"Seven" versus ?

JimFiore

Silver Member
I was listening to the first Oblivion Sun CD this morning (if not familiar, it's a couple members of Happy the Man with new additions, HtM=1970s prog). There are a few tunes in 7 and I got to wondering how people count this. What I mean is, there is the obvious problem of "seven" being two syllables with the potential for an inadvertent trip-up.

What's your solution?

Do you treat the second syllable as "and"? Do you simply avoid counting in 7 and instead count something like alternating bars of 4 and 3? Do you use a different word that has only one syllable? Years ago I tried just using the first syllable, "sev". I never liked it because the "v" isn't crisp and you have to fight the tendency to automatically say the 2nd syllable. I switched to the Latin root and started saying "sep" but that wasn't great either. Nowadays I use a contraction and think "sen".

Or do you avoid the whole thing by never playing in a meter that goes past 6?
 
one, two, three, four, five, six, "sev", eight, nine, ten. Anything higher than 10, I refuse to count. Well, not really, but that wasn't your question.

I have always said "sev" and it never bothered me. I am curious to see other ideas people post, but I think I am sticking with "sev". I have never heard anyone say they didn't like "sev" interesting, I see your point though, kinda.
 
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Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I use "sen" for seven and "len" for eleven. Mike Mangini actually discusses this is his first book.

Some other issues that arise when counting relate to numbers over 20. When most people count 19...20 they are starting on beat one. When they go up to 21 they shift so that the "one" of "twenty-one" lands on the down beat.

The result is this: (in 4/4)

Nine teen three four
Twen ty three twenty (phrase as 2 8th notes or "and a")
one two three twenty
two two three twenty

and so on.

Most people never put enough thought and effort into being able to count through a piece all the way to the end. It is a valuable skill.
 

moxman

Silver Member
I'm certainly no Gavin Harrison when it comes to odd meters.. But, if I have to play them, I use what I learned many years ago:
- break them up into chunks of 2s, 3s, or 4s eg. 1234'123'12' etc.
- the chunks should match the groove or phrase. Eg. you could count Take Five as '1-2-3 1-2' etc.
- once solidified, feel the phrase and throw away the calculator!
 
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HGinCT

Junior Member
I emply Mangini's "Not Quite Doubled" Counting Method.

you take the number you want to count to, add 1, and then half it

example: 7 + 1 = 8, 8 / 2 = 4

so 7 is 4 Not Quite Double (NQD)

what this means is you can count to 4 but OMIT the "and" of 4 and it puts you in 7.


1 + 2 + 3 + 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

this works for any odd time signature, and it makes playing and counting odd meters a breeze.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I actually find counting to five I have to break that up into 123, 12 because i find I flub saying "four, Five" quickly. Sometimes I resort to simple grunty type noises sort of 123 dah bah

Thats how I deal with 7, counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,bah or suchlike
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I emply Mangini's "Not Quite Doubled" Counting Method.

you take the number you want to count to, add 1, and then half it

example: 7 + 1 = 8, 8 / 2 = 4

so 7 is 4 Not Quite Double (NQD)

what this means is you can count to 4 but OMIT the "and" of 4 and it puts you in 7.


1 + 2 + 3 + 4 1 + 2 + 3 + 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

this works for any odd time signature, and it makes playing and counting odd meters a breeze.
Sure, but realize that the intention of the NQD system is actually to count odd subdivisions not odd meters. Playing septuplets at 100 BPM for example, is too fast to count all of the notes so you count half of them (actually not quite half). That's where the real usefulness of the system applies.
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
My approach to odd times is very much feel them.

If it's a really tricky like 15 or something then that becomes 8 and 7 or 6 and 9 or what ever way it is split up but i have always found that breaking the bar into smaller chunks locks you into an accent pattern that might not work with the music (it might though) and the portnoy method of adding 1 or taking 1 away just makes it sound like a skipping record.

Just because the song is in 5 or 7 or 21 then it should feel musical and have the same groove as your 4 playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtPY2-9PItc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnhByczOneI

D
 

HGinCT

Junior Member
Sure, but realize that the intention of the NQD system is actually to count odd subdivisions not odd meters. Playing septuplets at 100 BPM for example, is too fast to count all of the notes so you count half of them (actually not quite half). That's where the real usefulness of the system applies.
I would agree with you if the book demonstrated the counting in relation to subdivisions, but it doesn't. It shows the method in the context of time signature.

