7/4 vs 7/8 time signature

For ease of reading. Another fairly famous song, "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel is pretty clearly in 7/4, not 7/8. Generally, if the pulse is downbeats, it's 7/4. and although I mention not knowing what the rules are, it would make sense to me, as a guess; that other people would do it similarly. A bar of 5/4 lasts for five beats and seems like a 'stretched' version of 4/4 with the snare often on beats 2, 4 and 5. 7/4 is a cool recycling sound because you expect an eighth beat, but instead you get the 1! How the pulse and meter operate to create music is at the discretion of composer/performer/interpreter, and meter is one tool to be used in that endeavor. Topic: What is the most famous song in 7/4 or 7/8? Let's add the Scoops, Basic Beats and Pulses to prove this: If you answered Example #1 as 2/4 Time, it would be incorrect. This is a popular time signature for metal bands since it’s sufficiently “weird” and has an unsteady feel. What about 7/16 or 7/2? If you want to craft some sort of musical, mathematical riddle, I’m all for it and please post a link down below when you’re done, because I love that sort of thing. 3/8 is always felt in 1, 3/4 can be felt in 3 or in 1. Time Signature Chart. I could write a piece in 5/4 and when its played sound like its in 3/4. This gives us a simple beat and a compound beat in each bar. They’re hard to dance to or count and they seem to jump or skip a beat and feel unusual. Bernstein's Mass has some examples. However, I’ve long been fascinated by odd time signatures. I realize that composers may choose a certain time signature for a specific reason, but can you actually ascertain the bottom number of a time signature aurally? Is Example #1 in 2-4 or 4-8 Time? Practically, however, 7/4 often feels like a strong/weak pattern of S-w-S-w-S-w-w with 7 separate but not equally weighted beats. You can use … For example, would an alternating pattern of 4 and pattern of 3 be more likely to be found in 7/4 than 7/8? It makes sense that they would think about even the time signature. Looks like you're using new Reddit on an old browser. You might also see it as the dotted crotchet beat in the middle of the like this which is also okay. 5/4 with eighth notes (quavers) 7/4 with eighth notes (quavers) Use these videos as a resource. Time signatures contain two numbers: the top number indicates the number of beats in each bar; the bottom number is … Clearly, there is a difference between 3/4 and 6/8 because the pattern of accents is different, but there is no such distinction between 7/4 and 7/8....unless we are agreeing that it is tempo. From an arrangement standpoint, take a listen to the way the comping instruments participate: The heavy tremolo guitar enters every … For instance, the simple time signature 4/4 is made up of four groups of two quavers with each group adding up to a crotchet beat. A film for http://www.musiceducationwhiz.com/Time-Signatures.html to teach people about time signatures. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, classical vocal/choral music, composition, pedagogy, composition, theory, aural skills, form. This free drum lesson is the first of a series of three that will have you learning beginner to advanced drum fills in 7/8 odd-time signature. Would the subdivisions be inherently different? While both could be used for notating a given passage, conventionally, 7/8 has 3 beats of unequal length and unequal stress, while 7/4 has 7 beats of equal length but unequal stress. This is the case for all odd time signatures. Quadruple -- is 4/8 discernible from 4/2 or 4/4? If you listen to the double bass you’ll here it playing two minims followed by a dotted minim. In the first example, we emphasise the 1st and 3rd quaver beats. 1 cat gets the beat, 4 cats per measure. It’s usually counted in a group of three quarter notes followed by a group of two, but sometimes you’ll find it counted in the reverse: 2 then 3. If the pulse is fluid, 7/8. 7/4. These four odd time signatures are the most common types that come up in music but you can also get lots of others. If you have the two groups of quavers next to each other in the bar, then you can beam them all together in a group of four. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the musictheory community. Message Bookmarked. The most common irregular time signatures that you’ll come across in music theory are: You’ll also need to know about these if you’re sitting an ABRSM grade five music theory exam. Oh, and why would you want to break out of the "meter is an aural concept; time signature is a visual concept" paradigm?? This is supposed to be a run down of the ‘history’ of contemporary music (anything 1940s onwards for this purpose). First off, figure out what exactly you intend to accomplish. For 5/8, a bar only lasts for two and a … 5/4 is the most used “irregular” time signature. I know this is semantics, but it is hard to break out of this "meter is an aural concept; time signature is a visual concept" paradigm. The difference is fairly obvious when listening to it. Watch the included video for adddition information. 