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Music Theory for the Masses 2

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EmoNarc
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Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 23rd, 2006 @ 05:32 PM Reply

An Introduction

So what is this thread all about? What am I going to teach and say? My first thread "Music Theory for the Masses" was a bit technical, and was aimed at trying to get audio submitters who didn't know theory to, well... know theory.

After writing it, I realised that even people who did not know any music at all were reading it. That made me happy, but I soon realised, not like the audio submitters already submitting, they lacked the creative side to theory. So you say, "What? You are going to teach us to be creative? That makes no sense!!!" Of course I am not going to teach you how to be creative. That comes after you learn theory and know the rules well enough to break them.

What I am going to teach, are some "creative" things that you can put in your music such as: time signatures, tempos, dynamics, modulations, implied chords, inversions, paralles 5ths/8ths, suspensions/anticipation, pedal tones, and finally finishing off with extentions. To be taught these things, fully understand these concepts, and to even understand what I am writing, you should be able to first understand all the key concepts in my original thread: Music Theory for the Masses.

So let us begin with the most basic question!

What is Musical Theory?

One definition of musical theory that I especially like is written by Cpt_Nemo.

He writes, "The truth of the matter is that theory is not really actually all this technical jargon, but rather is merely an explanation of why music sounds good, what is going on in music, and why you like it. Its like learning another language. You hear it, but you don't understand it really, but after you learn music theory, its like you know how the language works and how to speak it better."

This is absolutely true, and as a composer all you really need to know is what and why something is and will sound "good". You as a composer can do literaly whatever you want to do. YOU are the artist, YOU are the creator, and YOU are the composer. Because of this, you will often will see in this thread me saying: you might, you can, you may try, and other things of that nature. Things I write in this thread are mearly suggestions you might want to try. Your music is whatever you want it to be and mean and I want you to understand that.

That being said, let me start with my, "technical jargon."

An Extention on Time Signatures

So why change time signatures in the middle of your piece? It's not like you have to or even NEED to. Most pieces of music excluding the classical genre don't! You might want to change time signatures, because it sounds different. It's really up to you as a composer to choose if you want to. Green Day loves to change time signatures (a great example is "Jesus of Suburbia"), but now to the technical jargon of changing key signatures.

Now obviously a key signature describes how many beats you have in a particular measure, but then, what would be the difference between a 2/2 time signature and a 4/4 time signature? I mean, they could hold the same number of notes, such as four quarter notes. The 2/2 time signature would technicaly be two times faster, but couldn't you just double the tempo for the 4/4 time signature? Wouldn't they be the exact same thing then?

The answer to that question is suprisingly "NO", because the secondary function of a time signature is to tell an (advanced) player playing your music, which beats are the strong beats. The strong beat are the beats in which the audience hearing your music feel the most; the beats where they would clap to. As for the example above, the 2/2 time signature would only have a strong beat on the first beat, whereas the 4/4 time signature would have a strong beat (in classical music) on the first and the third beat. Here is a nice friendly list for you telling you the strong beats for the most common time signatures:

2/2 - First beat
3/4 - First beat
4/4 (classical) - First and Third beat
4/4 (pop) - Either First and Third beat OR more commonly Second and Fourth beat
6/8 - First and sometimes fourth beat
8/8 - First and Fifth beat

Another thing about strong beats, is that you usually don't want a non-chordal tone on the strong beat. Also, when writing lyrics, you ususally want "important" words on the strong beats, but of course, YOU are the composer... do what you want!

An Extention on Tempos

So you're a composer and you say, "Shucks... I'm bored of my song at this at this speed!" One thing that you can do is to change the tempo. To represent a tempo you can put "Rhythm Symbol" = #, Tempo = # (where the # would equal one beat found in the time signature), or a text box with a word. Here is a list of the words you would find in those text boxes. They are what we called standard tempos, and their beats per minute are as follows:

Largo - 40 to 60
Larghetto - 60 to 66
Adagio - 66 to 76
Andante - 76 to 108
Moderate - 108 to 120
Allegro - 120 to 168
Presto - 168 to 200
Prestissimo - 200 -208

The tempo change can be sudden, or you can make it gradual by putting a accelerondo or ritardando where you want the gradual speeding/slowing up to begin. An accelerondo would (short form "accel.") speed the piece up, while a ritardando (short form "rit.") would slow the piece down. Putting a "molto" in front of the rit. or accel. would mean to REALLY speed/slow down the piece. You can also put an "a tempo" after a rit./accel. to make it go back to the original tempo; speed/slow up/down then go back to the original tempo.

What you want to do is all up to YOU, because you are the composer. These are just suggestions on what to do.

