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Thread: Argh odd time sigs

  1. #1

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    Default Argh odd time sigs

    Ok, so i've been working on a song... so far so good, until the part where I encounter a 13/16 and 15/16 time sig.

    I roll past it ok, but i'm just wondering... how do you count that?

    For example you can count 6/8 in terms of 1, 2, 3 - 2, 2, 3 OR 1, 2... 1, 2...

    But I have no idea how the pulse goes for 13/16 and 15/16.

    Any help would be appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    13/16??? 15/16???

    What are you listening to exactly?
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Sometimes time signatures like that can be subdivided into smaller groups depending on the feel. For example a bar of 15/16 might be broken into a group of 8 followed by a group of 7.
    Peace, Love, and Rock N Roll

    Matt

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    That is a really odd signature. Like Yohin said, try splitting it up.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Even more common 'odd' time signatures can and should be subdivided. 7/8 might be 12 12 123 depending on the dominant pulse. It might even be counted in multiple measure phrases like 12 12 123 / 12 123 12 or 12 12 123 / 123 12 12.

    11/8 could be divided into equally short subdivisions 123 123 123 12. A lot of times, when there is a simple 1/8th not tagged onto a more common time signature (13/8 vs the more common 12/8) it can be a matter of playing 12/8 and adding a little 1/8th note hiccup at the end 123 123 123 123 1.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no4luPP6t9c"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no4luPP6t9c[/ame]

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Quote Originally Posted by xsabers View Post
    Even more common 'odd' time signatures can and should be subdivided. 7/8 might be 12 12 123 depending on the dominant pulse. It might even be counted in multiple measure phrases like 12 12 123 / 12 123 12 or 12 12 123 / 123 12 12.

    11/8 could be divided into equally short subdivisions 123 123 123 12. A lot of times, when there is a simple 1/8th not tagged onto a more common time signature (13/8 vs the more common 12/8) it can be a matter of playing 12/8 and adding a little 1/8th note hiccup at the end 123 123 123 123 1.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no4luPP6t9c
    +1 for subdividing. Just find out where you want your accents and count 1 on those. Subdivisions made easy.

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  7. #7

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    ...in the high school halls...

  8. #8

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    ...in the shopping malls...
    - Zack

  9. #9

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    ....conform or be cast out....
    Peace, Love, and Rock N Roll

    Matt

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    yeah, i would just break it down into smaller groupings that are easier to digest. For example, for 13 i'd do 2 groups of 4 followed by a group of 5... If you know what I mean. Just break things down into subdivisions and its much easier
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  11. #11

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Depending on the song, you can also look for an accent pattern. Sometimes just latching onto that and memorizing it will help you through it. There are two ways to play odd times. You can count it or you can feel it. It's always best to get to the point where you can feel it (after all, we don't count 4/4 right?). That usually takes longer. You have to play odd times a lot to get comfortable.
    - Tom

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  12. #12

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Yes. Yes. I agree. If you listen to the bass line or guitar rhythm, you can find a pulse or flow that leads you to the groove. Think Pink Floyd "Money". Sounds straight but it's in 7/4. The bass line is the key to making it flow so smoothly.
    Following the counting alone can result in "stiffer"sounding parts. Less in the pocket of the songs mood.
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  13. #13

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    As others already mentioned, look for patterns or smaller divisions within an odd time signature. For example, in 7\4, there may be a pattern of 4, then 3, then it repeats. It is in 7\4 time, but looking at it in chunks may make it easier at first. I'd say 6\8 is very common as well as 7\4, personally I've never heard a song in 15\16 time, but its possible.
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  14. #14

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    I do this for 13/16......"1e+a, 2e+a, 3e+a, 4... 1e+a etc"
    15/16..count "1e+a,2e+a,3e+a,4e+" (or 4+a, whatever syllable will flow better)

    Mind you, this is but one method to try. I can remember a friend of mine who was way in Zappa played me the tune "Thirteen" where Frank counted as 12,123 1..2..3..4.. (with the 4 count half the speed) ...ie: 12, 123 (two sixteenth note groups, 1..2..3..4.. being eighth note counts). In Balkan and East European music they'll sing out "short and long vowels or sounds" to break up the flow as they'll explain a particular rhythm, so you could go "1...2...3.4...1...2...3.4..."

    And in India they sing their rhythms too.....it's a lil more complicated (lol) but they could sing you out a string of somewhat sixteenth notes going "ta-ka-di-mi,ta-ka-di-mi,ta-ka-di-mi,ta-ki-ta" for 15/16, then "ta-ka-di-mi, ta-ka-di-mi,ta-ke-ta-di-mi"for 13/16....that's another world of counting altogether which I'm still reading and listening to at the moment...no way would I call myself a tabla player yet LOL

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Thanks for all the advice guys.. and Mike Portnoy really hit the hammer on the head for that video.

    And I'm listening to dream theatre stuff, guess that explains the odd time sig stuff i'm trying to play lol

    I suppose it would be better to "go with it", and not really count the whole thing... but the general feel that the time sig represents is important, that's why I wanted to know the pulse.

  16. #16

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    I'd say learn easier odd times first. Figure out 3/4 and 5/4.

  17. #17
    kris finney Guest

    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    id count it by halving the number assuming it isn't a big number like 21, so for 15 id count 7 then 8 (or 4 then 4 then 4 then 3)

    and for 13 id count it as 6 and 7 (or 3 then 3 then 3 then 4)

    (don't count all the 16ths etc in between beats that you might play, just count the beats (on the beat)

    you don't want to count big numbers like 9 12,15 etc because they take too long to pronounce, can you imagine counting every beat of a 4/32 rhythm, i can ind it would be almost impossible, also you can lose count when you have to count up from bigger numbers without restarting back to 1

    also you could write it like this if you wish as its very common, you don't need to work out how to play odd time signatures if your happy with how you play it, counting it is a different story again and writing it all down is yet another story.

    ALSO count it out loud slow first then gradually speed it up to the desired tempo.

    all the best, Kris
    Last edited by kris finney; 11-20-2010 at 09:55 AM.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    Quote Originally Posted by zackpomerleau View Post
    i'd say learn easier odd times first. Figure out 3/4 and 5/4.
    +1

  19. #19

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    Default Re: Argh odd time sigs

    13/16 and 15/16 are indeed two very odd odd signatures. I wonder which song it is? If I have to count something I usually try to avoid counting 16:th notes. 15/16 and 13/16 doesn´t feel right at all to me. Try counting 4/8 followed by 7/16. Very awkvard..? Or 4/8 followed by 5/16. Is the song in 6/8 triplet feel? 6/8 + 3/16 triplet feel ... makes it only more awkvard. 13/8 and 15/8 makes more sense when subdividing. Just IMHO!

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