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Thread: Time Signatures!

  1. #1
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    Question Time Signatures!

    Hi everyone!

    Im completely new to this but i was wondering whether there was anyone that could help me out.

    My sister is taking a ballet exam in the next few weeks and she had a mock exam today... she was asked to break down a 9/8 time signature. Now the teacher said it could be broken down into 3 sections .... is this just because it is divisable by 3?

    is this how it works as a general rule?

    thank you for your help in advance

  2. #2
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    Meters such as 3/8, 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, etc can be broken down into groups of 3 eighth notes. 9/8 would be broken down into 3 beats of 3 eighth notes.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your reply .. thats what i thought! Are there any other time signatures which can be broken down at all that you could think of? I really appreciate your help as her exam is soon and i dont want her to fail!


    Thank you again for previous help ....

  4. #4
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    Well, all time signatures can be broken down. Ones such as 3/4, 4/4, 2/4, 5/4, etc, are broken down into the number of beats that are in the numerator (3 beats for 3/4, 4 beats for 4/4, etc). In these meters, each beat will have 2 eighth notes. For 4/4 time, that would be 4 beats of 2 eighth notes.

    Meters ending in /8 can be broken up into beats of 3, or combinations of 2 and 3 (which is somewhat more obscure and probably not going to be on a simple meter test). So, for the sake of the test, x/8 meters will be divided into beats of 3. For exampel, 9/8 is three beats of three eighth notes.

  5. #5
    Registered User drum's Avatar
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    I hope I'm not hijacking the thread here but is this division something to do with compound or simple time or are they something completely different?
    Cheers.

  6. #6
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    HI


    Thank you again for your help ..... its much appreciated. You know your music!!

    Thank you again

    xx

  7. #7
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drum
    I hope I'm not hijacking the thread here but is this division something to do with compound or simple time or are they something completely different?
    Cheers.
    Yes. In simple meters, the beat is divided into two 8th notes. In compound meters, the beat is divided into three. In odd meters, both divisions can be used in the same measure.

  8. #8
    Registered User rjc_15's Avatar
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    I'm having a really...REALLY hard time understanding time signatures. I understand 6/8 a bit, but everything else is so foreign. I'm sorry if this quesion has been thoroughly answered, but can you break signatures into the absolute basic terms? I'd appreciate it. Sorry if it's seems like a hijack, but I figure it would be easier than creating a new thread and cluttering the board.

  9. #9
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    A great way is to listen to well-known songs. I.e. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica is a great example of 6/8. Listen to the intro, you may sense the "ONE two three FOUR five six" cycle.

    Manic Depression by Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughan is a good example of 3/4 if I remember correctly.

    Most songs in general are in 4/4.

    Try to compare, and see if you hear the differences. Then read the theoretical explanations again.

  10. #10
    Registered User rjc_15's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot. I mean, I know of a few songs in 6/8, most of them by Coheed and Cambria. It's the only time signature other than 4/4 that I can grasp. The reason why I'm asking about time signatures is because I really enjoy stuff like The Mars Volta, and they tend to use strange signatures that I don't understand. Thanks again for your help, I'll see if I can understand them a lot better now.

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