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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Dealing with time signature changes within the tune.


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/48836

Snafu - Posted - 02/26/2018:  10:30:44


A question on proper timing for the those out there who read music notation. Perhaps others too, IDK. OK. So in one of the method books I use, a tune starts off in 4/4 time signature and goes on for a pick up note then two whole bars, then one bar of 6/4 time then back to 5 bars of 4/4 time then another bar of 6/4 time then it ends in 4/4 time for the last part measure.



The way I think of it is that each quarter note is worth one second of clock time (for discussion purpose only here, I play it faster) so each bar of 4/4 time takes 4 seconds to play. When it changes to 6/4 time I assume each bar still take four seconds of clock time and have to speed up to fit in the six equivalent quarter notes in that bar within four seconds of clock time (not six). Is this a right way to approach it?



Alternately, if a tune changes from 4/4 to say 3/4 time for a bar or more than the 3/4 bars would need to be played slower so that the three quarter notes take up 4 seconds of clock time. Again do I have this concept right and if not how should it be timed.



As for how to count these changing time signatures when the music tempo changes, I’m lost. I kinda go with an internal time clock and just speed up to play the “six” quarter notes in four seconds to use the example above. It does sound right in this tune.



Thanks for the help.


Edited by - Snafu on 02/26/2018 10:33:47

Brian Wood - Posted - 02/26/2018:  10:37:14


When you say each quarter note equals one second, that is also still true when the time changes to 6/4. So each bar now takes 6 seconds. Same with 3/4 time - 3 seconds. You are changeing the number of notes in the bar is all.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/26/2018:  11:45:38


<p><p><p>Start at the beginning of the piece and count out the beats out loud, emphasizing the first beat in each measure. Don't worry about the pitches of the notes just yet. If confusion begins to reign, just count out the beats for a few measures, maybe three or four of them. Before long you'll get reasonably comfortable as to how the tune moves. You'll be on your way. One other thing. When you're counting, quarter notes are One, Two, Three, etc. Eighth notes (the ones with one flag or one connecting line) are one-and-two-and-three-and-four, etc. Sixteenth notes (the ones with two connecting lines or two flags) are one-ee-an-ah two-ee-an-ah, etc.</p>



Eric!  My post has become festooned with oddball nonsense between sentences!


Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 02/26/2018 11:48:40

DougD - Posted - 02/26/2018:  12:44:12


What Brian said. The time signature (4/4 as an example) means four beats to a measure and a quarter note gets one beat. If the time signature of a measure changes to 6/4 or 3/4 the quarter note still gets one beat, and unless the metronome marking or tempo description changes, that beat still takes the same amount of time. Therefore those measures take more (or less) time to play.


Edited by - DougD on 02/26/2018 12:46:35

Snafu - Posted - 02/26/2018:  13:13:35


Brian and Ed,
Thank you for helping a guy out. Nice to have expert help.

I have always played according to the "rules" you outlined. This tune apparently came from opera (Henry Purcell). When I listen to the song being sung, It is obvious that the singer speeds up the tempo (bpm) at this point (the 6/4 section) in the tune then reverts to the slower (4/4) tempo. Just playing the tune without the words it only "works" if the 6/4 section is sped up. If all the quarter notes are given the same clock time alotment (likewise all the half notes equally time allocated) then tune does not sound right. Perhaps since this is a tune in book 1 of a violin method the author simplified the musical notation.

For my education, how is the instantaneous need to change the tune tempo in a single or perhaps a few bar(s) indicated in music notation?

BanjoBrad - Posted - 02/26/2018:  14:22:39


quote:Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler





Start at the beginning of the piece and count out the beats out loud, emphasizing the first beat in each measure. Don't worry about the pitches of the notes just yet. If confusion begins to reign, just count out the beats for a few measures, maybe three or four of them. Before long you'll get reasonably comfortable as to how the tune moves. You'll be on your way. One other thing. When you're counting, quarter notes are One, Two, Three, etc. Eighth notes (the ones with one flag or one connecting line) are one-and-two-and-three-and-four, etc. Sixteenth notes (the ones with two connecting lines or two flags) are one-ee-an-ah two-ee-an-ah, etc.



Eric! My post has become festooned with oddball nonsense between sentences!

Ed, I'm not sure how you are posting, but it appears that you are attempting to post with an HTML editor. The "nonsense" between sentences is web page markup. If you are formatting your post in a word processor (Word, for instance), then you need to get out of a formatted page. Try using Textedit, or the MS equivalent, and not in "rich text" format, or use the quick reply box in the forum, but make sure you are not using the Rich Text option.

