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Out Of Time

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by iPlay15151515, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Why would a bluegrass piece sound any different played in 2/4 vs 4/4 with a change in tempo to compensate?
  2. Well I really dont know anything about bluegrass music but this question sort of applys to any music that you change from 4/4 to 2/4.
    It has to do with the pulse in 2/4 you emphasize beat one so it gives the music a different feel than when you play it in 4/4 were in 4/4 beat 1 and 3 do get more emphasis but beat 3 doesnt really get as much emphasis as beat 1 so its a different feel than 2/4.
    i hope that made some sense!
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001

    '4/4 v. 2/4' sounds like the '7/4 v. 7/8' thread. It's all how it's written on the page.

    Now, that said, 2/4 and 4/4 are sometimes used to imply what kind of feel the bass player (and, hopefully the drummer) plays. In a 2/4 feel, you play notes on the first and third beats of the measure, and a 4/4 feel (like in jazz) you play 4 notes per measure -- one on each beat.
  4. If I understand you correctly, the 3 beat in 4/4 is the same as the 1 beat in measure 2 of 2/4.

    Since the 1 beat is emphasized, in 2/4 you will hear emphasis on every other beat rather than every 4th beat.

    Did I say this right?
  5. Ray, please say this again a little slower. :)
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    [font=&quot]'4/4 -- v. -- 2/4' -- sounds -- like -- the -- '7/4 -- v. -- 7/8' -- thread. -- It's -- all -- how -- it's -- written -- on -- the -- page.

    Now, -- that -- said, -- 2/4 -- and -- 4/4 -- are -- sometimes -- used -- to -- imply -- what -- kind -- of -- feel -- the -- bass -- player -- (and, -- hopefully -- the -- drummer) -- plays. -- In -- a -- 2/4 -- feel, -- you -- play -- notes -- on -- the -- first -- and -- third -- beats -- of -- the -- measure, -- and -- a -- 4/4 -- feel -- (like -- in -- jazz) -- you -- play -- 4 -- notes -- per -- measure -- -- -- one -- on -- each -- beat.

    But, seriously:

    When notating music, there would be no change in tempo necessarily from 4/4 to 2/4 or vice-versa, only the number of beats in a bar.

    The second part: 2/4 v. 4/4 is commonly, but probably incorrectly, used to imply feel. In jazz we also say '2-feel' or '4-feel', meaning, in the first case, that you play two beats per bar, on the first and third beats, and in the second case you play four beats to the bar, one on each quarter note. Bluegrass is almost exclusively a '2-feel' or '2/4 feel'.

    Did I get it (git it) this time?

  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    No guys, listen to Ray

    No difference.
  8. There is a difference!

    first off this isnt like the 7/8 7/4 topic because the difference between 7/4 and 7/8 is that in 7/4 the quarter note gets the beat and in 7/8 the eight note gets the beat but other than that they both have 7 beats in a measure...same feeling.

    As for 4/4 2/4
    4/4 has 4 beats per measure. beat one and three are the strong beats but one gets a stronger accent than 3.

    2/4 has 2 beats per measure and only beat one is strong so your right you play it exactly like 4/4 but it has a slightly different feel due to beat one always being the strong beat.

    and as for time signatures implying feelings as incorrect i disagree...what about 6/8 for example in a slow tempo you play it as
    1 2 3 4 5 6 with a feeling of 6 beats

    and in a fast tempo you play it with a feeling of 2 beats
    1 2

    time signatures and tempos can not only imply how many beats per measure and what note gets the beat but the feel of the music too. Ever get a piece of music in 3/4 but were made to play it in a feeling of one?

