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  #41  
Old 06-04-2010, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Yep. I counted SO much when I started reading music that I still do it to this day, even on simple stuff. It's a habit now. I try to encourage this habit in my students as well. A firm foundation in counting simple stuff helps you by making the process of counting easier when you count difficult passages. One step further, even: A strong foundation in reading and understanding notated rhythm makes it easier to figure out how to break down difficult passages into "easier to count" sections (13 into "2 3 2 3 3" or 12/8 into 4/4 with triplets, as examples...)
Someone was (basically) saying counting is mostly semi-useless junk to distract you from the music you're playing, but it really seems to be a primary means for people to understand what they're playing. This situation keeps coming up with me, where a student struggles with a beat- even though it's right there on the page- but nails it as soon as I make them count it out. I think the absence of a good, universally accepted way of counting subdivisions of triple meters is a lot of why so many people misunderstand them.
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  #42  
Old 06-04-2010, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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I can see the value in counting that way for students who are slow in grasping the concept, but I can't recall seeing it done in the field in over 30 years of playing music- I've never had anyone count off a tune in 12, for example.

How would that even go? "1.... 7.... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12!" Or worse: "1, 4, 7, 10!"
Well, of COURSE you never see this in the pop/rock/jazz realm where everything like this is written in 4/4 and counted off "1, 2, 3, 4". I come from a classical background where people are stingy about the "proper" way of referring to everything. I've played in orchestras and symphonies and classical ensembles where 12/8 IS counted off "7 8 9 10 11 12". It's usually conducted in 4 (compound time, obviously), but the conductor and musicians refer to "beats 11 and 12 of measure 132" or "the and of beat 8", and so on...

If you were to teach a drum set piece to a student, and you wanted to explain to them, in words, that their sixteenth notes in the O.P.'s example didn't sound even, how would YOU explain what beat of the measure they fall on in that 12/8 measure? Just curious...

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
Someone was (basically) saying counting is mostly semi-useless junk to distract you from the music you're playing, but it really seems to be a primary means for people to understand what they're playing. This situation keeps coming up with me, where a student struggles with a beat- even though it's right there on the page- but nails it as soon as I make them count it out. I think the absence of a good, universally accepted way of counting subdivisions of triple meters is a lot of why so many people misunderstand them.
But there already IS a "universally accepted way of counting", it's just that most people don't learn it. Actually, there IS a discrepancy between the states and European countries:

U.S.A.: "1 e + a" (one ee and uh)
Europe: "1 e + d" (one ee and duh)

Of course, this doesn't consider quavers vs eighth notes, etc., but that's not "counting"...
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  #43  
Old 06-05-2010, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Really? How would you count this 12/8 song if not in 4?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsxEfmhmDXg
lol... you know what my answer to that is going to be...

But seriously this thread has been really very useful and great to get an insight of how other drummers think. I genuinely never realised that there was any other way to count 12/8. And I can see that counting off 1 4 7 10 is absurd but I have never worked with a band leader so have never had to consider that, in my band I do the counting off.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit and still I find it easier to think in terms of the eighth notes rather than the dotted crotchets. But I do of course acknowledge that the feel and the pulse are those 4 dotted crotchets. It just feels easier if I need to place a beat in a bar of 12/8 to think about which eighth note that beat would fall on, not which part of the triplet.

Next time I play 12/8 with my band I am going to try thinking in triplets and see how I get on... I get this feeling that it might be carnage though.

As for playing 12/8 over 6/4... I love that sort of stuff
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  #44  
Old 06-05-2010, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Well, of COURSE you never see this in the pop/rock/jazz realm where everything like this is written in 4/4
In pop and rock, 12/8 tunes are written in 12/8, not 4/4. Most tunes that get played in a jazz setting are in 4/4, though a leader will sometimes specify a 12/8 feel (by which he means a triplet feel in 4) on a ballad.

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and counted off "1, 2, 3, 4". I come from a classical background where people are stingy about the "proper" way of referring to everything. I've played in orchestras and symphonies and classical ensembles where 12/8 IS counted off "7 8 9 10 11 12". It's usually conducted in 4 (compound time, obviously), but the conductor and musicians refer to "beats 11 and 12 of measure 132" or "the and of beat 8", and so on...
I'm just telling you my experience. I also have classical training from a real program, but quit school 20 years ago and do not work classical gigs. If your conductors work that way, fine. In the world of music played with the drumset (the "drummer world", if you will) the main thing is to have a clear sense of the dotted-quarter pulse, the strong and weak beats, and the divisions and subdivisions of the beat. In 4/4, the "#e&a" system works great for this. In compound meters the #&a/#trip-let systems are generally OK, but break down when it comes to dealing with 16ths.