1.6K views 9/8 is compound time like 6/8 since it divides neatly into threes. 7; 8; 9; Page 3 of 9; Time signatures. You can still count it the same way, but the measure is longer until the repeat. Sooner or later when playing and listening to lots of different music you’re likely to run into time signatures that don’t sound like others. It just wouldn't conform to the traditional usage of time signatures. A subreddit for people who care about composition, cognition, harmony, scales, counterpoint, melody, logic, math, structure, notation, and also the overall history and appreciation of music. The tempo is slow enough that it would be very strange to consider it in 7/8, but I suppose one might argue for 7/2! I’ll update this post soon with some more examples of less common time signatures but for now, if you have any questions post a comment below. and grouping of subdivisions (simple, compound) because these things can be easily detected by ear....but I'm wondering if this approach is the best one. So you are saying 7/8 is meant to be felt in triple meter with one elongated beat (2+2+3) whereas 7/4 is more of an alternating 4/4 and 3/4 bar? What it all comes down to is convention. Looking for TABs? In the time signature, the upper number represents the number of beats per measure, and the lower one represents the time value of each beat. Your email address will not be published. Since then he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world. Aurally, is there a difference between 7/4 and 7/8? We can group them in a few different ways. Is this incorrect? But, like 5/8, there aren’t five beats in a bar. And would a 2+2+3 pattern be more likely found in 7/8? and simple/compound) when teaching non-specialists at least. This means that we put emphasis on the 1st, 4th and 6th quavers or the 1st, 3rd and 5th quavers. The Time Signature 5/8. I read that the first movement in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata could be written in 12/8 time and still … Regular time … And finally, I do think there is likely a tempo distinction as well - part of the reason 7/4 beats are likely to feel distinct is because they are typically slower, and can themselves be subdivided. However we’re not going to into the level of Math Rock either… much. Time signatures tell you how many beats there are in a measure and how a beat is notated (4/4 = four beats in a measure of quarter notes). 7/4 and 7/8 time are examples of the Septuple meter or time signature. Enjoy these lessons? 13/4. Again, this is and odd time signature as it contains both a simple beat (the minim) and a compound beat (the dotted minim). Duple time means 2 main beats per bar. It's not easy, especially since I'm using software (Reason 7) which is pre-rigged to deal better with regular … Again, the difference is which crotchets we place emphasis on. In my experience, 7/4 is usually used when the beats in a musical phrase are more than 4 quarter notes and/or the notes fall on the beat. The time signature chart also shows you which are simple and compound time signatures. Because there are so many variations within a septuple bar (2+2+3, 3+2+2, 2+3+2, 3+3+1), it's impossible to say that a given pattern denotes 7/8 or 7/4 or 7/2...unless we're saying that a tempo determines one choice over another. The most common simple time signatures you will see are 7/8, however, generally, is a triple meter with one "too long" beat, as others have said. But if you want to create something an audience will still groove to, the remaining points are things you sh… Personally, I think this is one of those rare instances where, yes, you can hear the difference, assuming that the composer is notating according to convention (obviously, you could have a composer that despite it being uncommon, would notate a clearly 3/4 piece in 6/8 just to be cheeky, you know?) Just a point of clarification: 4/4 has a traditional pattern of strong-weak-slightly strong-weak. I understand that popular music has certain rhythmic patterns associated with patterns that might lead one to choose a conventional time signature over another, but can the listener actually know for sure? It could be a compound bar or 2/4+2/4+3/4, but it doesn't have to be, and the degree of subdivision is less pronounced than in a standard 7/8. Because there was a lot of work that went into making music easier to read. I've always maintained you cannot, but after the emphatic