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Playing in fives & sevens

Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Christmas Carol meters in Folk. (9)
Odd meters, 7/8 anyone? (87)


GUEST,clockwatcher 22 Aug 07 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 22 Aug 07 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Aug 07 - 10:02 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Aug 07 - 10:06 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Aug 07 - 10:39 AM
cptsnapper 22 Aug 07 - 11:31 PM
M.Ted 23 Aug 07 - 01:51 AM
harpmolly 23 Aug 07 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,clockwatcher 23 Aug 07 - 08:07 AM
Rockhen 23 Aug 07 - 09:06 AM
IanC 23 Aug 07 - 10:42 AM
M.Ted 23 Aug 07 - 10:59 AM
M.Ted 23 Aug 07 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Val 23 Aug 07 - 01:02 PM
M.Ted 23 Aug 07 - 01:05 PM
Stewart 23 Aug 07 - 06:44 PM
Tootler 24 Aug 07 - 06:19 PM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 24 Aug 07 - 09:32 PM
deadfrett 25 Aug 07 - 09:00 AM
M.Ted 25 Aug 07 - 01:36 PM
M.Ted 25 Aug 07 - 10:42 PM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 26 Aug 07 - 12:02 PM
M.Ted 26 Aug 07 - 01:30 PM
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Subject: Playing in fives & sevens
From: GUEST,clockwatcher
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 07:55 AM

Anyone got any experience of singing or playing in strange rhythms like 5/4 or 7/8 ?

I find I'm usually OK until there's a gap, like at the end of a line, then it's tricky coming back in on the right beat.

Anyone got any tips, apart from the P-word (practice).


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 08:48 AM

Break up the bar into groups of either 2 or 3 or beats, and count out loud emphasising the "1", til you get a feel for it.

Depending on whether the 3rd or 4th beat is emphasised, 5/4 would be
1-2-3 1-2 (think Dave Brubeck's Take 5)
or 1-2 1-2-3 (think Searching for Lambs)

With more syncopated rhythms it's more helpful to think of it as 10/8 and count the quavers:
1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2 1-2 (think Mission Impossible)

7 beats can be counted in the same way, but you get more options eg
1-2-3 1-2 1-2
1-2 1-2 1-2-3 (or you cold think 1-2-3-4 1-2-3 as in Money by Pink Floyd)

Hope this is clear & useful!


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 10:02 AM

Jonny is right. Often you break the complex pattern into a simple repeated pattern. I know a hymn called Father Almighty, Lord of Creation which is in 7/8. It really goes

1 2 3 1 2 3 4 or
Wonderful Henrietta, to use syllables,

over and over.

I have a small MIDI keyboard and composition program attached to my computer. (My program happens to be Noteworthy Composer.) I cannot imagine life without them.

Once I wanted to do a Greek folk song with my friends. It was in an unusual timing, such as 11/8. I went to the computer and entered it in MIDI format. When my friends came, we all clustered around the monitor and let the computer play it while the cursor moved from note to note. A few times through and we all had it. This simulates the way one musician learns by imitating another, but had the advantage that nobody suspects anybody else of timing it wrong. It was fun.

Of course a computer has no emotion, so we had to do the pretending that were 16 and burning with yearning. Fortunately pop culture gives everybody lots of practice with that.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 10:06 AM

Makes me wonder: My Dad, when he was all mixed up would say, "I'm all at sixes and sevens." Is that anything like fives and sevens?"

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 10:39 AM

The late Moondog was a master at composing songs that used odd rhythms without sounding particularly jarring. His round "Dark Night" is in 5/4.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: cptsnapper
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 11:31 PM

I play " Unicorns " in 5/4 & when I played it to Bikll Caddick he asked " Why!? "


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 01:51 AM

Having played rhythm guitar on lots of Balkan music, and on lots of Zwiefachers too, I am fairly adept at this sort of thing.

it is pretty easy, if you remember that odd meters are all compound time which are a combination of "slow" (1-2-3)and "quick" (1-2)--

the Macedonian/Bulgarian Lesnoto, in 7/8, is counted as Slow...quick-quick, Slow...Quick Quick (1-2-3 1-2 1-2)--Strumwise, it's down-up-down down-up down-up--

You have to keep yourself honest by playing all of the beats, if you play what you think it sounds like, you will slip back into an even pulse without realizing it--

Balkan tunes tend to be a bit intimidating sounding, owning to the bent scales and pecuilar wailing sounds, so the uninitiated generally don't try to join in, but Zweifachers have that simple, happy sound to them, and you can have great fun with someone uninitiated who tries to sit in--


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: harpmolly
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 01:58 AM

You should definitely ask John P about this if he's around...he is THE MAN when it comes to irregular time signatures. ;) He wrote a great piece called "Japati" which just about fried my brain the first few times I heard it, until I got used to the shifting rhythm.

M


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: GUEST,clockwatcher
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 08:07 AM

Thanks for the help so far.

M. Ted's idea of 'slow, quick, quick' would be an easy way to get started, but I might not play it with mathematical precision. Maybe it doesn't really matter.

Jonny Sunshine's idea of breaking 5/4 down into 10/8 (i.e. half-beats) works for the slower type tunes. That's how I used to think of Jethro Tull's 'Living in the Past' (and I can remember being amused watching them on Top of the Pops with all the kids in the studio trying to dance to it).