But I'm not real clear on what I'm arguing with you about, and I don't just want to quibble with you. What part of my field experience are you trying to disavow me of?

Quote:
If you were to teach a drum set piece to a student, and you wanted to explain to them, in words, that their sixteenth notes in the O.P.'s example didn't sound even, how would YOU explain what beat of the measure they fall on in that 12/8 measure? Just curious...
I usually refer to triplet partials or 8ths in compound meters as the "middle" or "end" of the triplet/beat; in this case I would say the 16ths fall in the middle of beats one and three. I might also play it or sing it. That's usually clear enough. If the student had never seen 12/8 before, I would probably count it out slowly with your method.

Quote:
But there already IS a "universally accepted way of counting", it's just that most people don't learn it.
It's not SOP in my end of the business, and not an adequate system for my purposes, for the reason I gave above.
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  #45  
Old 06-05-2010, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
In pop and rock, 12/8 tunes are written in 12/8, not 4/4. Most tunes that get played in a jazz setting are in 4/4, though a leader will sometimes specify a 12/8 feel (by which he means a triplet feel in 4) on a ballad.
Hmm...I haven't gotten a chart for a tune in 12/8 before. Interesting. The singer/songwriters, cover bands, jazz combos, and recording sessions I play for don't use 12/8. They write in 4/4 and designate "with a swing" or "shuffle" or "bluesy" or whatever. I don't recall any 12/8 meters in The Real Book, either, but maybe I'm mistaken...

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I'm just telling you my experience. I also have classical training from a real program, but quit school 20 years ago and do not work classical gigs. If your conductors work that way, fine. In the world of music played with the drumset (the "drummer world", if you will) the main thing is to have a clear sense of the dotted-quarter pulse, the strong and weak beats, and the divisions and subdivisions of the beat. In 4/4, the "#e&a" system works great for this. In compound meters the #&a/#trip-let systems are generally OK, but break down when it comes to dealing with 16ths.
I said nothing to the contrary of this. That's how I roll, too...

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
But I'm not real clear on what I'm arguing with you about, and I don't just want to quibble with you. What part of my field experience are you trying to disavow me of?
I'm not trying to quibble or discredit you. We're just talking, I thought. My apologies if you perceive it as anything more or worse than that.

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I usually refer to triplet partials or 8ths in compound meters as the "middle" or "end" of the triplet/beat; in this case I would say the 16ths fall in the middle of beats one and three. I might also play it or sing it. That's usually clear enough. If the student had never seen 12/8 before, I would probably count it out slowly with your method.
Cool. That's a great method. I teach triplet partials and the appropriate subdivisions when dealing with triplets. I teach 8th notes when dealing with a compound meter composed of eighth notes (12/8, 6/8, etc...). I, personally, find that students new to compound meter have a hard time thinking in terms of a 3 note pulse, and it slows down the learning process. Once they have a solo or two down, THEN I say, "okay, now let's go back and apply the same triple-feeling as when we did the hand to hand accents (R L R L R L). They usually "get it" right away at that point, unless they've already figured it out on their own. But, that's just my method. It cuts down the time it takes to understand the material/concept by a lesson or two.

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It's not SOP in my end of the business, and not an adequate system for my purposes, for the reason I gave above.
Cool. I didn't say it had to be.

It just seems as though people should know that there are 12 beats in a 12/8 measure before they start breaking that down into two measures of 6 or change it to a 4/4 bar in triplets for counting reasons. That's all I've been trying to say this whole time. Anyone who looks at a 12/8 measure and says, "uh, yeah, that's actually a 4/4 measure" or "um, that's really 2 6/8 measures stuck together" is wrong.

It's. a. freaking. 12/8. measure. people. Once you know that, THEN you can count it however you want/need to...
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  #46  
Old 06-05-2010, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

Going back to feel:

This song, I'd tend to count/feel in 6 (or 12), because if counted as quarters, it's just a long way in-between the "1" and the "2".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGFq96Pfz8s

Same band, a hair faster tempo, almost the same drum beat, but due the strict shuffle feel, as opposed to the rolling feel of the last song, I'd want to count in 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7jr9...aynext_from=ML



And now, on the ubber-slow tempo, it gets interesting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShgBXY3kUc
You could count 4, with a 1/2 time feel, and still be technically correct. But notice Steve is playing triplets with in the triplets (especially noticeable in the 2nd verse). So if one to write it out, it would be easier to write 12/8, and designate the triplets, or else it gets messy on paper with subdivisions of subdivisions (not that that ever stopped some people).