Other than that, I'm at a loss.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/26/2018:  14:54:00


<blockquote id="quote">quote: <hr height="1" id="quote" noshade="noshade" /><i>Originally posted by <a href="/myhangout/home.asp?id=23" ID="newtag-23">BanjoBrad</a></i><br /> <p>quote:Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br />Start at the beginning of the piece and count out the beats out loud, emphasizing the first beat in each measure. Don't worry about the pitches of the notes just yet. If confusion begins to reign, just count out the beats for a few measures, maybe three or four of them. Before long you'll get reasonably comfortable as to how the tune moves. You'll be on your way. One other thing. When you're counting, quarter notes are One, Two, Three, etc. Eighth notes (the ones with one flag or one connecting line) are one-and-two-and-three-and-four, etc. Sixteenth notes (the ones with two connecting lines or two flags) are one-ee-an-ah two-ee-an-ah, etc.<br /><br /> <br /><br />Eric! My post has become festooned with oddball nonsense between sentences!<br /><br />Ed, I'm not sure how you are posting, but it appears that you are attempting to post with an HTML editor. The "nonsense" between sentences is web page markup. If you are formatting your post in a word processor (Word, for instance), then you need to get out of a formatted page. Try using Textedit, or the MS equivalent, and not in "rich text" format, or use the quick reply box in the forum, but make sure you are not using the Rich Text option.<br /><br />Other than that, I'm at a loss.</p>

<hr height="1" id="quote" noshade="noshade" /></blockquote><p></p>



 



Eric,



What I do is simply type my message in the reply box at the bottom of the post.  Here it is in plain text.

 

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/26/2018:  14:54:26


Here it is in rich text.

DougD - Posted - 02/26/2018:  15:05:18


Snafu, if there is a tempo change along with the time signature, it would usually be shown by a different metronome marking or tempo description. In my experience this is not common - usually the notation is written so that's not necessary, but I've encountered it, but not usually in a repeated way - i.e. the time signature might change from 9/8 to 11/8 and be marked by something like "maestoso," but it doesn't usually change back (at least not very soon).


Edited by - DougD on 02/26/2018 15:07:07

Brian Wood - Posted - 02/26/2018:  16:05:00


quote:

Originally posted by BanjoBrad

quote:Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler











Start at the beginning of the piece and count out the beats out loud, emphasizing the first beat in each measure. Don't worry about the pitches of the notes just yet. If confusion begins to reign, just count out the beats for a few measures, maybe three or four of them. Before long you'll get reasonably comfortable as to how the tune moves. You'll be on your way. One other thing. When you're counting, quarter notes are One, Two, Three, etc. Eighth notes (the ones with one flag or one connecting line) are one-and-two-and-three-and-four, etc. Sixteenth notes (the ones with two connecting lines or two flags) are one-ee-an-ah two-ee-an-ah, etc.







Eric! My post has become festooned with oddball nonsense between sentences!



Ed, I'm not sure how you are posting, but it appears that you are attempting to post with an HTML editor. The "nonsense" between sentences is web page markup. If you are formatting your post in a word processor (Word, for instance), then you need to get out of a formatted page. Try using Textedit, or the MS equivalent, and not in "rich text" format, or use the quick reply box in the forum, but make sure you are not using the Rich Text option.



Other than that, I'm at a loss.






Well, at the risk that we're taking this way off topic, I note that when the box pops up for me to do a reply there is html there for a few seconds, then it resolves to text. Maybe there is some setting in your browser - a blocked script perhaps - that doesn't allow the completion of the process. Do you have a script blocker, or even an ad blocker? Try undoing everything you have and see if you get different results. If it's not that, I don't know.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 02/26/2018:  16:06:34


What is the book, page number, exercise/tune name?


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu

A question on proper timing for the those out there who read music notation. Perhaps others too, IDK. OK. So in one of the method books I use, a tune starts off in 4/4 time signature and goes on for a pick up note then two whole bars, then one bar of 6/4 time then back to 5 bars of 4/4 time then another bar of 6/4 time then it ends in 4/4 time for the last part measure.



The way I think of it is that each quarter note is worth one second of clock time (for discussion purpose only here, I play it faster) so each bar of 4/4 time takes 4 seconds to play. When it changes to 6/4 time I assume each bar still take four seconds of clock time and have to speed up to fit in the six equivalent quarter notes in that bar within four seconds of clock time (not six). Is this a right way to approach it?



Alternately, if a tune changes from 4/4 to say 3/4 time for a bar or more than the 3/4 bars would need to be played slower so that the three quarter notes take up 4 seconds of clock time. Again do I have this concept right and if not how should it be timed.



As for how to count these changing time signatures when the music tempo changes, I’m lost. I kinda go with an internal time clock and just speed up to play the “six” quarter notes in four seconds to use the example above. It does sound right in this tune.



Thanks for the help.






 

Snafu - Posted - 02/26/2018:  16:16:40


Doug,



Sorry I meant to include you in my thank you’s In my reply above. I was trying to include a .jpeg picture of the tune in question but can’t figure out how to do it.



I guess what I don’t understand is then why include the time signature change in this tune. It could easily be revised to 4/4 throughout the entire tune by using ties if/when a half note might bridge a bar line.



Somehow I still have a “sense” that the time signature change signifies to a player to change something otherwise why do it? Later in the book is a tune that goes from 2/4 time for 7 bars to 3/4 for a bar, then back to 2/4 for a bar then back to ¾ for a bar then 5/4 for a bar and finally reverts to 2/4 time to the end. All those quarter notes throughout that tune are supposed to get the same time duration I guess but it sounds funny to my ears that way.