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Rockhen
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 09:06 AM

Yeah, I would agree with breaking a tune down. I wrote one called 5/4 (imaginative, I know!) and I think it in 1 2 3, 1 2. I think it is important not to get too wrapped up in the counting,however. If you are practising on your own, it helps to move and 'feel' it as a dance. (Probably best not to let anyone see you as you will probably look slightly demented, though!) Once you have learnt it, it will feel totally natural. Watch out for table-top drummers at gig, though...don't listen to them unless they have figured out that it isn't 4/4!


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: IanC
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 10:42 AM

Do you count all music? Bellringers always use odd bar lengths. On 6 bells, for example, the bars are 13 beats long as follows.

H1-H2-H3-H4-H5-H6-B1-B2-B3-B4-B5-B6-Rest|H1...etc.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 10:59 AM

Sorry, Rockhen, but if you don't count it right, you don't play it right. Odd meter music is in compound time, meaning that there are two different pulses, the overarching one is the slow/quick/quick, the underlying one is 1-2-3 1-2 1-2 for the 7/8 I mentioned. Give a listen toSedi Donka it is in 25/16.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 12:02 PM

Here are a couple of other, more basic odd meter tunes,(in the tempoes you actually asked for!) courtesy of Dunav.

Here is a lesnoto, in 7/8Jovano Jovanke. Listen for the Slow Quick Quick pulse, and imagine playing this with a slow, line of dancers wending around you--

And here isPajdusko in 5/8-note the quick slow pulse sounds like a heartbeat, while Goran Alecki, the accordianist, plays a melody that bounces around on the underlying 12 123 beat--


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 01:02 PM

A caveat, or perhaps just a confession of my ineptitude:

Often when I'm trying to hold a 7 beat, if I lose concentration I easily slip into a synchopated 8. Going from 1-2-3-1-2-1-2 to 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 01:05 PM

Sorry--I am guessing that GUEST meant to post "those links aren't right" hope these are better.

Jovano Jovanke

Pajdusko


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Stewart
Date: 23 Aug 07 - 06:44 PM

See a previous thread
Odd Meters, 7/8 anyone?

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 06:19 PM

5/4 is occasionally found in the English Tradition. Ye Mar'ners All is a good example. Follow the rhythm of the words and it feels quite natural.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 09:32 PM

Makedonsko Devojce is another song in 7/8, also found at Dunav's website. A few months ago, after hearing people sing along as they circle-danced it to the music of one of our local Balkan bands (The Balkanics), I tried to learn the song to do it at an Open Sing.

I'm a beginning guitar player. I found I can keep the 7/8 beat just fine to sing "Makedonsko" while I dance the steps, or can play a hand-drum and sing, or can play the guitar accompaniment if I count 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2, or play along with the recording on-line. BUT if I try to play the guitar and sing the words, I go immediately to 4/4. It sounds good that way, but Russian! I can't bring it back to 7/8.

Why is that so much more difficult? Is the singer of these songs doing something other than what the band is?

Note: the Balkanics' lead singer, Tsvety Dosseva Weiner, who lives in the Washington DC area, is the daughter of Lyuben Dossev, the musician in Plovdiv Bulgaria who transcibed the music in mine and MTed's examples here. Tsvety's mother, the singer Tanya Dosseva, is visiting from Plovdiv, and she and Tsvety will be singing together and teaching over the next couple of weeks.

Linda


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: deadfrett
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 09:00 AM

A good item to use is a metronome. If good timing is important to your music, practise at all times with one. They are inexpensive and contain all those off timings. Cheers- Dave


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 01:36 PM

Those Balkanics sound pretty intimidating! And they seem to be my neighbors, on top of that--they make me feel really old, too. I haven't been around Balkan music scene since some of these guys were babes in arms--

Anyway, Linda, it takes a bit of practice and patience to learn to sing play the guitar, no matter what kind of music you're playing.

Basically, when you learn something, you start out with the wrote learning one two three one two one two, that you have to consciously think about while you do it--after a while, you've mastered it, and it becomes something different, it is a feeling that you can pull out when you play.

You have to concentrate to do the 7/8, and when you start to sing, you have to concentrate on the singing, and you just revert to the 4/4, which you feel.

The solution is to keep practicing the 7/8 strum (down-up-down down-up down-up) until you can do it in your sleep. Don't stop just because you think you've got it, don't stop when you get bored. Keep doing it!







My suggestion is to get the metronome out, and work with playing and singing along with it--


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 10:42 PM

Well--sorry about this, but I tried twice to post blue clickies to those tunes, and, for some reason, after a short time, they reverted to links to the main page. So be it. Just click on "Dances" in the Bar at the top of the page, then choose "Macedonian" and scroll down the menu to either Lesnoto or Pajdusko.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 12:02 PM

What good suggestions! How could I have forgotten about the use of a metronome?

Yes, it's funny to see myself and the people I danced with in the mid-70's described on the Balkanics' website as "the previous generation of folkies"!

Tanya Dosseva will be in the DC area through October. She will be in concert.


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Subject: RE: Playing in fives & sevens
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for posting Tanya's page--amongst her friends are my old chums, Zlatne Uste--


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