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST (please don't post in this thread yet)

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 23rd, 2006 @ 07:34 PM Reply

Dynamics

Dynamics determine how loud a certain section of a piece is going to be; the volume. Not all the instruments playing at a certain moment in time have to have the same dynamic. Here is a list of the different names of dynamics, their short form (what the player playing your music will see), and how loud they are.

Fortississimo - fff - The sound your mother makes when I screw her
Fortissimo - ff - Really loud
Forte - f - Loud
Mezzo Forte - mf - Medium Loud
Mezzo Piano - mp - Medium Soft
Piano - p - Soft
Pianissimo - pp - Really Soft
Pianississimo - ppp - Did you hear that?

To indicate a gradual change between dynamics, you can put a crecendo (either displayed as crec. or a long "<") which indicates to gradually get louder, or a decrecendo (either displayed as a dim. or a long ">") which indicates to gradually get softer. To indicate a sudden change in dynamic you can put right next to the dynamic, the word "subito", or you can put behind the dynamic the letters "sf".

To make only one note extremely loud, put under the note the letters "sfz" which pronounce, "sforzando".

To make a note start off loud, but then get soft put the letters "fp" which pronounce (obviously) forte-piano.

Articulations

There is not much to explain in this section besides that you put articulations on top of or below of a note and that tells the person reading your music, how to play the note. Here is a list of them, and if you want to learn what they look like, use Google:

Staccato - Play the note short
Leggato - Play the note long, but still have a very slight separation between notes
Slur - Play notes connected
Accent - Play notes with some seperation and a little louder
Staccatissimo - Stronger accent

That's about all the basic ones!

Modulations

The ear, listening to a song, can usually stand about two minutes and thirty seconds of one type of key. If you are writing pop music, this doesn't really concern you, but if you are writing classical, jazz, or someting that sometimes takes longer than two minutes and thirty seconds, listen up!

When the ear hears the same key signature for the above mentioned time, it will get bored of it. To fix that, you can change keys in the middle of a piece!!! This is called a modulation. The most common way (which you don't have to follow because you are a composer who can do whatever you want) is by using the secondary dominant of the second key.

So, let's say that you are in A major, and you wanted to modulate to E major. You think... what is the V7 of E major... it's B dom. 7! Now, there are many ways to get to B dom. 7 from A major, such as I to V to II7 or I to IV to iii to II7, but I'm a god dang sissy so I'm just going to go from A maj. to B dom. 7. Once I'm at B dom. 7 I can then safely modulate to E major by writing in an E major chord in the music and call that my I maj. chord.

Implied Chords

One thing that I find that many composers don't understand, is that you DO NOT have to have all the notes in the chord for it to be a certain chord. It might be tricky for people analyzing your music to find out what the chord is and sometimes the answer for them is imbiguous, but again, you DO NOT have to have all the notes in the chord for it to be a certain chord. In this case, they would have to look at the chord's context and try to figure it out from there. It can be tricky for analyzers at times, but who gives a crap about them; YOU are the composer.

Here is an easy example. Let's say I'm writing for a trombone trio and I want the chords: V7 to I in C major. I only have three instruments, but for the V7 chord I can leave out the fifth of the chord, leaving me with the notes: G, B, and F.

It is because of implied chords, that I can ananlyze the infamous song "Chopsticks":
V7 to I to V to vi to vii to I

A few rules about implied chords though:
1) 19 out of 20 times, you can't leave out the root of the chord
2) If you have the choise to leave out the 3rd or the 5th, you usually want to leave out the 5th
3) An extention is NOT an extention if the extention is not there (G B D is never a G7)

Inversions

Another thing that many composers don't understand is that that the bottemest most note does NOT have to be the root. When this is the case, we call these chords inversions. However, we have special classification names for these types of chords.

When there isn't a 7th to the chord and the 3rd is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral. We also call this a chord in 1st inversion.
When there isn't a 7th to the chord and the 5th is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral with a 4 under it. We call this a chord in 2nd inversion.

When there is a 7th to the chord and the 3rd is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral with a 5 under it. We call this a chord in 1st inversion.
When there is a 7th to the chord and the 5th is the bottomest note we put a 4 after the roman numeral with a 3 under it. We call this a chord in 2nd inversion.
When there is a 7th to the chord and the 7th is the bottomest note we put a 4 after the roman numeral with a 2 under it. We call this a chord in 3rd inversion.

Parallel 5ths/8ths

One thing that you might want to avoid (you don't have to because you can do whatever you want as a composer) because it has a very odd sound, is parallel 5ths and parallel 8ths.

A parallel 5th is when you have 2 notes, let us say C and G, and they move the same interval up or down. Let us say, for the sake of examples, that the notes (played by the same instruments) moved to D and A. This does not sound good (not that you can do it) and you usually do not want to do it.

This is the same concept with 8ths except for octaves!