I know Steve said in interviews he always used to count to himself on the slow songs to keep in time. I can't say I've ever read an interview if he distinguished between 4/4 or 12/8 on these tunes.
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  #47  
Old 06-05-2010, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

It seems sort of weird to me that so much controversy has risen over what is essentially the same beat that is played on every slow blues and soul ballad.

I mean, come on. One listen to the way Otis Redding does "I've Been Loving You Too Long," with Al Jackson on the drums, tells you all you need to know about playing in 12/8.

You need to count that?
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  #48  
Old 06-05-2010, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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You need to count that?
You're assuming everyone who reads this site is beyond the beginner stage.
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  #49  
Old 06-05-2010, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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You're assuming everyone who reads this site is beyond the beginner stage.
No, not at all. What I'm doing is saying to listen, listen to how it's done, how it's actually applied to the song. Looking at one bar of percussion notation doesn't tell the story at all. These are beats that every drummer should know without having to think about it, sorry but there it is.

All this back and forth about how to count the beat that, as an example, Al Jackson is playing on that Otis Redding tune is rediculous. :)

(Did I spell rediculous correctly?)
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Going back to feel:

This song, I'd tend to count/feel in 6 (or 12), because if counted as quarters, it's just a long way in-between the "1" and the "2".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGFq96Pfz8s

Same band, a hair faster tempo, almost the same drum beat, but due the strict shuffle feel, as opposed to the rolling feel of the last song, I'd want to count in 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7jr9...aynext_from=ML

And now, on the ubber-slow tempo, it gets interesting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShgBXY3kUc
You could count 4, with a 1/2 time feel, and still be technically correct. But notice Steve is playing triplets with in the triplets (especially noticeable in the 2nd verse). So if one to write it out, it would be easier to write 12/8, and designate the triplets, or else it gets messy on paper with subdivisions of subdivisions (not that that ever stopped some people).

I know Steve said in interviews he always used to count to himself on the slow songs to keep in time. I can't say I've ever read an interview if he distinguished between 4/4 or 12/8 on these tunes.
Nice examples! The first two are not too slow for me to count them with a subdivided dotted quarter pulse, but whatever device helps an individual keep them together is correct. Open Arms could actually be in 3/4, with that backbeat on 1 of the second measure. Anything Steve Smith says about making slow tempos is basically the Bible- Peter Erskine, too- he says to subdivide to the smallest value in your time feel.
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  #51  
Old 06-05-2010, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

I've been reading the growth of this little piece of academia with some bemusement. The exchange between Caddy and Matt Ritter about beats and pulses was advanced stuff for this primeval tub thumper (apologies KIS).

Based on all the comments, my feeling is that an established drummer counting a simple passage like this would be like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer. Personally, I don't want to be focusing on maths while our singer is pouring his heart out - I want to be "singing" along with him - but my band plays straightforward music.

However, I can see the usefulness of counting for beginners and also for those playing more complex and challenging forms of music.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Hmm...I haven't gotten a chart for a tune in 12/8 before. Interesting. The singer/songwriters, cover bands, jazz combos, and recording sessions I play for don't use 12/8. They write in 4/4 and designate "with a swing" or "shuffle" or "bluesy" or whatever. I don't recall any 12/8 meters in The Real Book, either, but maybe I'm mistaken...
I usually don't get charts either- usually all the information I get is "1... 2... 3... 12/8!" They don't even condescend to give me a title half the time. The type of tunes I'm thinking of are pop things along the lines of Unchained Melody, Love Me Tender, Natural Woman. I don't think there are any 12/8 tunes in the Real Book. Jazz idiom tunes that often get played with a 12/8 feel- like Georgia On My Mind- were mostly written in 4/4, but an arranger might put his version in 12/8.

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I'm not trying to quibble or discredit you. We're just talking, I thought. My apologies if you perceive it as anything more or worse than that.
Sorry, it's easy to misinterpret tone on the internets- I know my writing style can come off a little harsh- no hard feelings.

