View Full Version : 4/4, 5/4 13/8 ???

06-26-2003, 05:58 PM
Simple question, i just wanna know what is the main difference between a measure in 4/4 and in any other beat like 5/4. I think ive always played in 4/4 cause when i play a measure i can always count to 8 before the end.

Any song that would use other beat than 4/4 would be useful.

06-26-2003, 09:00 PM
In basic terms for any time signature, 4/4, 5/8, 7/8 or whatever the top number corresponds to the number of beats in the bar (hence 4/4 is four beats in a measure and so is 4/2). The bottom number represents how long each beat is. If its a 4 its a quarter note, if 8 an eigth note and so on. So basically 4/4 would mean a measure lasting 4 quarter beats and 5/4 would be 5 quarter beats long.

Hopefully that kind of made sense, its easier than it sounds. As for an example of a song in 5/4 the most commonly known is probably the mission impossible theme tune.

06-27-2003, 01:57 AM
Count any waltz and youll hear what 3/4 means. Check out Pink Floyd´s Money for a 7/8.

06-27-2003, 04:10 AM
here is a powertab file of a song I wrote for a short-lived hardcore band I was in.. it uses 5/4 and 7/8 time.. turn on the metronome function in powertab to hear the beats counted out.. I kind of count along in the back of my head for the 5/4 part to keep it tight.. the 7/8 part I just kind of let flow without thinking about it too much... maybe this example will help some..


06-27-2003, 04:41 AM
here'a song I was working on, it has alternating bars of 11/8 and 10/8.

btw, Wyll_Watts those were some cool riffs.

06-29-2003, 06:37 PM
Here is an example of how to get the feel of odd meter.
This is 3/8 accenting 1 of each measure.

06-29-2003, 06:38 PM
Another example uisng 5/8 and accenting on 1 and 3.

06-29-2003, 06:39 PM
Same idea, odd beats except last accented.

06-29-2003, 06:39 PM
Last one like this same thing on 9 beats.

06-29-2003, 06:41 PM
I put the previous examples in Powertab but you could do just as well tapping them with your hands. The important thing is the accents and counting the beats.

07-03-2003, 07:57 PM
Wyll_Watts, the1andonly,

great examples!!! I saved em to work on - sound interesting.


yeah, the accents did it all for me!


07-06-2003, 12:43 PM
Szulc, is that the way those measures would normally be played? Eg 6/8 is usually played with emphasis on the 1 and 4, are those the normal spots to put emphasis for those sigs, or did you just put them there to help counting?

07-06-2003, 01:44 PM
It is pretty normal to accent the 1 and 3 in 6/8 time although if they are accented equally you would be in 3/8 time.

There are a lot of different ways to accent odd meters. I was just trying to demonstrate the simplest ones. If you play triplets (the simplest odd meter), you have R l r, L r l, accenting the 1 of each group. I have just extended this idea to other odd meters.
So L r l, R l r becomes L r L r l, R l R l r for quintuplets and so on, basically you are accenting the odd beats except the last to emphasize the return of the 1. This makes it easier (at least to me) to get the sound and feel of odd meters into my head.

The truth is all odd meters are just combinations of duple and triple meter, and more often than not these combinations are evident in actual music. A couple of good examples of that are TAKE 5 and Money. Take five is broken up into 123, 45 a group of three and then a group of two. Money is broken up 123, 4567 into a group of three and two groups of two (or one group of four).

As I have stated previously, most musicians could benefit greatly from studying drum rudiments. The exercises are simple in terms of you note choices (Left or Right Hand), but the point is to teach rhythmic diversity, and the sight reading of rhythms.

To me, reading rhythms is the hardest part of reading music.
The notes are pretty easy and can be made easier by avoiding ledger lines (using 8va etc..).

07-14-2003, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by Koala
Check out Pink Floyd´s Money for a 7/8.

Wasnt Money in 7/4? You can probably count it in either timing but its personal preference.

If you wanna hear some wierd timings listen to anything by Dream Theater. On Learning to Live fom Images & Words there is one measure of 19/16 time!!!!!!