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Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4

Murray MacLeod 12 Apr 10 - 06:07 PM
Joe_F 12 Apr 10 - 08:08 PM
Joe Offer 12 Apr 10 - 08:11 PM
beeliner 12 Apr 10 - 08:47 PM
open mike 12 Apr 10 - 09:59 PM
Richie 12 Apr 10 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 12 Apr 10 - 11:41 PM
Joybell 13 Apr 10 - 01:44 AM
Howard Jones 13 Apr 10 - 04:41 AM
Jack Campin 13 Apr 10 - 05:47 AM
theleveller 13 Apr 10 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Tinker from Chicago 13 Apr 10 - 05:09 PM
wysiwyg 13 Apr 10 - 05:14 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Apr 10 - 05:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 10 - 05:42 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Apr 10 - 05:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 10 - 06:33 PM
Allen in Oz 13 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM
Bill D 13 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM
Tattie Bogle 13 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM
buddhuu 14 Apr 10 - 07:09 AM
HipflaskAndy 14 Apr 10 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 14 Apr 10 - 07:51 AM
Anglo 14 Apr 10 - 01:28 PM
Murray MacLeod 14 Apr 10 - 01:42 PM
Anglo 15 Apr 10 - 12:51 AM
Genie 15 Apr 10 - 01:42 AM
Joe_F 15 Apr 10 - 01:52 PM
Murray MacLeod 15 Apr 10 - 07:13 PM
Genie 16 Apr 10 - 08:25 AM
Marje 16 Apr 10 - 12:13 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Apr 10 - 01:32 PM
Tootler 16 Apr 10 - 04:05 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Apr 10 - 04:09 PM
Tattie Bogle 17 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM
Joe_F 20 Jun 13 - 08:56 PM
GUEST 20 Jun 13 - 09:18 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 20 Jun 13 - 09:42 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 Jun 13 - 04:20 AM
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Subject: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:07 PM

I have been meaning to start a thread on this for the longest time, but seeing a refresh of the thread on "All the Good times are Past and Gone" kind of jolted my memory.

There are many songs which can be done equally well in 4/4 or 3/4 time ( I suppose, technically, every 3/4 tune can also be played in 4/4) but some songs seem to have acquired a dual identity over the years, and it is these songs which I hope this thread will unearth, and provide some kind of permanent record.

The only relevant thread which I have been able to find so far has been the one on " Dark as a Dungeon -- 3/4 or 4/4 time ? in which the inevitable thread drift has come up with several songs which could be sung in both 3/4 and 4/4.

The top 2 songs which I have always known to have a dual time signature are "The Rose of Allendale" , and "The Star of the County Down"

The Rose of Allendale", in 4/4, by the Dubliners is excellent, but so is The Rose of Allendale", in 3/4, by Mary Black.

" The Star of the County Down" is best known in the pub-singaround version in 4/4 typified by the Pogues, but I also like the 3/4 version as played by the O'Shea sisters. ( This 3/4 version is in fact how I used to sing it with my erstwhile fiddler, Elizabeth Crisfield, in case there are any Floridian folkies reading this ...)

I am totally amazed that out of all the versions of "Wild Mountain Thyme" on YouTube, there appears to be only one which is played in 3/4

All the others follow the pattern as played here, where Dick Gaughan, after a somewhat indeterminate start, settles for a 4/4 version of the song.

"All the Good Times are Past and Gone" sounds great whichever way it is played. I love the fast bluegrass 4/4 version, but I also love the slower 3/4 singalong version

Strangely enough, I could find no performance on Youtube of "Dark as A Dungeon" in anything other than 3/4, although it is extremely easy to visualise (or should that be "audiolize" ?) a version in 4/4. I am quite surprised that nobody has thought to do a 4/4 version.

Hopefully, there will be other 3/4 + 4/4 songs which will come to light on the thread, and it would be really neat if contributors could take the time to supply Youtube links to any songs mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:08 PM

There is a remarkable song -- "Love's Old Sweet Song" -- in which the stanzas are 4/4 but the refrain is in 3/4. No choice there! I cannot think of any other songs with that peculiarity.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:11 PM

I've heard "How Can I Keep from Singing?" in 3/4 and 4/4 - at my wedding, both were sung at the same time, and it was a mess....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: beeliner
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 08:47 PM

Elvis Presley sang Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" in 4/4, which required him to insert additional words or syllables here and there.

