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when changing time signatures

GUEST,leeneia 02 Mar 10 - 11:44 AM
manitas_at_work 02 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM
Bernard 02 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM
G-Force 02 Mar 10 - 12:14 PM
greg stephens 02 Mar 10 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Mar 10 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Captain Farrell 02 Mar 10 - 02:02 PM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 10 - 03:48 PM
greg stephens 02 Mar 10 - 06:32 PM
Tootler 02 Mar 10 - 08:16 PM
SteveMansfield 03 Mar 10 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 10 - 09:34 AM
bubblyrat 03 Mar 10 - 10:12 AM
bubblyrat 03 Mar 10 - 10:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 03 Mar 10 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 03 Mar 10 - 11:38 AM
G-Force 03 Mar 10 - 12:34 PM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM
Bernard 03 Mar 10 - 12:47 PM
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Subject: when changing time signatures
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 11:44 AM

On Saturday, March 13th I'm going to play a bit of recorder along with a harp ensemble. One item we are playing is a combo of two Scottish pieces, 'Drummond Castle' in 6/8 time followed (without a pause) by 'Sleep Soond i da mornin' in 4/4.

I know there's supposed to be some kind of equivalance in the tempo when you do a thing like that. A Something in the first piece is supposed to last as long as a Something Else in the second piece.

Does anybody know how these things work?


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

Dotted crotchet becomes a minim is how I would try to do it at first.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM

It's partly dependant upon the note that is the 'beat' in each signature... so in your example, dotted crotchet would become crotchet. If the second were in 2/2 rather than 4/4, then it would be the minim.

You have to decide what sounds and feels right in each case, though, as going from 6/8 to 6/4 could be well weird!


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: G-Force
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:14 PM

It's not necessarily the case that there is any kind of equivalence. After all, the 6/8 tune could be a jaunty jig, while the 4/4 coould be a slow air.

I must say, to go from 6/8 to 4/4 without a pause, even a slight one, seems a bit unnatural.

If the score doesn't specify that e.g. 'dotted crochet = crochet' (using the symbols for these), then it's up to the musos to make it work based on what feels right.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:48 PM

Assuming you were dancing to this pair of tunes: in order not to change speed as you changed from jig to reel, you would need to follow the formula dotted crotchet= minim (asuming the fast notes in "Sleep Soond i da mornin" were notated as quavers).
The easy way to do it is just tap your feet, and dont change speed with your feet as you change tunes


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 01:47 PM

that's what SHOULD happen. But we are having a hard time getting from tune to tune, and it shouldn't be as hard as it is.

"I must say, to go from 6/8 to 4/4 without a pause, even a slight one, seems a bit unnatural."

I agree, G-force. I believe you have put your finger right on the problem.

So far, we have two votes for dotted crochet = minim. Or to put it in American, dotted quarter = half-note. There's one vote for dotted crochet = crochet.

Greg, I will keep in mind what you said about keeping the beat. I think it would apply in most cases, but I have been experimenting on the computer, and neither substitution seems to work.

I think we'll just have to follow the teacher and do what she does.   

I won't bore you with the details, but I have reason to believe that the arranger of these was definitely an amateur. (is that how you spell amateur?) I think she just put the one tune next to the other without considering how beginners would make the transition.

Thanks to all who offered thoughts on this matter.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: GUEST,Captain Farrell
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 02:02 PM

Having played in brass bands for donkeys years street marches have a steady tempo and it is quite usual to switch from 6/8 to 4/4 and vice versa.I would say if the 6/8 is not slow and is played as two beats to the bar then in 4/4 keep the main beat the same ie 4 beats to the bar so in foot tapping terms 2 taps in the 6/8 and 4 taps in the 4/4 at the same tempo


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 03:48 PM

It's much commoner in Scottish music to go from duple to triple time than the other way round.

Sleep Soon i da Mornin is 2/2, not 4/4. Normally you keep the beats the same length in this sort of transition, so 1/2 in the reel takes the same time as 3/8 in the jig. But if you have some specific musical idea in mind and no external constraints, almost any tempo relationship can work.

The one time when you must get the timing equivalences right is when playing marches for a Gay Gordons. It's common to mix 2/4 and 6/8 marches for that, so 1/4 in 2/4 = 3/8 in 6/8. Any deviation and the dance will go haywire.