It seems like following the convention of no bar lines or time signatures employed in the Milliner-Koken tome gains some validation.



Edit - The book is the Doflein method Vol I called The Beginning.   It is tune No 86 titled “I heard a maid complaining”


Edited by - Snafu on 02/26/2018 16:18:59

Brian Wood - Posted - 02/26/2018:  16:22:50


quote:

Originally posted by Snafu





It seems like following the convention of no bar lines or time signatures employed in the Milliner-Koken tome gains some validation.






I agree the simplest is often the best. For that reason when I transcribe music that requires extra or dropped beats I opt fot shorter bars rather than longer ones. Instead of having a 6/4 bar for instance, I would write a 4/4/ bar then a 2/4 bar, or vise versa. Having no bars is the opposite of simple to me. Bar lines are one of the essential elements of written music. Milliner-Koken doesn't get an endorsement here.

DougD - Posted - 02/27/2018:  02:01:31


Is this the piece you're asking about? youtu.be/uNpL4m4jlQI If so its from Purcell's opera "The Fairy Queen" (#26 "When I Have Often Heard"). I've looked at the score and its in 3/4 time throughout. There are no metrical changes at all.

So if that's the one, your notation is inaccurate. Perhaps they are trying to suggest Baroque performance practice.

If its a different song, let us know.


Edited by - DougD on 02/27/2018 02:05:52

alaskafiddler - Posted - 02/27/2018:  02:57:42


Adding DougD mentioned... Time signature change does not necessarily mean tempo change. Bpm is bpm. The reason of time signature is in not arbitrary or to make the math come out, but to convey the number of beats into proper sense of groupings. - For example 123, 123, 1234, 1234, 123, 123. 1234, 1234...



This is quite common in crooked tunes, such as; 12, 12, 123, 12...  or 12, 12, 12, 123/45, 12, 12...  most crooked tunes are not just an extra/less beat, but groups of 2's (or 4's) and 3's.  5 is either 2+3 or 3+2.   These crooked tunes the constant pulse of beat, bpm... remains the same steady tempo.



The one thing to watch for is compound meter 6/4, like 6/8... is technically 2 beats per measure. (9/4 or 9/8 is 3 beats); but some folks write 6/4 as 6 beats.



 



edit.... that said... classical or jazz might switch time from say 4/4 or 2/4 to cut time of 2/2... and that might include a tempo change.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 02/27/2018 03:03:06

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/27/2018:  10:18:04


Snafu -- what tune are you trying to do? Henry Purcell is one of my favorite composers. I've got to know!

Snafu - Posted - 02/27/2018:  10:40:57


Hi Ed,

The Doflein method Vol 1 only lists the tune as “I Heard a Maid Complaining” and gives it as a 16th century German folk song. They often don’t reference the proper source for what ever reason. That method was published in 1930 in Germany but it has some features, especially focus on using the pinky in first position from the start, that I like.

From my Google search and YouTube I believe Doug (see post above) has it right. The tune in the book is grossly simplified but the melody of the tune he references is there. I know, way far from OT fiddle playing but I figured if I kept the discussion to the changing time signature thing it would not matter the tune. I actually like the tune like you do. Can’t do it justice in its more complicated form but I like it.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 02/27/2018:  12:33:07


Thanks to Google and from actually clicking on DougD's link, I've now heard the tune, too. And yes, 3/4 all the way through, with a few pauses and ritards tossed in to give it a bit more charm.

DougD - Posted - 02/27/2018:  13:01:59


Here's a link to a simple lead sheet of the Purcell song. The lyrics are on the following page. Its a funny song, even more than 300 years later. digital.nls.uk/special-collect.../87640850

I also found that instruction book online, and I don't think its the same song. I also think that measure of 6/4 could be written as 4/4, with the last note in a new measure. I think the problem is in the way the pickup note is handled. In any case, all the quarter notes get the same amount of time, regardless if the length of the measure.



And Ed, there are other versions on Youtube that adhere more closely to the 3/4 meter. That one just seemed a little nicer. Pros instead of student recitals.


Edited by - DougD on 02/27/2018 13:06:37

Bruce Clausen - Posted - 02/27/2018:  13:58:40


Right, Doug, they're two different songs. The one in the Doflein book reminds me of those Bach chorales that relax the beat as they near a phrase-end. Probably calls for a pretty free approach to tempo. The Purcell on the other hand sounds like a nice swinging 3/4 through-out, except in those places where it's normal to regroup the beats from quarter-note to half-note beats. That is, two bars of 3/4 are played like one bar of 3/2 ("hemiola"). It's quite standard in minuets, courantes, etc. in Purcell's time. That might sound like a meter change to some, but is never written as one.

Sorry I wasn't able to view the Nancy Argenta's version on You Tube-- it's not allowed here, apparently. Too bad-- she's a wonderful singer.

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