    Im not making this stuff up...check these two sites out they may have written it more clearly than i did.
    Time feeling
    another site
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001

    I do this for a living and have for a long time (but not as long as PW :)). The stuff that you mention is the crap that they put in grade/middle/high school books that screw up students for life unless they cut class. That info is as misguided as the concept of 'swing eighth notes' that gets imposed on the aspiring government-educated jazz student.
  10. Who is PW???
    Well im not a jazz student...nor do I know anything about bluegrass music...you may think that it is just a bunch of crap and i respect your opinion, but I personally dont think it is crap.
    I was just giving iPlay15151515 the reason why 4/4 and 2/4 would sound different.
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    PW is Paul Warburton, also known as Pull Warmbaton or any other number of Fuquaisms. One the most seasoned veterans here.

    Back on topic -- 'feel is feel' and 'time signatures is time signatures'. The two are related in certain ways, but one doesn't indicate too much about the other, really. A great example is the way that funk/Motown is written out. Although the feel is generally a long quarter-note feel, it is generally written in a 16th note fashion where the 1/8 note gets the pulse in a (written) 4/4 meter, the result being one 4/4 bar covers what 'feels' like two bars. And if you alter the feel based on your formula above you'll find yourself delivering pizzas to pay for your music lessons.

    Ya dig? ;)
  12. I see what your saying. But i really didnt post that stuff as some sort of musical law saying music MUST be played like that all the time i just wanted to show iPlay15151515 how the same piece played from 4/4 to 2/4 could have a totally different feeling.

    There are always exceptions like with your motown example..or unless the music noted that the accents should be placed elsewere. I really dont know anything about bluegrass/jazz/motown but in my experience playing with classical ensembles i do play with feelings according to the time signatures/tempos unless the music states (or conductor) to do otherwise. So i do believe time signatures and feeling are closer related than you do...but i guess thats just a difference in opinion...and that said i better get to bed early so i can go in the morning to see if that pizza hut delivery boy job is still available :)
  13. How -- did -- I -- know -- that -- you -- would -- go -- there. :)

    When I see banjo parts in 4/4, they are usually eighth notes. When I see them in 2/4, they are sixteenth notes, but played at half the 4/4 tempo. The same number of measures are used. The same if true for the bass lines except quarter and half notes are used.

    Am I looking at something that has been written incorrectly?
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Just different styles of notation. For example, bossa nova music: Gringos write everything in 4/4 and the Brasilians write the same thing in 2/4, just as you describe.
  15. I am PW....listen to Ray. You guys are a bit confused. This isn't about jazz.
  16. Well if im confused please explain to me how i am totally wrong about going about this i would really like to know.

    i know you guys have been playing music for a very long time so im really open to your opinions but please explain what you are trying to say in more detail cause i just dont get it...im saying that in 2/4 the strong beat is beat one due to it being the downbeat. and 4/4 and 2/4 there is no big difference than the natural accents in 4/4 beat one is a strong downbeat and 3 is less of a strong beat so the same music with the two different time signatures is EXACTLY THE SAME but the natural accents give it a slightly different feel...do you have to play it like that? no of course not...but i was just giving the person who asked the question a reason why it would/could sound different...i can give you guys dozens of references to this stuff you cant just tell me this is a load of crap or im confused...maybe you guys can give me references to what your trying to say?

    please dont think im being close minded, or just trying to argue. i really do want to hear what you guys think.

    from what i understood in the original question the question was the music being the same and a tempo change to compensate between the two time signatures (so the music will be layed out the same NOT that a tempo change is needed) how would the music sound different...and i gave my answer on how it would or could sound slightly different in feel but your right it is the same...im not saying that its not...just a slightly different feel! read the original question again.
  17. Maybe this'll help.
    A fairly common thing for jazz rhythm sections is that the pianist states the melody..say, a standard 32 bar tune with two A sections, one B section in the middle called the bridge , and the last A section. (the same melody and harmony as the first A sections. )
    While the pianist is playing the melody, the bassist is playing TWO beat (0ne and three) or 2/4. The drummer is playing a two beat feel with his brushes. After stating the melody, all three players break on beat four (4) of the last bar of the melody...BAM!! This is a two bar break, giving the drummer a chance to pick up his sticks and lay down his brushes and get ready to switch to 4/4.
    They were in 2/4, now they're in 4/4. Playing that 32 bar section of the melody in that TWO feel accomplished a few things. It caused a little stress kinda feel or, the feeling of holding things back a little...Going into Four after that TWO bar break gave a feeling of letting go, or alot of stress release. All this sets things up for the section to try and get into the 'Pocket', that much talked about swinging Groove that jazzers love SO much!
    I don't know if all this made any sense or did you any good....
  18. Whoa, now wait just a doggone minute. First you need to clear up something. When comparing 4/4 to 2/4 you need to determine if the quarter note is the same between the two time signatures, or if quarter note in 4/4 = eighth note in 2/4.