Incidentally Drummond Castle is basically the same tune as Cutting Bracken but in a different metre - it's quite effective to go from Cutting Bracken into Drummond Castle.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 06:32 PM

The Gay Gordons transition was very much what I had in mind too, when spelling out that the dotted crotchet must equal the minim. Of course, if you are not playing for dancing, just listeening, you can do whatever sounds right to yourselves.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 08:16 PM

I would hold the final note of Drummond Castle a little longer than its full beat then play the upbeat into Sleep soon i da Morning. That way you can think yourself into the new rhythm.

You should definitely make dotted crotchet equal minim. Sleep soon i da morning is in 2/2 so has two beats to the bar (It's clearly a reel). Play it through and feel where the beat is. Unless you play it unduly slowly, I am sure you will find yourself tapping two to the bar. A jig also has two beats to the bar, so you should maintain a steady beat. There is nothing wrong with a slight slowing between the tunes, however. You find this not uncommonly happens in tune sets on recordings. Sometimes the hesitation is actually a very brief rest rather than holding a note on.

Try things out with your harpist friends and see what works - what feels right to you. After all it's your arrangement.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 03:04 AM

I would hold the final note of Drummond Castle a little longer than its full beat then play the upbeat into Sleep soon i da Morning. That way you can think yourself into the new rhythm.

A variant of that idea would be for the harps to hold the final note of Drummond Castle and, over that held note, the recorder to start Sleep soon i da Morning (or vice versa on the instruments of course) - that way the change of rhythm and tempo will be a deliberate 'junction' in the set of tunes, and the difference in tempo and rhythm becomes a feature not a bug.

It's an old trick but never fails to work - it does of course put a certain responsibility and exposure onto the shoulders of whoever ends up starting the second tune, but that's what rehearsals are for :)


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 09:34 AM

Yes, I can see how that (holding the last note of the first tune) would work well. Too bad I'm not in charge for this particular affair.

However, these tips will come in handy when I'm playing with friends and we can work things out together.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: bubblyrat
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:12 AM

Captain Farrell is right ! Try marching up and down to the tunes in your head,and see how YOU would effect the changeover ; it's surprisingly easy if you're actually moving, ie doing something to and with the music,not just playing it.Like CP,I did it for donkey's years too, and as a side-drummer,I always coped OK---in fact,I loved it when the TS changed !!


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: bubblyrat
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:32 AM

I meant CF !!


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 11:03 AM

Out of interest - Without wishing to detract from the thread - Does anyone know a tune which plays the treble in one time signature and the bass in another? Only coming together every so many bars and, hopefuly, at the end. I could not envisage anyone playing such a beast but I am sure someone told me there was one. I thought it was 'Roger De Coverley' but I just checked that and both 'hands' are in 9/8.

I would have raised the question in a seperate thread but it seems to be in (time) keeping with the general ideas here...

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 11:38 AM

>Does anyone know a tune which plays the treble in one time signature and the bass in another?<

Good God! How would you count it? I can conceive of separate instruments/voices doing such a thing (although it would make a conductor crazy) but I don't know of any.

But I do know of one that pits a four-phrase air against a five-phrase drum part: Henry Purcell's funeral music for Queen Mary, the slow march. They only come back into "phase" every five repeats of the air (or four repeats of the drums). Very effective actually.

But not nearly as hard as what you are suggesting.

-Glenn


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: G-Force
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 12:34 PM

Speaking from memory here ... I think there is a Bach prelude which has the right hand in 24/16 and the left hand in 4/4. It's a bit of a cheat, really, because they fit together perfectly.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM

Multiple simultaneous time signatures are pretty routine in contemporary music - they go back at least 100 years. Most percussionists these days learn to do things like clap in 4/4 while stamping in 7/8. The climactic duet for two marimbas in Harry Partch's "Castor and Pollux Plectra and Percussion Dances" is something like 34/8 against 28/8 - it's an extraordinarily catchy effect. (It's on YouTube, split into two parts as it's about 15 minutes long).

Some of the furthest-out developments in that direction are from the "New Complexity" school of composers - there is an amazing YouTube video of Brian Ferneyhough rehearsing an off-screen percussionist through his piece "Bone Litany" (and you can download a free sample of the score to see what the percussionist was up against). There are never less than two time signatures going on and sometimes as many as four.

This is much more widespread than you'd think - more later.


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Subject: RE: when changing time signatures
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 12:47 PM

"I must say, to go from 6/8 to 4/4 without a pause, even a slight one, seems a bit unnatural."

That may be so, but it's the norm for Cumberland Square Eight, which usually alternates 'My Love is But a Lassie Yet' (4/4) with 'Atholl Highlanders' (6/8)... 64 bars of the first, 64 of the second, 64 of the first again and so on.

In that example, the crotchet is matched to the dotted crotchet.


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