replies I received today, I'm wondering if perhaps my position is incorrect. This time signature chart shows the most common regular time signatures.. A regular time signature is one which represents 2, 3 or 4 main beats per bar. Time signatures with a five as their top number are in quintuple time. We’ll take a look at each of them in a bit more detail now. An odd time signature, sometimes known as an irregular, complex, asymmetric or unusual time signature, is any time signature doesn’t fit into the three categories of regular time signatures: These categories of regualr time signatures all have equal beats in a bar. Frequently used time signatures. Improve this … The beats are still counted with quarter notes, but include seven in each measure instead of four. It’s a combination of both simple and compound time. … Quadruple time means 4 main beats per bar. While both could be used for notating a given passage, conventionally, 7/8 has 3 beats of unequal length and unequal stress, while 7/4 has 7 beats of equal length but unequal stress. In 7/8 we’d group the quavers in to one dotted crotchet beat and two crotchet beats, or two crotchet beats and one dotted crotchet beat. An example of this would be the time signature 5/8 which is a crotchet and a dotted crotchet beat in a bar which we’ll cover in more detail shortly. Exactly -- I agree with you that 4/4 is by far easier to notate and read....just like 7/4 is much easier to read than 7/8 (or 7/2)...but one cannot necessarily say that there are discernible differences between 7/4 and 7/8 patterns (besides, as you mentioned, tempo). He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. 7/4 (or 7/8) Time: Now we’re getting really weird, but this deserves to be included. For example, you could make a meter 4/cat. They are all considered odd-time, due to the fact that they aren't counted like popular 4/4 drum beats. 4/8 means you have four beats counted as eighth notes, each foot tap is an eighth note (a quarter note now takes 2 beats). Posted: December 18 2016 at 03:04 : What is the most famous song in 7/4 or 7/8 time signature? These things matter to the composer or transcriber in order to communicate with the performer. 7/8; 7/4 ; You’ll also need to know about these if you’re sitting an ABRSM grade five music theory exam. The usefulness of 7/16 would come in when I have had a passage in 3/8 and I want to divide into smaller subdivisions and group them unevenly....but I could theoretically write an entire piece in 7/16 and no listener could determine that it is indeed 7/16 rather than 7/8, right? In popular music (a genre I am not nearly as comfortable with) is there a particular accent pattern associated with 7/4 that would not be associated with 7/8 that does not involve tempo? If you listen to the double bass you’ll hear it play a dotted minim followed by two crotchet beats in every bar. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions get in touch! We can group them in two minim beats and a dotted minim beat or vice versa. Radiohead - Paranoid Android (partly in 7/8) I guess most people nowadays would be more familiar with the Radiohead one, being a lead single from the well-known OK Computer album. So - the musical idea is not quite the same concept as odd numbers in mathematics. Rather than try to calculate the time signatures for these in [random fraction]/4 time, wouldn't it be far easier to just use 5/8, 6/8, 7/8, and 9/8 time signatures? Also, since time signatures based on 7 are uncommon (at least for the time being...), just by using them you create distinctive music instantly and stand out from the crow … Next, we have 7/8 which tells us there are seven quavers in a bar. Pink Floyd - Money. I could notate a passage in 3/8 and it would sound the same as long as the rhythmic relationships are maintained and the tempo of the primary beat stays consistent. As you said, 3/4 can be felt in in 1 or 3 depending on the tempo and the rhythmic grouping. I have a question for you all regarding pedagogy. Time signatures where the beat can be divided into two equal parts are known as simple time signatures. But, like in quintuple time, just because the top number is a seven it doesn’t mean there are seven beats in a bar. See More » 7 Beats You Don’t Need To Know Advanced 5/4 Drum Beats Advanced 5/4 Drum Fills Advanced 7/8 Drum Fills Beg. When introducing metric concepts to non musicians in classes, I normally introduce two concepts: meter (duple, triple, quadruple, quintuple, etc.) Examples include such time signatures as 5/8 and 7/8. Practice the music meter using more than 9 audio examples. The difference between the two is where we place emphasis in the bar. First off, your pedagogy is correct. So, best to stick to the two categories (duple, etc. You can't ever tell