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  #1  
Old 07-24-2016, 12:34 AM
Wanzeller Wanzeller is offline
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Default Time Signature

Hello,

I have a doubt and I want to be sure if what I'm thinking is correct. I have to practice some exercises, and basically I have two different time signatures which are 2/4 and 2/8. Basically they are the same, right? Because in 2/4 we have 2 Quarter per mesure and on the 2/8 we have 2 Eight notes per measure and in 2 eight note we have 2 quarter notes. If they are the same why do we use two different time signatures? If I put the metronome in 4/4 the length is the same to both time signatures, right?

Hope you can help me and take out my doubts,

Best Regards,
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2016, 12:59 AM
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bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

There are several different reasons for writing the same thing in different ways.
Sometimes it makes more sense when it is in a full composition of numerous instruments. Sometimes it is done to keep a certain feel when the player senses the notes.
This should help https://youtu.be/xs1q9huMw70
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2016, 02:08 AM
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porter porter is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

2/8 is definitely rarer than 2/4.

If you have the metronome at the same pace then one measure of 2/8 is half the length of one measure of 2/4. However, one measure of 2/8 at quarter note = 80 is the same length as one measure of 2/4 at quarter note = 160.
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2016, 03:06 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Well, think of it like this:

2/8 = 1/4 = 2x 8th notes
2/4 = 4x 8th notes.

You would use the appropriate time signature based on the feel, and I would base it off the precluding time signature. Eg., if I had written a part in 7/8, I would use 2/8 for the following bar (or 9/8 for both), but if I was writing in 4/4 I'd use 1/4.
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2016, 05:46 AM
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Alex Sanguinetti Alex Sanguinetti is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Try this out NON STOP 2 times!

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  #6  
Old 07-24-2016, 07:01 AM
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Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanzeller View Post
Hello,

I have a doubt and I want to be sure if what I'm thinking is correct. I have to practice some exercises, and basically I have two different time signatures which are 2/4 and 2/8. Basically they are the same, right? Because in 2/4 we have 2 Quarter per mesure and on the 2/8 we have 2 Eight notes per measure and in 2 eight note we have 2 quarter notes. If they are the same why do we use two different time signatures? If I put the metronome in 4/4 the length is the same to both time signatures, right?

Hope you can help me and take out my doubts,

Best Regards,
Wait a second, 2/4 has nothing to do with 2/8.

You mention in your post that "in 2 eighth notes we have 2 quarter notes"
That's wrong.

In 2 eighth notes you have one quarter note.

Eighth note time feels nothing like quarter note time. It's not about the number on top, the number on the bottom is the one that tells you the feel.

So no, they are NOT the same thing. Two quarter notes take up twice the amount of rhythmic space as two eighth notes do.
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2016, 03:28 PM
sumdrumguy sumdrumguy is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
Eighth note time feels nothing like quarter note time. It's not about the number on top, the number on the bottom is the one that tells you the feel.

So no, they are NOT the same thing. Two quarter notes take up twice the amount of rhythmic space as two eighth notes do.

Great discussion/examples of this from Mike Johnston...
https://youtu.be/N_ISjBFHL-o?t=20m25s
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2016, 05:05 PM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

I've been thinking about the 2/8 signature a little. I have the book "Rhythm of the Redman", I see the 2/8 time signature often in this book. Often times it interspersed with 3/8, 5/8, 4/8.

I'm not sure why the authors used these time signatures to describe the original un annotated music and dances, perhaps it was just convenient, given the strong but simple pulse of the water drums and frame drums. It isn't clear to me that the authors actually knew the intended organization of the songs. These could correspond to specific dance steps, I suppose.

Another one that is peculiar is that Tango's are often written in 4/8, here I think it is fairly clear that this is for the purposes of dance i.e. Five six seven eight!
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:46 PM
Alex Sanguinetti
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2016, 06:10 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Time feels different.

You'll notate in a wider pulse because you want things e.g. to "live" a little more, be a bit more elastic. A samba would be a good example, but the same thing applies to a classical piece with several different time signatures. It influences the phrasing, accents and acceleration within a bar.

Sometimes the composer/arranger understands, sometimes not. So in practice there are reasons, but not always.

There's also a history of being paid by the bar, which offcourse motivates to write in cut time.
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2016, 08:49 PM
Wanzeller Wanzeller is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
Wait a second, 2/4 has nothing to do with 2/8.

You mention in your post that "in 2 eighth notes we have 2 quarter notes"
That's wrong.

In 2 eighth notes you have one quarter note.

Eighth note time feels nothing like quarter note time. It's not about the number on top, the number on the bottom is the one that tells you the feel.

So no, they are NOT the same thing. Two quarter notes take up twice the amount of rhythmic space as two eighth notes do.

Yes I was thinking wrong and that's why I wasn't understanding the differences. After I read your post I realized that I was wrong when I said that in 2 eighth notes we have 2 quarter notes. Now it's easier to me to understand. It Makes sense now.

Thanks a lot :)
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2016, 10:09 PM
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Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Quote:
Originally Posted by sumdrumguy View Post
Great discussion/examples of this from Mike Johnston...
https://youtu.be/N_ISjBFHL-o?t=20m25s
That is a very good intro explanation.
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  #12  
Old 07-27-2016, 07:58 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Any musical phrase can be written in any time signature.

Some time signatures make the reading of the subsequent notation easier...who wants to read artificial grouping when the same phrase can be written in a more conventional time signature and appropriate tempo change...well..depending...I prefer to read artificial grouping notation for short passages but would rather see a conversion in time signature and tempo for extended phrases.

Convention(culture) might suggest specific interpretation of a time signature but the raw logic of a time signature does NOT indicate more than the number of beats in a measure and what note gets one beat.(and, possibly, what 'convention' the composer/transcriber is from)

Music theory 101.
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  #13  
Old 07-28-2016, 02:36 AM
crash crash is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

When you have this kind of time signature change, it can mean a time change. Going from 2/4 to 2/8, note that an eighth note in 2/4 equals an eighth note in 2/8. The 2/8 section is played faster( 2x) than the 2/4 section. You still have two beats per measure. This is really a common practice in written music. Pretty common in orchestral and jazz.
I hope this helps.
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  #14  
Old 07-30-2016, 05:43 PM
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Skitch Skitch is offline
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Default Re: Time Signature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanzeller View Post
Hello,

I have a doubt and I want to be sure if what I'm thinking is correct. I have to practice some exercises, and basically I have two different time signatures which are 2/4 and 2/8. Basically they are the same, right? Because in 2/4 we have 2 Quarter per mesure and on the 2/8 we have 2 Eight notes per measure and in 2 eight note we have 2 quarter notes. If they are the same why do we use two different time signatures? If I put the metronome in 4/4 the length is the same to both time signatures, right?

Hope you can help me and take out my doubts,

Best Regards,
In my transcribing of drum parts on songs, I used to argue that a song, such as "Seven Days" by Sting was in 5/8 as opposed to 5/4. Looking back, it would have been better to use 5/4 than 5/8 so that I wouldn't need a magnifying glass to read all of those 32nds in 5/8, especially in light of the fact for drummers, it really doesn't matter most of the time.

Mike

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