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Thread: How do you count 6 or 8 notes per beat

  1. #1
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    How do you count 6 or 8 notes per beat

    I know quarter notes are 1-e-and-a-2-e-and-a-3 etc... but I cant figure out how to count 6 or 8 notes per beat? thanks

  2. #2
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
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    flathead,

    Szulc wrote a great article on this topic. Here's the link:

    Meter & rythm atricle

    Zatz.

  3. #3
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    Just to clarify you aren't talking about counting a bar in 6/8 time or something like that you mean one of these freaky Frank Zappa, Steve Vai irregular groupings right?

    I wanted to point out that I included a time signature. I found it strange that none of szulc's examples in that article has a time signature, how do you understand meter without being given one? Didn't seem very intuitive to me. So this is 6 notes being played in the time of 1 quarter note (4/4 time).

    -Dan
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  4. #4
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Flathead, your counting example is for 16th notes, not quarter notes. 16th notes are 4 notes per beat in 4/4 time.

    Just double your counting to get to 6 or 8. If you mentally double the speed (bpm) then you can count normally for 3 and 4 notes per beat.
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  5. #5
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    The article had no time signature BECAUSE it was about meter and understanding what meter is.

    Meter and time signature are somewhat subjective.
    Notation of time signature came about as a result of people wanting to clearly indicate the pulse or rhythm of music on paper.
    You could count music as 4/4 or 2/2 and it could sound the same.
    Meter comes in only two flavors triple and duple, everything else is a combination of the two. It is exactly like prime numbers (2 and 3 are both prime!). There is no number (greater than 1) you can't represent with an equation like 2X + 3Y where X and Y are positive integers (or zero).

    The article was about the understanding of what meter really is and how it is subdivided using 2 and 3 as factors.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    We were taught to count triplets as 1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let etc....
    so for sextuplets you could use 1 sex tup u let a 2 sex tup u let a and for 16th note you could use 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a.
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  7. #7
    Registered User loveguitar's Avatar
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    hi James,

    sorry but I am still confuse about your article saying that
    the type of notes is just a means of dividing units of time.

    So if I hear the drum beats as a duple, or 2 beats, how do you determine the note type?

    In time signature notation (sorry I am more familiar with this notation), is 2/4, 2/8, 2/2 or what? What difference does it make?

    Second question is, about the accents you mentioned, so the by changing the beats of the drum changes the accent too?

  8. #8
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    In time signature notation (sorry I am more familiar with this notation), is 2/4, 2/8, 2/2 or what? What difference does it make?
    Exactly!
    Duple is Duple. The type of note you let count as one beat is kind of arbitrary. So 2/4 if you want a 1/4 to get a count or 2/8 if you want an 1/8th note to get a count or 2/2 if you want a half note to get a count.

    Remember the top number is beats per measure and the bottom note is the type of note that lasts for one beat.
    Second question is, about the accents you mentioned, so the by changing the beats of the drum changes the accent too?
    I am not sure I understand this question.
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  9. #9
    Registered User loveguitar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by szulc
    Exactly!
    Duple is Duple. The type of note you let count as one beat is kind of arbitrary. So 2/4 if you want a 1/4 to get a count or 2/8 if you want an 1/8th note to get a count or 2/2 if you want a half note to get a count.

    Remember the top number is beats per measure and the bottom note is the type of note that lasts for one beat.

    I am not sure I understand this question.
    Thanks. Maybe one reason I can think of is if a guitarist
    shreds 16 notes within one beat, we might not want to
    use a 1/8th note as the note type, if not each note becomes a 1/128th note (might not have a notation for that)!!

    As for the second question, what I mean is if the drummer
    starts changing the accent from 2nd beat to 4th beat, it also means the beats per measure is changed?

  10. #10
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    As for the second question, what I mean is if the drummer starts changing the accent from 2nd beat to 4th beat, it also means the beats per measure is changed?
    This is one of those times when musical staff could save a thousand words!