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST (please don't post in this thread yet)

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 23rd, 2006 @ 09:30 PM Reply

Suspensions and Antisipations

A suspension is a note(s) being held out into another chord, while an antisipation is just the opposite; it is a note(s) played in a chord before the whole chord is revealed.

Here is an example of a suspension. Let's say that you are in F major, in 4/4 time, and you have two beats of a IV chord and then two beats of a I chord. However you hold the Bb in the IV chord for four beats (the Bb is entirely in the I chord). We would call the I chord a F sus. 4 (or a IV sus. 4). The sus. stands for "suspended," and in this example the Bb is being suspended into the I chord. The Bb, in the I chord, is the 4th, and so we call it a suspended 4th.

This is the same thing with an antisipation, except (keeping with the IV chord for two beats and I chord for two beats example) there might be an E on the second beat lasting 3 beats, making it an antisipated 3rd, because it is (I know this sounds dumb, but) antisipating a 3rd.

Pedal Tones

A pedal tone is retardedly simple. It is playing the root of the I chord under a chord. As an example, let's say I'm in Eb major and I want to do a V7 to I and I do it, but as a composer I say, "Holy crap, this is so frigen boring!" So, one thing I could do is to put a pedal tone in the V7. The V7 would then spell out: Bb, D, Eb, F, and Ab, and then the I chord would obviously spell out: Eb, G, and Bb.

One idea you could do with pedal tones, is that you could play a pedal tone repeditively over and over. It may actually sound good!

Extentions

Lets say I'm in C major (for the sake of simplicity) and I have a C major chord and as a composer I say, "This is such a boring chord!" One thing that I could do as add in an extention, such as an 9th, 11th, or 13th. For the example, I am going to choose a 13th. The C13 chord would then spell out: C, E, G, and A. A is the 13th or C because it is obviously the 13th note in the C major scale.

In this example and in other cases, you want to make sure that the person listening to your music doesn't here a minor 7th chord (if that's not want you intended). One way to avoid this is by putting a G dom. 7 before it or something.

That's about all there is to extentions... enjoy!!!

In Conclusion

One thing you might have noticed about reading this, is that (compared to the first Music Theory for the Masses) that these sections are much shorter. This is because the first Music Theory for the Masses was intended for those who didn't know theory to... well... learn theory, while this one is intended to inspire and give ideas to those who do know theory to get creative with their music.

After reading this you have learned everything as n00bzerz as dynamics to everything as Highschool AP Theory as modulations! I find this amazing and now, I am sure to say after reading dis shit, that you are ready to not only write a coolz opus, but an awsome coolz creativitiez opus.

As alwalys, have a musical theory question? PM or e-mail me at ianianlee@hotmail.com!

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 23rd, 2006 @ 09:32 PM Reply

Oh yeah... you may post now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winterwind-NS
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 23rd, 2006 @ 11:44 PM Reply

lawl


"The vibrations on the air are the breath of God. We are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice.. We give birth to the children of God. That's what musicians are..."

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MusicalRocky
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 24th, 2006 @ 08:38 PM Reply

At 6/23/06 09:30 PM, EmoNarc wrote: After reading this you have learned everything as n00bzerz as dynamics to everything as Highschool AP Theory as modulations! I find this amazing and now, I am sure to say after reading dis shit, that you are ready to not only write a coolz opus, but an awsome coolz creativitiez opus.

You are aware that people don't write opuses, right? An opus is a group of published work. For example, if I got a group of songs published as one, it would be my first opus.

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 25th, 2006 @ 12:53 AM Reply

At 6/24/06 08:38 PM, MusicalRocky wrote: You are aware that people don't write opuses, right? An opus is a group of published work. For example, if I got a group of songs published as one, it would be my first opus.

Not neccesarily... read the definnition by "www.operapacifica.org/pg_oracle.htm" and the definition by "www.innvista.com/culture/arts/composers/g
lossary.htm".

Also... does that REALLY matter anyways??? It's such a small detail!

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 25th, 2006 @ 03:08 PM Reply

At 6/25/06 12:13 PM, Simon_F wrote: That's not necessarily true. It goes much deeper than that. Time signatures are guidelines to emphasis, but take for example Chopin's mazurkas, many in 3/4 but which often have emphasis on the second or third beat instead. Emphasis is a choice.

I'm just saying... most of the time it is that way. and did not I heavily emphasis expecially in this Music Theory for the Masses in this music theory for the masses that YOU are the artist and that YOU can choos to do whatever YOU want to do as a composer? 'cause I thought I made clear :\

OMFG! You don't know how to do your time signatures... WTF!

Read the "Rhythm" section in my first Music theory for the Masses 1... plus it is such a small detail...

I'd like to quickly point out that the grand exception to this is suspensions.

