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Switching time sigs/ & key sigs mid-bar

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Red Wonder, Feb 15, 2005.


  1. I was wondering if it was possible to switch these signatures in the middle of a bar? Could anyone help me with this question that popped into my head. I never see it in theory books or discussed amongst musicians often. I thought I heard Dream Theater pulling this stuff off on their Metropolis album but I wasn't quite sure. Does theory mention this concept?
     
  2. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    It's not necessary.

    You would just change time signatures in two successive bars.

    Rather than changing into 3/4 half way through a bar of 7/8, you'd change from 7/8 to, say, 3/8 then into 3/4
     
  3. Okay that's very interesting! Approaching signature changes like that would surely make a great transition. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And you might not even be changing time signatures, you might just be changing phrasing. You hear 3 against 4 and 4 against 3 all the time, depending on how much of this stuff they are writing out (or having to read) they may still just be in 4/4.
     
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    A fun game to play is to go on the Radiohead newsgroup and ask people what time signature Pyramid Song is in. (It's common time, but they'll argue till blue in the teeth that it's in 11 or 7 or whatever, because the phrasing drifts so much)
     
  6. For key signatures, you'd probably want to switch at the beginning of the next measure and finish the on you're on with accidentals.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    It does happen in practice!!

    So the best example of this is Gustav Holst's Planet Suite.

    In Saturn there is a part where the slow persistent and gentle tempo/key is violently interrupted mid-bar, by frenetic bells and a new dissonant key.

    I have two copies of the score of this piece - a normal printed one and a facsimile of Holt's own hand-written score.

    So, the latter is big and stored away, but on the former, there is a dotted line drawn down the middle of the bar, separating the two parts - with new clefs drawn in some places - in others, accidentals are used and a new tempo indicated.
     
  8. Interesting...I think the focus of this topic is TIME signatures, though...
     
  9. No the title is, "Switching time sigs/ & key sigs mid-bar".