    Next, the ambiguous notion of playing "in 2" does not necessarily imply a time signature. You can play "in 2" in 6/8, 2/4, 4/4, 2/2, and probably several others. Paul, your example is a bit flawed. In the "2-beat" section of a tune, the time signature usually is 4/4. In fact the time signature does not typically change at any point during the course of a conventionally rendered standard tune. The feel, however, might and typically does. But whether you're playing "in 2" or "in 4" (referring to the feel), you're still playing in a 4/4 time signature.

    UNLESS you're talking about cut time, or 2/2. This is what one might notate if he wanted to dictate a "two feel". Often it is for faster tempos, where feeling or conducting 4 quarters per measuere gets laborious. It is sometimes used for Latin based music, which by nature is predominanly felt "in two".

    At least that is my take on it.
  19. Are you asking about "Metric Modulation" when you say change in tempo? Change in tempo could be anything, like "a little bit faster" wheras metric modulation is a specific ratio of one time sig to the next - usually it dictates which note value gets the pulse, for example: eighth note = quarter note. The pulse stays the same, but first the eighth note is the pulse then the quarter note is the pulse.
  20. Alright i see what you are saying with your jazz tune example, lets see if i got this the right way.

    what your saying is that the tune is in 4/4 time but the rhythm section is playing a 2/4 feel by playing on beats one and three. so its still 4/4 but with a feeling of 2/4.
    and then you switch to 4/4.

    ok that makes sense now but i dont think the original question was aimed towards that. he wasnt talking about playing a FEELING of 2/4 in a 4/4 piece what he asked was playing the same music in 4/4 vs. 2/4 would it sound different? and in my opinion yes...

    i mean if someone composes in 2/4 i think the person would expect/want the player to play with a feeling of two. unless otherwise notated in the music...so as ive been saying all along the stress lies in the downbeat of 1 so every other beat is a weak beat. so for example we have a line of music if i had it in 2/4 i'd play it with a feeling of 2!

    and if someone writes in 4/4 they expect (ussually) a feeling of 4 unless otherwise notated in the music. your example being one of the exceptions to cause tension by playing a feel of 2/4 during a 4/4. but if i had the same line of music that i used in the 2/4 example and it was notated for 4/4 i'd play it with a feeling of 4!

    but do you get what i've been trying to say all along???
    the question was if the SAME line was played 2/4 vs. 4/4 what would the difference be...and as a player i'd stress the feeling of 2 in 2/4 and the feeling of 4 in 4/4...just because in 2/4 you should give a feeling of 2 why wouldnt you? and in 4/4 you'd give a feeling of 4...so the time signatures DO give off a different feeling when you play the same music in different time signatures!

    who would have thought time signatures to cause such a debate? hahaha :)

    but Paul do you get what im trying to say too?

    and T-bal what you are saying is sort of along of what i am trying to say...that time signature and sometimes tempo are related to the feeling of the music as in your 6/8 example a slow 6/8 feels like 6 and a fast 6/8 you play with a feeling of 2. as in a slow 3/4 feeling of 3 a fast 3/4 feeling of one! but there is a different feeling within 2/4 and 4/4 also!