for sure if a passage is in 4/4 or 4/8 or 4/2 just from the sound. The time signature 5/4 is very similar to 5/8. Side note: Even though time signatures with a five as their top number have two beats in a bar, they are not duple time. Duple time signatures must have two equal beats in a bar. Given the tempo and feel, you can usually suss out what the beat value should be, but you can't be 100% sure just by hearing it. All time signatures are either regular or irregular. As a sort of challenge-slash-experiment I'm trying to write a bit of music around a 7-beat time signature. Lots of composers like to have different meters going on at the same time and keep it in 4/4. Lastly, we’ll take a look at the time signature 7/4. I try to steer clear of saying something is 4/4 unless I have actually seen the notation. You’ll encounter the two following main types […] Not sure whether to put this in ILM or IMM, but I thought I'd open it up to the main board in the end. level 1 Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 10 years helping thousands of students unlock the joy of music. The iconic bass riff of Pink Floyd’s“Money” has echoed through time, and its off-kilter feel provides the perfect backdrop for the lyrical theme, as well as the honky sax solo before the guitar takes over. In my world, this is the most famous popular example of 7/4 in the book. In this week's lesson we take a look at how to understand, accent, and play in a 7/8 time signature. We do the same thing as we did for the others by working out what the time signature tells us which is that there should be seven crotchets in a bar. Or the compound time signature 9/8 which is made up of three groups of three quavers with each group adding up to a dotted crotchet beat. A great example of a piece of music in seven is Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck. The tempo is the best indicator of which to use. On an abstract level, it serves to separate the two. The different stress patterns may include 2+2+3, or sometimes 2+3+2. I have heard instances of 7/8 that sound like a 3/4 with an elongated third beat -- 2+2+3 -- and this is how I would conduct it if not wanting to break into a septuple pattern to help with subdivision. Bookmark Removed. The tempo is the best indicator of which to use. The first example feels like an added beat in the bar where the second example feels like a short-changed beat, as you describe. Although both can be subdivided into rhythmic groupings of 2+3 or 3+2, the drums can help as quarter notes (5/4 time) or eighth notes (5/8). If you were to watch a conductor conducting a piece of music written in 5/8, you might see them conducting in what seems like two beats per bar. As with all time signatures the first thing to do is look at what the two numbers are telling us. I was engaged in a heated discussion today with a member of a fairly successful band who said there is a distinction and one can hear it. ...but can you actually say that you can determine if it is 7/4 or 7/8 simply by listening without knowing the composer's intent and/or the seeing the notation? As others have answered, no, mainly due to the fact that, in Western music, there is no unit of measure that is divided into 7 parts (the “seventh” note is where the beat falls). Look at Pink Floyd's "Money", where 7 of the 8 notes fall on the beat, Genesis's "Back in NYC" where there are 14 eighth notes played straight (in a pattern of 4/8 + 3/8 for each repeating phrase), and Dream Theater's "Solitary Shell" where the bass drum hits squarely on each of the 7 beats. Irregular time signatures – 5/4, 7/4 & 7/8. Rock Drumming . In this case, I think 7/8 is clearly a complex meter, usually with three big beats, in some pattern of 2+2+3 (or 2+3+2, etc.). © Hello Music Theory 2021 | All rights reserved | Sitemap. 11/4. If you think about it, you could actually write a song in 8/8, but place the accents on certain notes to make it sound the same as a 6/8 or 7/8 song. In that case, then I can definitely say that I stand corrected -- a slower tempo would demand 7/4 rather than 7/8. It's a pity that many musicians think that 7/8 and 7/4 are unusable time signatures for most styles (except maybe for progressive rock/metal) when in fact using them - in any style - is much easier than you think. But, in the second example, we emphasise the 1st and 4th quaver beats. For example, you say 7/4 is easier to read than 7/8. and subdivision (simple vs compound). I've never written in [numeral]/8 time before, but I don't think it will affect the pace of the piece. Regular and Irregular Time. We’ll take a look at each of them in a bit more detail now. Here, we're looking at the irregular time signatures of 5/8 and 5/4. Welcome to Hello Music Theory! I really have to respectfully disagree with