    Is this what you mean and if it is, then NO!

    Even though I posted no 4/4 meter on this staff, the accents could make you think (subjectively) that this is 5/4 time. In the absence of any other reference (bar lines or other musical parts) you could very well classify this as 5/4 since the accents are on every fifth beat.
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    Last edited by szulc; 09-26-2003 at 06:16 PM.
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  11. #11
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    I wanted to talk about that 4/4 and 2/2 example. If they would sound the same then why would you differentiate between 4/4 and 2/2? The answer is for notational purposes. If you were going to write piece that was very fast or very slow you might choose to notate it with a different time signature so that rather than writing a string of 32nd notes (hard to read quickly) you could write them as 1/16ths etc.

    Another thing is the difference between simple and compound meters. There is more than one kind of triple meter and they sound different. In all fairness this wasn't something I could get from reading, I had to have someone teach this to me in person. Not trying to rag on you szulc, just constructive criticism. (I hope that's how you take it).

    -Dan

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Explain your different types of Triple meter.
    And what differentiates them?
    Technically, triple meter is not compound meter. It is one of the two atomic types.
    Last edited by szulc; 09-26-2003 at 06:17 PM.
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  13. #13
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    It's a function of the time signature and it depends on the notes really. A piece in 6/8 could be either but lets back up.

    A piece in 9/8 does not have 9 beats per measure where each 1/8th note gets a beat. It has three beats and so it's a dotted quarter that gets a beat. This is a compound triple meter. 6/8 (Depending on the notes) is usually a compound duple meter. Well anyway I have to go. I reread what I wrote and I said that they "sound different" I didn't mean that you could listen to a peice and decide if it was a fast 3/4 or a slow 6/8 I just meant that when you count them out with a metronome they're different.

    I'd be glad to discuss it more when I get back, you can also read some about it at http://www.music.indiana.edu/som/theory/t511/meter.html

    -Dan

  14. #14
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    from http://www.music.indiana.edu/som/theory/t511/meter.html

    The number of beats in a compound meter can be determined by dividing the top number of the time signature by three.
    So 7/8 is really 2.33 beats?
    I think (know) this is incorrect.

    There are several ways to look at triple triple meter, the method closest to the one you are suggesting is 3/4 time with triplets on each beat. The fact that the musical phrase repeats every 9 notes is why it is triple triple. Whether you count it as 1-9 or 1-3 doesn't really make a flip as long as in the latter you are counting the notes as triplets and in the former you are counting them as 1/8 th (or some other easily divisable by 2 value).

    6/8 is always compound duple or triple meter (double triple or triple duple).

    You can set you metronome to any linear combination of the factors of the meter you are wanting to play and make it work.
    In fact this is a good exercise.

    The meter (rhythmic pulse) came first, long before the notation, the notation is just a way to communicate it. The notation doesn't dictate what the music sounds like, the music dictates how the notation should be written.

    Whether you decide to notate triple triple with 1/4 notes in 9/4 or triplets in 3/4 or 1/8th notes as fractions of dotted quarters, which is in my opinion is unnecessarily complicated, is a matter of choice and convieniance.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  15. #15
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    7/8 is a different animal that would be a group of 4 and a group of 3 (or vice versa).

    This will be my last attempt at showing what I'm saying. Two "sections" of melodies (if you could call them that) in 6/8 time. But because of the difference in simple or compound meter they sound different. Play them through powertab and I think you'll hear what I mean.

    6/8 is always compound duple or triple meter (double triple or triple duple).
    That makes no sense to me, the problem is you're using terminology that as far as I know (which is not very far, I admit) doesn't go together. Considering that I just passed my rhythm and meter test in music theory I think my understanding is decent. At anyrate like you said this stuff all has more to do with notation than with the actual sound of the music so if you and I still disagree after this I think we can just agree to disagree. I wasn't even sure if it was worth my time to write another reply. I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to play the credentials game but out of curiosity are you self-taught or have you taken a college theory class?

    -Dan
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