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Author Topic: Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc  (Read 3103 times)

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Anahata

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« on: April 09, 2010, 04:07:57 PM »

I've not even tried this yet, but before I do so can I ask about time signatures?   Is everyone doing 9/8?   I only ask because there are versions on JC's tunefinder in 9/8, 6/8 and 3/4.  I don't read music well enough to glance at the scores and understand how these will differ.

They'll all sound the same. In a nutshell, it's only about where you put the bar lines, but the relative lengths of the notes are more-or-less the same. I say more-or-less because even the 9/8 versions are not identical.

I wouldn't trust the 6/8 and 3/4 versions, though, because they are almost certainly transcriptions by ear, as it seems pretty established that the correct time signature (i.e. the one the composer chose) was 9/8.
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Gandy

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010, 04:31:36 PM »

They'll all sound the same. In a nutshell, it's only about where you put the bar lines, but the relative lengths of the notes are more-or-less the same.

Hmm.  I'm not sure I agree that changing between 6/8 and 3/4 wouldn't change the sound.  I think of 3/4 as being three beats to the bar, 6/8 as four (or maybe as two for a fast double jig).
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Anahata

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 04:58:01 PM »

Hmm.  I'm not sure I agree that changing between 6/8 and 3/4 wouldn't change the sound.  I think of 3/4 as being three beats to the bar, 6/8 as four (or maybe as two for a fast double jig).

But the point is the different versions have entirely different ideas of how much music is in a bar.

In the examples I found  on the ABC tunefinder (see for yourself...), the 3/4 version had 3 bars of 3/4 equivalent to 1 bar of the 9/8 version. If you played a crotchet of the 3/4 version at the same speed as a quaver of the 9/8 version, it would sound the same, give or take subtle emphasis on the first beat and "feel" of the tune. And the 6/8 versions were just the 9/8 tune with barlines every 6 quavers instead of every 9.

I'd guess they were transcribed by someone who didn't know or notice that it was in 9/8. A lot of people have trouble with 9/8, and this tune, even when you think of it in 9/8, has quirks that can confuse. Even among 9/8 versions that I have found, for example, there are two schools of thought about where the first beat of the bar comes.

In ABC:
g/f/ | ege c3 cBc | dcF A3 G3 |  Aca ...
vs.
g/f/ ege | c3 cBc dcF | A3 G3 Aca | ...
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Chris Brimley

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 06:25:45 PM »

I find it difficult to think of this tune being in 6/8, because the emphasis seems all wrong in this time to me, but perhaps that's just because I learned it as a 9/8 tune. 

Interesting that this is a march, which means that you keep changing which foot carries the emphasis of the tune, in 9/8.  It certainly adds a new feel to the rhythm of marching, if you try it.  This little trick to add rhythmic interest for dancers is also much used in ballroom dancing, I've recently found.  A lot of the basic steps seem to have three-bar structures but they are used with tunes with 4 or 8-bar repeats, which I found somewhat confusing at first having been brought up on strict folk dance structures.  A classic case is the jive, which has a six-beat repeat basic step, forced against really strong 2 or 4 to the bar music (Think of 'Rock around the Clock', for example).

I think Glenn Miller used the simple rhythm of marching against quite syncopated tunes, to give a lift to the rhythm, using the same principle of not just doing the obvious.
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Simon

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 06:39:40 PM »

Actually 9/8 and 3/4 are the same, but only if you rewrite one bar of 9/8 as one bar of 3/4 (i.e. three triplets). Mazurkas (3/4) are often written in 9/8 if there are lots of triplets and swung notes. The 3/4 versions where one 9/8 bar is written as three 3/4 bars are something different.
In the case of Battle of the Somme things are even more confusing, since to me the 'official' version sounds a bit wrong. It's as if the 4th note of each bar should have the main accent instead of the 1st. I would write it in 9/8, but with the bar lines between the 3rd and 4th note of each bar.

edit: just noticed that this is exactly what Anahata wrote above  ;)
In ABC:
g/f/ | ege c3 cBc | dcF A3 G3 |  Aca ...
vs.
g/f/ ege | c3 cBc dcF | A3 G3 Aca | ...
For 9/8 I prefer the second one, but I used the first one in an unsuccessful attempt to make a 7/8 version.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2010, 06:44:23 PM by Simon »
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Anahata

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 10:03:34 PM »

Actually 9/8 and 3/4 are the same, but only if you rewrite one bar of 9/8 as one bar of 3/4 (i.e. three triplets).
Yes, that's what I thought I'd find on the ABC tune finder, but it isn't what I actually found. Maybe it was the work of someone who heard the tune played at a dirge-like speed, when it's comparable to waltz time and you might think it was in 3/4, in two 24 bar sections.
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Chris Brimley

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 10:40:10 PM »

Quote
Actually 9/8 and 3/4 are the same, but only if you rewrite one bar of 9/8 as one bar of 3/4 (i.e. three triplets).

Isn't this about emphasis rather than numbers of notes of a certain length? - You tend to be able to clap to a 9/8 tune on the 7th and then the 1st beat, whereas with a waltz, only the first is emphasised, with the second and third beat being both fairly quiet. 
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Simon

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2010, 08:28:58 AM »

Isn't this about emphasis rather than numbers of notes of a certain length? - You tend to be able to clap to a 9/8 tune on the 7th and then the 1st beat, whereas with a waltz, only the first is emphasised, with the second and third beat being both fairly quiet. 
But 3/4 isn't just waltz, it's also for example mazurka's. I've just checked the music theory books, and 3/4 and 9/8 should be the same. Of course the choice of notation does give an indication of the music, just like 6/4 'looks' slower than 6/8.
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Chris Brimley

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2010, 10:43:58 AM »

I think we're in agreement, Simon.  Mazurkas and waltzes seem to be notated in 3/4, probably because that's easiest to convey most tunes in both such dance rhythms, although the emphais is different.  But if you are writing a tune and want to split lots of beats of the 3/4 rhythm into triplets, then 9/8 would mostly be the one to use, because it's easiest to write it that way.

I think the point is perhaps that time signature alone isn't enough to convey the feel of a tune - the flow of the tune, the use of dotted notes, the syncopation, and so, also all make a lot of difference.
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Chris Ryall

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Discussions re 9/8, 3/4 etc
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 12:27:04 PM »

Mazurkas are danced over 4 bars. Within those base the music might be scorable in threes (eg Linousine) or 9/8 (eg a lot of Chabant's compositions).  To me it's all about how the music lilts against the dance. I think I said earlier - it'd be hard to mazurka the present piece - thougk I'm sure someone will achieve it!

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