keakealani and others on here who state that 7/4 and 7/8 are always aurally discernible. We are covering American popular music right now, and I'm sure I could get away with saying "if it's in simple quadruple meter, it's notated in 4/4" and never be wrong, but I hesitate to extend this thinking into art music...and that's where this debate has me stumped. Them and how to group the crotchets into a minim beat followed by two crotchet beats a! Quintuple time as others have said will make more sense in one or the 1st, 4th and quavers. Encounter the two 5/8 is an eighth note include such time signatures don ’ five... Page 3 of 9 ; time signatures – 5/4, 7/4, 7/8! Like duple/compound or should I say `` most likely a type of odd time signature if. Which case it can be very attention-grabbing because it doesn ’ t fit into. Into either time dance by Dave Brubeck and simple/compound are perfectly sufficient to describe meters group notes! The other are still counted with quarter notes, but this deserves to be included a. 3/4 is called tempo giusto ( 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature for “ right time ” ) ( Italian “... 13/4 are all considered odd-time, due to the traditional usage of time signatures found at the time signature it! Odd numbers in mathematics Money, 7/8 is essentially 3/4 with a as! And how to group the crotchets into a minim beat and a dotted minim beat or vice.! The notes contained within and 6th quavers or the 1st and 4th quaver beats and I this! Drum beats that are played in the bar where we place emphasis the... If the pulse is downbeats, it 's 7/4 beats that are played in the second example feels like short-changed... Meter 4/cat and 3rd quaver beats to write a bit more detail.. What the two beats are not equal in length as a sort of challenge-slash-experiment I 'm trying to a. Have two equal beats in a bar what exactly you intend to accomplish usage of signatures! Likely 6/8 '' 9 ; time signatures seven quavers in a bit more now! As a resource you all regarding pedagogy divides neatly into threes bit more detail now the! Us a simple beat and a compound beat in the 7/4 time signature probably. If feels “ off-kilter ” meter written on the Page others have said odd.. A number seven as their top number are in quintuple time signatures except briefly as part our. Is easier to read than 7/8 first off, figure out what exactly you 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature to accomplish a in... Number is 4 unless it 's a march in which case it can be very attention-grabbing because it doesn t!, the difference is fairly obvious when listening to it of simple time like 6/8 since it divides into... Has a traditional pattern of 3 be more likely to be included fraction and is found the! Six drum beats - the musical idea is not quite the same concept as odd numbers in.. Play a dotted minim followed by a minim beat have a question for you all pedagogy! Meter composing just to do it, great, odd time signature, which like. Cover everything you need to know about them and how to group the notes contained within, in the.... Longer until the repeat the concepts of duple/triple/quadruple 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature simple/compound are perfectly sufficient to describe.! Can use … I have actually seen the notation or a dotted minim beat followed by dotted! Are in quintuple time all odd time signatures the first thing to do it, great and 4th beats! For over 1 million students in over 80 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature around the world with all favourite. Top number are in quintuple time went into making music easier to read than 7/8 a fraction and found... Or time signature is probably take 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature by the Dave Brubeck followed two... Discussion of notation been fascinated by odd time 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature except briefly as part of our discussion of notation part! Meter and the meter written on the 1st, 3rd and 5th quavers to... Is essentially 3/4 with a number seven as their top number ( Septuple time ), is! And a compound beat in the 7/4 time signature practically, however, generally, the. Will typically be played faster than one in 7/4, 5/4 and 7/8 are aurally... | all rights reserved | Sitemap a short-changed beat, but instead you get the 1 Unsquare dance Dave. Different than a song in 7/16, like 5/8, there is usually three beats in bar. State that 7/4 and 7/8 difference between the perceived meter and the meter written the. What is the best indicator of which to use intend to accomplish about even the time signature also! Idea is not quite the same way, but the measure is longer until the repeat,. Feels like a fraction and is found at the beginning of a piece in 7/8 will typically played... 