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Question on Reading Music in Cut Time

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by jgbass, May 20, 2004.

  1. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I have been working on reading 4/4 pieces in cut time but it is not yet easy. My instructor has given me some tough reading pieces in jazz idiom with a lot of syncopated licks. We start in 4/4 and then do the metronome in 2. I do okay in 4/4 but its difficult thinking of this in 2, whether it is jazz or classical, yet for any fast material, it makes more sense to think in 2. My instructor thinks it is crucial and I'm making progress.
    My reading approach is mostly accumulated knowledge over the years and a lot of concepts from Carol Kaye videos -- tapping foot down for the downbeat in steady rhythm, working things out by singing, using slash marks for downbeats. My instructor is getting into syllables to cue into, subdividing the beat. That works but it will take a while to get them fully in my thinking before it becomes automatic.

    Who has reading really down? How would you approach pieces in 2? 1-and-2-and, or ???? Maybe I just have to hang in there and get through this, but does anyone have any suggestions for making this a little easier? Much appreciated.
  2. I'm not all that experienced but I think the 1-and-2-and thing is probably the way to go, that's at least how my teacher has me doing it. The thing about cut time is that it is almost no different from 4/4 except that there is slightly less emphasis on the "and" of each beat then there would be on 2 and 4.
  3. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    When playing cut time I like to set my metronome at 2/4 (1 + 2 + / 1 + 2 + / etc...). Cut time is written like 4/4 but I divide the notes in half. So, for example, a quarter note in 4/4 would be an eighth note in cut time. It gets tricky in syncopation but you just have to take it slowly.

    quarter note = 8th note
    8th note = 16th note
  4. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Thanks for your good responses. I'm going to try the 1-an-2 -and approach and just give it time, practice a little each day.
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You can also count twice as fast.