The result is pretty bad, but when the royalties started rolling in, Monroe said he liked it just fine.

The Hoosier Hot Shots sang "Where Has My Little Dog Gone" (aka "Wee Dog Waltz") in 4/4, also to its detriment.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: open mike
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 09:59 PM

I always play Star of the County Down as a Waltz (3/4) but do recall hearing someone (Van Morrison and the chieftains?) do it 4/4 with a march tempo. (in Swedish music they have polskas which are 3/4 but with a different "accent" -- on the 3rd and first beat)


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Richie
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:13 PM

I know the song, "More Pretty Girls Than One" was in 3/4 time when it was first recorded- now it's almost always in fast 4/4 like Skaggs and Rice do it.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:41 PM

The Wild Colonial Boy and Slievenamon work both way

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 01:44 AM

"Wildwood Flower" was written in 3/4 and became 4/4 at the hands of the Carter Family.
"Whiskey on a Sunday" is a song I always find falls into 3/4, but maybe that's just me.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 04:41 AM

Ewan McColl's "Dirty Old Town" is now usually sung in 4/4, but this really drags it out - "I met my lo-o-o-o-ove ....". However the version on his album Black and White appears to be in 6/4, or maybe 3/2, which to my mind suits it much better (although the rhythm always makes me think of those cowboy songs with a horse clip-clopping in the background)


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:47 AM

There is a Scottish dance genre of "Burns waltzes" - Burns songs adapted to 3/4 metre. Almost all of them work, whatever the original metre was.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 06:15 AM

Since the 60s, when I first heard it on Martin Carthy's first album, High Germany has always been in 4/4. Then Show of Hands come along and do it in 3/4, which mrsleveller really likes and wants us to do it like that - and then gets cross when I just can't get my head around the timing.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: GUEST,Tinker from Chicago
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:09 PM

My duo used to do "William Bloat" in 3/4 though everyone else I've heard uses 4/4. Then again, we'd also do "Drowzy Maggie" in 5/4, just to watch people try to clap along.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:14 PM

Lotta Fanny Crosby hymns sing better as 3/4 than the marchy 4/4 they're in... such as Rescue the Perishing. She's usually the text author and her better tune writers put her in 3/4, so if they din't-- I do.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:18 PM

I've just been going through a few tunes in my head and it is amazing how many can transform from 3/4 to 4/4, and vice versa, with no problem.

For example, try "Raglan Road" in 3/4. Easy, innit ?


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:42 PM

You can adjust just about any song either way. Not necessarily a good idea, but it's easy enough, if you're in control of the accompanying instrument

Now the trick would be to be able to do it while singing unaccompanied.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:48 PM

I think I could sing "Raglan Road " unaccompanied in 3/4 without any problem, maybe other songs wouldn't be as simple.

Or maybe they would ...


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 06:33 PM

Actually it's easy enough if you just play air (folk) guitar while you sing. Though I'd rather not do that in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Allen in Oz
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM

We play and sing "Rose Marie" as 3/4 time but it is written in 4/4/time

Allen


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM

I had heard several versions of "Andy's Gone With Cattle" and was never 'quite' happy with it until I heard Gerry Hallom do it in 4. It is SO easy to slip into 3/4 in that song, but it begins to sound like it needs a calliope as backup.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:29 PM

Putting 3/4 into 4/4 seems to be the standard for rock bands to do, e.g. Dougie Maclean's Caledonia. (Someone said 4/4 is the only time signature that rock bands know!)

Never heard Raglan Road in anything other than 3/4 BTW!

Oh, and I have to play "A Man's a Man for A' That" as a Burns Waltz (as Jack mentioned): I nearly have a blue fit or throw up every time I have to! A travesty!


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: buddhuu
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:09 AM

I've always done Raglan Road in 3/4. I do it as a tin whistle instrumental.

I do agree with Murray about 'Wild Mountain Thyme'. Amazing how few clear 3/4 versions there are. I've always done that in approximate waltz time too. I'm not keen on 4/4 interpretations. They don't feel right to me.

Somewhere I have a version of 'Star of the County Down' that starts off as a 6/8 jig played on box, then drops into 4/4 for the song proper before returning to the jig at the end. Works very nicely, but I can't for the life of me remember who did it...


