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Time signature questions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LAW, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. LAW


    Jun 23, 2005
    Hello all.
    I am having trouble deciphering time sigs. I play mostly prog rock ala Yes. That being said I have been playing along with alot of their tunes and have actually gotten good at approximating Squire's lines/riffs. My problem is that people say certain songs are in this time or that (6/8 or 11/8 for example) but all I hear is Bruford's high hat. The steady high hat keeps me in time for the most part. I'm wondering if this is normal for everyone else? Where does the actaul time sig come into play if I can keep myself in time with just the high hat?

  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Well, if you have a cue to follow off, that effectively will get you by, but if you're not counting, then, when you get lost, you'll likely have a hard time getting found again, and also, if you're relying on someone else to keep your time then if that person changes or is off, it will adversely affect you as well.

    time sigs is just counting, if it's /8 you count in eighth notes if it's /4 you count in quarter notes.
  3. LAW


    Jun 23, 2005
    So basically what I do is right. I do count eights and fours, sometimes it seems like threes but I think it is just 6/8 (1,2,3,2,2,3). The high hat just keeps me grounded. When the high hat leaves I am still counting and usually when the high hat comes back, I'm right with it. I was just wondering what's with the different sigs cause all I hear is 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4.... or 1,2,3,2,2,3...
  4. lowerclef


    Nov 10, 2003
    The trick is figuring out what signature you're in, then learning how the bar is subdivided (which beats are accented). For example, I wrote an 11/8 tune years ago that was counted 12341231212 because that's where the accents lie. But if you take the intro to the Allman Brothers' Whippin' Post, also in 11/8, it's totally different. It's more like 12312312312. Try counting along and clapping on the ones in those two examples and you'll hear the difference.

    But with odd times, you're often dealing with different groups of 2, 3, or 4. Sometimes it helps to think of a regular beat and tweak it. If you were in 17/16, you could think of it as 4/4 (which converts to 16/16 if you think about it) with an extra 16th note on the end. It just takes some listening practice and counting along, because ultimately you don't want to rely on someone else's part to keep time for you. It should be internalized so you can play it alone and still be in time.