Simple and Compound signatures.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sippy, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Okay I know the difference between Simple and Compound signatures. I know a compound signature the beats can be divided into 3's... I've never had a problem identifying which is simple and which is compound.. but.. why the hell does it matter?? in my college theory class the professor is making a big deal about distinguishing the two. Why does it matter if we can or not? Even though it is quite easy; I dont' see the need to even know it.
  2. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Your college prof may be making a big deal about because its part of job security and retirement plans.

    Seriously, as far as playing by ear, there is probably no real reason to think about it in these terms. However, it is important if you plan to communicate to other musicians, either in written form, or in explaining how something is to be played.

    Understanding music theory and all the other things that your prof will be talking is best served by remembering that music theory is an "after the fact" piece of information. In other words, music is created (by whatever means, composing or improvising) and then, at a later time, someone tries to explain and communicate what has happened... there you have music theory. So, to understand how music WAS created, music theory is very important.... to know what you are going to create, your head, heart and ear are more important than past information.
  3. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Ohh okay good... because for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the big deal is... why do compound and simple meter signatures exist? Why do we have to label them as compound or simple.
    I'm sorry for the rant, it just seems dumb to label them when they both do the same thing, it's just that one can be divisible by 3. Thanks a lot Chuck!! :)
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    It makes a difference when writing things down. Compound duple means something completely different than Simple duple (6/8 vis 2/4). They're both "in two", but feel completely different.

    Theory helps us communicate - no different than learning the mechanics of english - with others who speak the same language.
  5. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005

    awesome. Ok thanks guys :)