
  7. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    It's important to recognize that time signatures are there to convey information...hopefully as much useful and musically-significant information as possible. The problem with "15/8" is that it A) tells you nothing about how the measure is subdivided; and B) could even misleadingly suggest a triplet feel.

    Therefore, it's usually more prudent to go with the most informative method irrespective of how distracting the changes may seem.

    (Note, for a piece like "The Ocean" where the pattern is alternating consistently, you could only notate the two measure time signature change once, then write "simile" for all subsequent bars that use that same two-measure pattern ...though in that case the lack of a time signature may prove even more distracting than the repeated presence of one!)
     
  8. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    But it feels in 4 and 7. So one bar of 4/4 and one of 7/8. We don't feel things in 15.
     
  9. Kobaia

    Kobaia

    Oct 29, 2005
    Denton TX
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amp Gruv Gear and Mono Cases
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    4/4 and 7/8. Simple.
     
  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yeah.

    And watch out for the dropped quaver at the end of each verse as well as during the main riff.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, now that he's got the first one tackled, here's the fun one!
     
  13. Gaius46

    Gaius46

    Dec 15, 2010
    Okay so where's the damn quaver button in Finale?? :)
     
  14. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Oops. I slipped into Britmusiclingospeak. Quaver = eighth note.

    Sorry.

    :D
     
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    LOL, i was once told I'd get my ass kicked of I used terms like quaver or minum in South Detrot......:crying:
     

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