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Cool. That's a great method. I teach triplet partials and the appropriate subdivisions when dealing with triplets. I teach 8th notes when dealing with a compound meter composed of eighth notes (12/8, 6/8, etc...). I, personally, find that students new to compound meter have a hard time thinking in terms of a 3 note pulse, and it slows down the learning process. Once they have a solo or two down, THEN I say, "okay, now let's go back and apply the same triple-feeling as when we did the hand to hand accents (R L R L R L). They usually "get it" right away at that point, unless they've already figured it out on their own. But, that's just my method. It cuts down the time it takes to understand the material/concept by a lesson or two.
That seems perfectly fine, of course. On the drums, they can usually make the patterns happen without counting the internals once they have a basic idea of the terrain. It's not an entirely satisfactory situation- I would prefer that they were able to count their 16ths while keeping the primary pulse together, but again I'm not wild about the options for doing that.

Quote:
It just seems as though people should know that there are 12 beats in a 12/8 measure before they start breaking that down into two measures of 6 or change it to a 4/4 bar in triplets for counting reasons. That's all I've been trying to say this whole time. Anyone who looks at a 12/8 measure and says, "uh, yeah, that's actually a 4/4 measure" or "um, that's really 2 6/8 measures stuck together" is wrong.
I would never refer to 4/4 in understanding 12/8 (despite my use of the #&a/#trip-let syllables), and I don't get the idea of the 6/8+6/8 thing at all. I do agree with Matt's cites that 12/8 is fundamentally a 4 feel, and that the usual explanation of time signatures is misleading with regard to compound meters. This line seems particularly helpful:

"Remember that the bottom number of a time signature ... stands for the beat value in a simple time signature and the division value in a compound time signature."
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  #53  
Old 06-05-2010, 03:44 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Nice examples! The first two are not too slow for me to count them with a subdivided dotted quarter pulse, but whatever device helps an individual keep them together is correct. Open Arms could actually be in 3/4, with that backbeat on 1 of the second measure. Anything Steve Smith says about making slow tempos is basically the Bible- Peter Erskine, too- he says to subdivide to the smallest value in your time feel.
There is something that is known as a rock waltz, in 3/4, an example is Daughters by John Mayer. I would say that Open Arms is a rock waltz in three. Open Arms has a very strong waltz feel. The 1 is strong, it is slow and grand like a waltz. I don't know what the sheet music would say (or whether it would be right to say it.)

'Lights' has more of a classic 12/8 feel, which brings out the nostalgia of the song to my ear. I would say the same for Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' and I'm Cryin'. The shuffle brings out the nasty-sexiness of LTS. Steve knew what he was doing. The feels do create the mood of the song, like 'dah' we are all drummers here, and can make the difference between a hit and a flop.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:49 AM
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Sorry, it's easy to misinterpret tone on the internets- I know my writing style can come off a little harsh- no hard feelings.
Yeah, I've seen it happen QUITE a few times on ye olde interweb. Heck, several times this thread, even!

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post

Based on all the comments, my feeling is that an established drummer counting a simple passage like this would be like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer. Personally, I don't want to be focusing on maths while our singer is pouring his heart out - I want to be "singing" along with him - but my band plays straightforward music.

However, I can see the usefulness of counting for beginners and also for those playing more complex and challenging forms of music.
I think that MOST people treat counting as something they have to do in order to figure out a new figure. That's all fine, but if you count enough (or sight read music enough), then it becomes like reading in real life. Sure, when you're a kid, you sometimes have to sound out words, but once you've read a whole bunch, it's second nature almost. Same thing with reading music and counting. If you have a chart in front of you, you don't even have to THINK about counting, really, just following the form of the song and listening to the other musicians so you can interact with them. But, yeah, I see your point about not thinking about math while playing. It all comes down to what you're familiar with and comfortable with. If you're playing a song you've played a hundred times before, it'll be easy to do, but if you're thrown into a 3-hour gig playing songs you've never heard before, charts/reading/counting is a way to pull it off successfully. The more you do it, the less you have to think about the "thinking" aspect of it, too...
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

