Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

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Heavymetalhead7
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Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by Heavymetalhead7 » July 2nd, 2017, 1:17 am

So i have been having so much detecting bars of 2/4 in a 4/4 song is there something im missing that i should be listening for they just sound so identical when listening i cant spot the quick change

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 2nd, 2017, 3:54 am

All musical meters come in groups of either two or three beats, with a stress on the first beat of the group.

When a meter has more than three beats, it's some combination - a quadruple meter (four beats per measure) is two groups of two beats. The only difference between that and a duple meter is that the first beat is stressed a little bit more than the third. Beat 1 is a primary accent, and beat 3 is a secondary accent.

If you're listening to a song that switches back and forth, it can be hard to tell. But if you listen for the strongly accented beats while counting 1-2-3-4, you might find a spot where you're suddenly hearing the stronger accent on count 3. The measure right before that moment was in duple meter, with just two beats. Since it was short, the secondary accent has been replaced by the primary accent of the next measure.

I've used the terms "duple" and "quadruple" instead of 2/4 and 4/4, because time signatures are representations of meter. The exact same thing can be heard in a change from 4/8 to 2/8 or from 4/2 to 2/2. Although the time signatures - the way we write the meter - are different, the underlying meters are identical.
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 9th, 2017, 2:14 am

Following on Noteboat's: yes.....but more 'from the top'.

- meter is the number of beats in a measure

- tempo is how many beats per minute.

So at the same tempo, 2/4 and 4/4 are not the same, but 2/2 and 4/4 are because they take up the same amount of time.


I don't say time signatures. Only meter. Time is tempo. Meter is rhythm.

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by Heavymetalhead7 » July 11th, 2017, 2:36 am

Thanks a for the help guys but i still can't hear or fell the difference for example happiness is a warm gun by the Beatles has a bar of 2/4 in it and I struggle to hear maybe I just don't know what to listen for all the drum beats in the song sound identical except when it changes to 9/8 and 12/8

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 11th, 2017, 4:46 pm

Heavymetalhead7 wrote:
July 11th, 2017, 2:36 am
Thanks a for the help guys but i still can't hear or fell the difference for example happiness is a warm gun by the Beatles has a bar of 2/4 in it and I struggle to hear maybe I just don't know what to listen for all the drum beats in the song sound identical except when it changes to 9/8 and 12/8
It takes less time. At a given tempo, each measure is a period of time played. 2/4 is half the time period of 4/4. Now the tab or score you're consulting may be written incorrectly, I'd have to see it.

More to the point is in typical Western music, especially pop culture music, a measure is a phrase or piece of a phrase. Question and answer. For example, when I'm 64:

"When I get older || losing my hair || many years from now || (do do do do do)

Four sections make up two phrases, the first one question, the second answer. In the case of Happiness is a Warm Gun, there are parts where the phrase is extended a bit - for example at the end of the first verse - going over that 4/4 time space by 1/4, making 9, which make sense in preparation for the 6/8 coming next.

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 12th, 2017, 5:03 am

I'm not sure that's helpful - two beats in 2/4 take exactly the same amount of time as two beats in 4/4, so the pace of the beats won't help identify the time signature change.

What will help is mapping out the time between the downbeats, the primary stresses. When they're closer together (or farther apart) than you expect, that can signal a change in meter.
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 12th, 2017, 11:45 am

Feeling the rhythm of the phrasing gives all one needs. Knowing the meter isn't even required.

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by Heavymetalhead7 » July 13th, 2017, 2:22 am

Rhythm has always been a huge promblem chord were so dang easy to learn but my rhythm has always sucked mostly playing rhythms by ear just strumming a song without studying it for hours is hard i finally learned to hear strumming patterns in songs pretty easily but now meter is throwing me off songs that throw that 2/4 in there just kill me i have to listen to the song 100 times just to pick up the slight melody change

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 13th, 2017, 3:43 am

Don't worry about having to listen 100 times. We've all been there - your ears will get better the more you do it.
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 13th, 2017, 3:51 am

Oh, and to follow on from something earlier in the thread:
So at the same tempo, 2/4 and 4/4 are not the same, but 2/2 and 4/4 are because they take up the same amount of time.


This isn't true. 2/2 is a duple meter (two beats per measure) and 4/4 is a quadruple meter (four beats per measure). And they don't take the same amount of time, either - when a half note is the beat, a half note gets one beat. When a quarter note is the beat, a quarter note gets one beat.

If the tempo, or beats per measure, are the same, a measure of 4/4 will take up twice as much time as a measure of 2/2, because it contains twice as many beats.

This can be confusing, because if you ignore the time signature a measure of 2/2 will look exactly like a measure of 4/4: each has the equivalent of four quarter notes per measure. But compared to a measure of 4/4, the 2/2 measure will sound like eighth notes, because each quarter note represents just half of a beat.
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 13th, 2017, 1:23 pm

NoteBoat wrote:
July 13th, 2017, 3:43 am
Don't worry about having to listen 100 times. We've all been there...
I haven't. My answer would be not to do it, then.


I think you're confusing beats (versus pulse) with beat value. There are 4 quarter notes in 2/2 and 4/4. The constant is the tempo (unless it's Elliot Carter or the like.....), so with either if quarter note=x, they take the same amount of time. Their feel may be different, that depends on the context. If the half note is the beat value, then yes it's half the length, but then the tempo has changed. The rate may be the same, but the note value changed. It's not the same tempo. This is why different meters are written at different tempo, to suit the context. The larger the value, the slower they tend to be.