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:15 AM

DMcF Band play 'The Sheepstealer' in 4/4 - deliberate ploy, having only heard versions in 3/4 previously - check our 'All Rogues & Villains' CD


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:51 AM

Not just songs either.
I often play "Astleys Ride" with the A music in 5/4 and the B music in 3/4.
It doesn't make it any more intersting as a tune, but, it sort of works! And usually gets a laugh!


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Anglo
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 01:28 PM

The Wild Colonial Boy was recorded by the Clancys in 4/4, but others (myself included) prefer it in 3/4.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 01:42 PM

Tattie Bogle said
..."Never heard Raglan Road in anything other than 3/4 BTW!" ...

Yes you have, you were at Balerno the night I did it, (a wee while ago now I admit).

check out this definitive 4/4 version


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Anglo
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 12:51 AM

And I was just reminded of another - from another thread - Wild Mountain Thyme, which I have always thought of in 3/4. I heard the McPeake Family do this at a concert in 1963 or 4. But the Clancys (again!) do it in 4/4.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Genie
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 01:42 AM

Actually, I think there are hundreds of songs that were "originally" done in 3/4 that can be rendered in 4/4 to good effect (or vice versa).   About the only ones that don't work that way are rock songs and swing dance songs.

That said, I think that sometimes the vocal versions fit better with one time signature than another. "Star of The County Down's" lyrics, e.g., don't work well for me in waltz time; they work better as a shottische or jig.   JMO


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 01:52 PM

Back in the '50s I happened on a German songbook, with songs from many countries. It had "Oh, Susanna" in 3/4, and "Vive l'Amour" in 4/4.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 07:13 PM

another version of Raglan Road in 4/4 sung by one of the all-time great voices.

I can't help feeling that singing Raglan Road in 3/4 trivialises the song somewhat.

YMMV


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Genie
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 08:25 AM

I've heard Wild Mountain Thyme done, very effectively, both in 4/4 and 6/8 time, as well as 3/4 time.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Marje
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 12:13 PM

I can't quite think of a good example, but if you're singing unaccompanied or acapella, some songs drag a bit in 4/4 and are easier to sing in 3/4. If there's a guitar or something filling up the spaces at the end of bars, it sounds fine, but if there's just a voice carrying on long notes, the song can sound a bit gappy in 4/4.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 01:32 PM

I wouldn't want this to turn into yet another "Raglan Road" thread, but could any of the eminent Irish scholars on the forum oblige by telling us whether "Fáinne Gheal an Lae" is normally played as a 3/4 or 4/4 air ?

("Fáinne Gheal an Lae" is the Irish air to which the poem was set, either by Kavanagh or Luke Kelly, take your choice)

I have read on another thread that the poster used to march to this tune in his fife and drum school band, which would seem to indicate that the melody might originally have been 4/4 ...


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 04:05 PM

I have read on another thread that the poster used to march to this tune in his fife and drum school band, which would seem to indicate that the melody might originally have been 4/4 ...

Or it could have been played in 6/8


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 04:09 PM

the mere thought of marching to "Fáinne Gheal an Lae" played in 6/8 is enough to make me feel faint ...


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM

Ah, you've been away from Balerno for far too long, Murray....long enough for my memory to fade! And dare I say, you might have been superseded, by one of our local singers, who does Raglan Road on most First Tuesdays,most delectably in 3/4, tho' he does phrase it very well, more as a slow air in 3/4 than an oom-ching-ching waltz!
Hope to see you back there when you can.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Joe_F
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 08:56 PM

I have noticed another song that switches from 4/4 to 3/4: "After the Ball".


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 09:18 PM

I do loose talk in 4/4 time although it was written in 3/4 time I also do I'll never get over those blue eyes in 4/4 time but it was written in 3/4 time they both sound better to me in 4/4. Every one to their own taste


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 20 Jun 13 - 09:42 PM

Waylon Jennings did "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave me Lucille" in 4/4 instead of 3/4---and I thought it sounded quite good; but then he went to 3/4 for the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Songs which can be either 3/4 or 4/4
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Jun 13 - 04:20 AM

Have heard Jock o' Hazeldean in both timings.

Elvis Presley's "Can't Help falling in Love With You" seems to be in a slow 6/8, although it was originally written in4/4.


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