I'm not sure whether to feel smart because i've been playing this all my life, or to feel dumb because I had no idea what I was playing.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:09 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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I'm not sure whether to feel smart because i've been playing this all my life, or to feel dumb because I had no idea what I was playing.
Truthfully, it's not that simple. If you listen to Open Arms carefully, you can hear how it starts with a 6/4 feel and moves to a 3/4. There is no emphasis on four in the beginning. Then an emphasis of four after the first verse thus becoming a waltz feel. You can really hear thins in the vocals. It starts out one way and there is a change in perspective. You were next to me, we drifted apart and you're here again. It goes from 'lying there' to motion, from 6/4 to 3/4 waltz. Open arms are a waltz, if you've seen it, and don't think they don't think about these things. There was a reason they dominated the charts in the 80s.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Truthfully, it's not that simple. If you listen to Open Arms carefully, you can hear how it starts with a 6/4 feel and moves to a 3/4. There is no emphasis on four in the beginning. Then an emphasis of four after the first verse thus becoming a waltz feel. You can really hear thins in the vocals. It starts out one way and there is a change in perspective. You were next to me, we drifted apart and you're here again. It goes from 'lying there' to motion, from 6/4 to 3/4 waltz. Open arms are a waltz, if you've seen it, and don't think they don't think about these things. There was a reason they dominated the charts in the 80s.
On the net, I found a piano sheet showing the whole thing in 3/4, although it contains enough 8th notes to easily see it as 6/8. And badly done drum tab showing the song in 4/4 with a 1/2 time feel.

So it seems there are different interpretations of how it should be. But it's not like Journey sat around and wrote out their own music, they just played.
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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On the net, I found a piano sheet showing the whole thing in 3/4, although it contains enough 8th notes to easily see it as 6/8. And badly done drum tab showing the song in 4/4 with a 1/2 time feel.

So it seems there are different interpretations of how it should be. But it's not like Journey sat around and wrote out their own music, they just played.
I am sure that somewhere Cain and Perry wrote these songs down, whether or note that is what you get when you get the sheet music is a different story. Their collaborations seemed a bit more traditional in the sense that they worked together at the keyboard as lyricist/composer sometimes with Schon. I would wonder if Schon got some royalty credits more due to contract than collaboration. But in any event, the songs hold up a songs, regardless of studio gimmicks.

There are different interpretations of the the idea; but the whole idea of music notation is standardization. In the day of Mozart and Chopin, you didn't have a recording to go to. The score was the recording. Accuracy was paramount to fully understanding the composers intention for the piece. The difference yet today in the ten dollar score vs a forty dollar score will also refer to different publishing of the same piece, some that are better than others.

There was always some guy who would try to publish a composers work and make some money without publishing rights, as opposed to those who had the rights and were working with the composer. There is a meticulous historical tradition of authenticating musical works based on original autographed copies and authentic publishing.

When you see a score of music, you want to know what this 3/4 is and what the feel and the tempo are. But if you can just listen to the electrical recording, you can a good grasp for that. Some are better than others at doing that, and thus you have the tribute band. But to say that Open Arms is in 4/4 half-time feel, for example, is just wrong. Someone could hear it one way and there is an openness to interpretation, esp in popular music; but there is also something as being dead wrong.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
I am sure that somewhere Cain and Perry wrote these songs down, whether or note that is what you get when you get the sheet music is a different story. Their collaborations seemed a bit more traditional in the sense that they worked together at the keyboard as lyricist/composer sometimes with Schon. I would wonder if Schon got some royalty credits more due to contract than collaboration. But in any event, the songs hold up a songs, regardless of studio gimmicks.
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Schon didn't get writing credit on Open Arms. Jon wrote the basis of that song prior to his joining Journey, and then Perry wrote the lyrics. And if you read the Herbie Herbert interview, and the liner notes to the box set, the band wasn't all that convinced they wanted to do the song due to it's sappiness. And I'll admit, I'm a huge Journey fan, but I could do without hearing Open Arms again. They were a great band who get blown off by too many for just doing sappy ballads (given that's what radio played).

Other songs, I'm sure Schon did help write, as he was writing for Journey long before Cain joined the band. As for scoring, everything I've read as said songs were written in hotel rooms while on the road, and in the bands jam room, and that upon joining, Jon cataloged all of the song ideas on tape. It wasn't until after the Frontiers album that Jon put together a home studio.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

I think "Open Arms," sold more Bic lighters than Philip Morris.:)
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: How to "count" this 12/8 bar...

Hmmm...makes sense to me to count it 1,2,3,4...2,2,3....3,2,3,4....4,2,3....back to 1....that way your bass is on 1 and 3 and the back beat is on 2 and 4....
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