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 13th, 2017, 7:27 pm

No, I am not confusing beats with pulse. Beats are the pulse.

You, on the other hand, are confusing notes with beats. Tempo is measured in beats per minute, not in notes per minute.

There are four quarter notes in a measure of 4/4, which represent four beats. There are also four quarter notes in a measure of 2/2, but those four quarter notes represent just two beats, because the unit of a beat in 2/2 is a half note.

When you change a time signature in the middle of a piece, the beat remains the same. If you change from 4/4 to 2/2, your quarter notes are now being played twice as fast but your tempo has not changed! What has changed is the note that is being used to indicate a one beat sound.

2/2 is often referred to as "cut time" because it sounds twice as fast as 4/4 in relation to the quarter note - but it isn't twice as fast. The beats are still exactly the same. What has changed is how long a note lasts. Notes are representations of relative amounts of time, and ANY note can serve as the unit of the beat.

When a composer chooses to change time signatures and keep the note values the same, the tempo IS changed. This is usually indicated in standard notation by parentheses above the first measure of the new time signature which contain two notes separated by an equal sign (quarter note = quarter note). If you are in 4/4 at 120 beats per minute, and you change to 2/2 with the indication that quarter notes equal quarter notes, you are now playing at 60 beats per minute, because each quarter note is one half of a beat in 2/2.

Your last statement, that different meters are written at different tempos is rather confusing. I believe you're trying to express the idea of tempo giusto (Italian for "right time"). A piece written in 3/8 time is usually conducted faster than a piece written in 3/4, even if the two have the same tempo term, such as "Allegro". But using 3/8 will NOT mean you'll play twice as fast - it means that within the range of a tempo term like Allegro (roughly 120-168 beats per minute) the 3/8 piece will be counted a little bit faster within that range, a 3/4 piece will be counted a little slower, and a 3/2 piece a bit slower still. But they'll all be within the broad general range of an Allegro feeling. If a metronome mark is used instead of a tempo term, 3/8 and 3/4 will be identical in tempo, because they each have three beats in a measure, and the time a beat lasts is fixed by the metronome mark.
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 14th, 2017, 1:30 pm

I think it's a matter of preferred convention. I think in terms of pulse, for example as seems the case of Schoenberg in this piece. (No posting options, and inability to embed, etc, gets the booby prize. LLL-AME.)

https://youtu.be/JEY9lmCZbIc?t=11s

http://i.imgur.com/mueaWFp.png

Notice he has two markings. The latter is how I think of things, but his 1/3 of that preceeding it equates to measure length, suggesting to me a hinting at the rhythmic structure. I've never seen the sense of counting beats when the pulse pervades.

In any case, this brings us back to the 'feeling of music', and if one doesn't have that, I question their intent in exploring music.

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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by NoteBoat » July 14th, 2017, 6:56 pm

The Schoenberg piece is a great example... but not at the initial measure, because that's just a bpm tempo indication. Go a little farther in the piece and you'll find several changes of time signature. At measure 176 it changes to 2/2, with a tempo marking of Molto Allegro (half note = 108), and then at measure 186 there's this:

http://tomserb.imgur.com/all/?third_party=1

When the time signature changes from 2/2 to 3/4 there's an indication that quarter note equals quarter note. So a half beat of 2/2 becomes a full beat in 3/4. If you are counting beats, your tempo changes, because you go from counting 108 half note beats per minute to counting 216 quarter note beats per minute.

Alternatively, if you are counting by metric units (which I think is what you mean by "beat pulses" - metric units are groups of two or three beats that begin with an accented beat), your tempo still changes, because you go from counting 108 two-beat units per minute to counting 72 three-beat units per minute.

At that particular change, quarter note equals quarter note, so they've been passing by at 216 per minute for that entire section. But each of those quarter notes before the meter change represented 1/2 of a beat (or 1/4 of a metric unit), and after the change they represent 1 beat (or 1/3 of a metric unit). And that essentially sums up my argument: notes are not the same as beats, and if a meter change uses a different note for the beat, keeping a note at the same time value must result in a tempo change.

For what it's worth, I think I finally understand what you mean by "beat pulses". If you're counting metric units and a change goes from 4/4 to 2/2 with quarter note = quarter note, you are correct that the amount of time a metric unit takes remains the same. But you've gone from measures having two metric units to measures having one, so your downbeats are closer together. I can see how you might count them the same way... and I can also see how it can get you into trouble in counting more challenging music. Some of Xanakis' percussion pieces spring to mind.

I'm curious where you picked up that term, "beat pulses". I've been teaching music for almost 40 years now, and I've frequently heard the terms "pulse", "pulse of the beat", or even "tactus" but they have always been synonymous with "beat". The term I've always used (and heard used in both my undergrad and graduate studies) for your "beat pulse" is "metric unit", or more rarely, "pulse group".
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Re: Still Struggling with Time Signatures Mostly Detecting 2/4

Post by chroma » July 14th, 2017, 10:38 pm

I think it was just my refusal to entertain all those things. I don't see the need. Pop music surely doesn't need them.

Your link goes to a 'nothing here' page.

Incidentally, I can forego percussion pieces. Most of the instruments are all attack. I like Xenakis' normal ensemble stuff, though.

Anyways, we're getting way off from helping the OP, I think......unless he's really taking all this in.

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