I find counting 4 NQD useful for counting in 7 because it relates all your vocab thats in 4 to 7.

example, Frame by Frame byKing Crimson. You could say the back beats are on 3 and 7 (counting from 1 to 7), or you could say they're on 2 and 4 (4 NQD); which would more people recognize?
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I would agree with you if the book demonstrated the counting in relation to subdivisions, but it doesn't.
Please read the following from Mike:

This is a tempo-based system designed for tuplets. It’s really designed for the amount of notes within a beat. Also, the system is designed for speed. For example, to be able to play a quick grouping of seven notes or eleven notes, if the music dictates it, or even if you just feel like doing it because it’s fun.

You don’t use this so much for time signature counting. At a certain point, for example, when playing and counting a slow 7/4: ONE -TWO -THREE-FOUR-FIVE -SIX -SEVEN -ONE -TWO -THREE-FOUR-FIVE -SIX -SEVEN -ONE, it’s slow enough to be able to just count the entire seven.

At any rate, the not-quite-double system, is for those notes inside the quarter notes, when you’re playing and counting at a faster tempo. You don’t necessarily want to count slowly to seven like this: ONE -AND -TWO -AND -THREE -AND -FOUR -ONE -AND -TWO -AND -THREE -AND -FOUR -ONE. Because then, at that point, you have to think too much and it actually works against you. It’s easier to just count one to seven out loud.



Here is the link.

http://www.drumheadmag.com/web/page.php?id=23

I studied with him for some time.
 
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HGinCT

Junior Member
Please read the following from Mike:

This is a tempo-based system designed for tuplets. It’s really designed for the amount of notes within a beat. Also, the system is designed for speed. For example, to be able to play a quick grouping of seven notes or eleven notes, if the music dictates it, or even if you just feel like doing it because it’s fun.

You don’t use this so much for time signature counting. At a certain point, for example, when playing and counting a slow 7/4: ONE -TWO -THREE-FOUR-FIVE -SIX -SEVEN -ONE -TWO -THREE-FOUR-FIVE -SIX -SEVEN -ONE, it’s slow enough to be able to just count the entire seven.

At any rate, the not-quite-double system, is for those notes inside the quarter notes, when you’re playing and counting at a faster tempo. You don’t necessarily want to count slowly to seven like this: ONE -AND -TWO -AND -THREE -AND -FOUR -ONE -AND -TWO -AND -THREE -AND -FOUR -ONE. Because then, at that point, you have to think too much and it actually works against you. It’s easier to just count one to seven out loud.



Here is the link.

http://www.drumheadmag.com/web/page.php?id=23

I studied with him for some time.
and what about the rest of my comment. in my experience teaching, people really gravitate to NQD for time signatures (especially 8th note and 16th note based) because it creates an anchor that relates it back to 4, what they're familiar with.

I agree that a slow 7/4 makes it kind of ridiculous, but what about stuff like "Frame by Frame" by King Crimson, "The Great Debate" by Dream Theater, "The Day I Tried to Live" by Soundgarden? things based in 8/th note meters with a medium to fast tempo? I think there is some validity in what I'm taking about.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
and what about the rest of my comment. in my experience teaching, people really gravitate to NQD for time signatures (especially 8th note and 16th note based) because it creates an anchor that relates it back to 4, what they're familiar with.

I agree that a slow 7/4 makes it kind of ridiculous, but what about stuff like "Frame by Frame" by King Crimson, "The Great Debate" by Dream Theater, "The Day I Tried to Live" by Soundgarden? things based in 8/th note meters with a medium to fast tempo? I think there is some validity in what I'm taking about.
That's cool. I'm not trying to get into a big debate on it. If you feel good doing something and it sounds good then it is good. I was just relaying what Mike's original intention was.

What ends up happening is that over time, (I have been counting tuplets using NQD for almost 10 years now) you don't even count anymore. I can feel the 11 or 13 without counting it thanks to Mike.

Good luck.
 
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