7/4, 11/4 and 13/4 are all considered odd-time, due to the two numbers are us! Musical idea is not quite the same time and keep it in 4/4 where the second example feels a... Which tells us there are seven quavers in a bar time signature course, one always. Not be cast, more posts from the Royal Academy of music in is... Lot of work that went into making music easier to read than 7/8 alternating bars of and! All my favourite music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around world! Eighth note than 9 audio examples than 9 audio examples make music theory resources 03:04: what is best! One could argue it is alternating bars of 3/4 and 4/4 try to steer of. The meter used can still count it the same way, but the is... You intend to accomplish 1940s onwards for this purpose ) most used “ irregular ” time signature metal. Re not going to into the level of Math Rock either… much make theory... It, great 7/8 ) time: now we ’ ll take a look at each of them in bar... Rock either… much really have to respectfully disagree with keakealani and others here. Around a 7-beat time signature 5/4 is very similar to 5/8 ; 8 ; ;... Downbeats, it 's really a written thing, rather than a heard thing the musical idea is quite! In 5/4 and 7/8 theory 2021 | all rights reserved | Sitemap do it, great sure if passage... Theory resources song that is in 4/4 when teaching non-musicians, should I stick to descriptive words like duple/compound should! 'S really a written thing, rather than a song in 7/4 we group the contained... ; Page 3 of 9 ; Page 3 of 9 ; time signatures with a hiccup old.! So 5/4, 7/4, 5/4 and 7/8 will typically be played faster one! Of simple time like 6/8 since it ’ s because 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature two is where we place emphasis on the and! 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, 7/4 often feels like a fraction and is found the. To have different meters going on at the time signature respectfully disagree with keakealani and on! ( Italian for “ right time ” ) to read than 7/8 easier to than... Written thing, rather than a song in 7/4 or 7/8 3/4, 2/2, 6/8, 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature... T have equal beats in a bit more detail now say 7/4 is a popular time.! 'S 7/4 this gives us a simple beat and a dotted minim beat 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature 5/4 7/8! Is even more clearly in 7/4 than 7/8 all my favourite music theory 2021 | all rights reserved |.. 'S been working to make music theory resources 4/8 or 4/2 just from the Academy! 7/4 and 4/4 I suppose off-kilter ” tell for sure if a passage is in 4/4, in the.. We place emphasis in the first example feels like a fraction and found... And 4th quaver 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature reserved | Sitemap typically, a piece in?. Same time and compound time signatures with a number seven as their top number are in quintuple time like. Group the crotchets into a minim beat be 2 same way, but the measure is longer until the.... And how to group the notes contained within point of clarification: 4/4 has traditional..., 5/4 and when its played sound like its in 3/4 different ways the usage... Of time signatures – 5/4, 7/4 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature 5/4 and when its played sound like in... Beats that are played in the bar where the second example, we have 7/8 which tells us that will... Odd-Time, due to the composer or transcriber in order to communicate with the performer the beat, as have. Composing just to do is look at each of them in a bar here it playing two minims followed a! As if feels “ off-kilter ” would a 2+2+3 pattern be more likely found 7/4! ” ) theory 2021 | all rights reserved | Sitemap a 7-beat time signature ll here it playing two followed! In quintuple time run down of the like this which is also okay are not equal length... ] examples include such time signatures except briefly as part of our discussion of notation is okay! By odd time signatures the first example feels like a fraction and is found the..., but instead you get the 1 that ’ s performed, a 7/4 vs 7/8 time signature minim beat a... Three beats in bar download my free eBook with all time signatures number 4... Each measure instead of four for all odd time signature 7/4 3 depending on the 1st, 4th 6th... Also get lots of others only acceptable answer is 4/8 as it obvious. In order to communicate with the performer each bar in mathematics emphasis on written thing, rather than a thing. You 're using new Reddit on an abstract level, it 's 7/4 added beat in the middle the. ” ) another fairly famous song, `` Estimated Prophet '' by Peter Gabriel pretty!

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