Did I not make it clear that YOU are the artist and that YOU can choo... you know what? screw it! I'm tired of repeating this over and over!!! Why are you giving me such a hard time on really small detials that don't matter!!!

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 25th, 2006 @ 03:14 PM Reply

You know what you should do? You should create a website about this. Make sure it is ALL correct though before you go do this. It seems people on the AP are finding things to argue about just for the sake of argument now (although, most of what they are saying is true).


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Metaljonus
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jun. 25th, 2006 @ 05:05 PM Reply

Very sweet threads man, thanks for this.

EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Dec. 31st, 2006 @ 02:50 PM Reply

Just thought I'd might bump my two threads seeing as though it helped some people... it's been a while...

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Dec. 31st, 2006 @ 03:12 PM Reply

What about the structure of the song (Verse, Chorus). What about something on a fugue. Ormaking melodies. Although most of this is not technically musical theory, I would like to see it added at somepoint.

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 1st, 2007 @ 12:42 PM Reply

If I may be allowed, some other notes :)

First off, EmoNarc, responses in this threads have not been attacks on your credibility, but rather efforts to increase the effectivity of an already excellent thread, so don't be offended by additions or slight corrections.

That said,

8/8 - First and Fifth beat

Actually this would make it the same as a 4/4. 8/8 is more commonly used to indicate latin rhythms - usually two groups of 3 and a group of 2 eighths. So it will often be First, Fourth, Seventh or First, Fourth, Sixth. First, Third, Sixth is less common.

Leggato - Play the note long, but still have a very slight separation between notes

Slur - Play notes connected

*Legato
I don't think there really is a difference between those two, other than that Legato is the musical term and Slur is what you call the curved line that indicates a Legato.

So, let's say that you are in A major, and you wanted to modulate to E major. You think... what is the V7 of E major... it's B dom. 7! Now, there are many ways to get to B dom. 7 from A major, such as I to V to II7 or I to IV to iii to II7, but I'm a god dang sissy so I'm just going to go from A maj. to B dom. 7. Once I'm at B dom. 7 I can then safely modulate to E major by writing in an E major chord in the music and call that my I maj. chord.

Nothing to correct here, but a nice addition, incorporating the "Implied chords" part that followed.
In the particular case of modulating from A major to E major, the easiest way is to play the A major chord with a B in the bass. This essentially works as a B11 (B - D# - F# - A - C# - E) omitting 3rd and 5th. In this case, the 3rd can be easily omitted because you have the 2nd and 4th (9th and 11th) working as a double suspension. In fact it's more usual to leave the 5th (F#) resulting in what is usually written as F#m7/B in jazz notation, or adding the 13 (G#) resulting in Amaj7/B. This is essentially what 'fusion' as a style of jazz/pop is famous for (Steely Dan, Rufus Wainwright). French Impressionists like Debussy, Satie and Ravel have made a lot of use out of it as well.

A note on inversions:
when the melody uses the 3rd of a chord, it is mostly not a good idea to have the chord in the first inversion (3rd in the bass). It usually ends up sounding hollow and choppy that way, especially on the piano and guitar, due to the configuration of overtones you end up with.

A note on the paralled 5ths and 8ths:
That is very true, but mainly for vocal arrangements. In orchestral arrangements, melodies will often be octaved (a plethora of paralled 8ths) for a fuller sound.
Since the introduction of rock and roll, parallel 5ths and 8ths are very common, and punk for example wouldn't exist without it (powerchords are parallel 5ths).
Piano arrangements also often octave the melody, and the Impressionists mentioned earlier have used parallel 5ths a lot as well (Ravel's "Le gibet", the second part of Gaspard de la nuit, is fine example).

Another thing about strong beats, is that you usually don't want a non-chordal tone on the strong beat.
I'd like to quickly point out that the grand exception to this is suspensions.

A one-time opportunity to correct Simon-F!! Haha. Suspensions actually are the grand affirmation here. A suspension in the melody, on the strong beat, on an unsuspended chord is not a suspension anymore, but an additive (an F or a D on a C major results in a Cadd4/Cadd2). If you want the suspension in the melody, you'll have to either syncopate the suspension note or use the suspended chord in the accompaniment.

That leads me to the part on extentions:

For the example, I am going to choose a 13th. The C13 chord would then spell out: C, E, G, and A. A is the 13th or C because it is obviously the 13th note in the C major scale.

What you're talking about here is also an addition. Extentions will always be piling up triads. Thus a C13 chord is C E G Bb D F A! You may omit stuff again, but not the 7th. So the way to play that standalone with the least amount of notes is C E A Bb. C E A B is called Cmaj13 (or Cmaj7add6/13). Your chord, C E G A, is most commonly called a C6, and also most commonly handled as the 1st inversion of the Am7.

In this example and in other cases, you want to make sure that the person listening to your music doesn't here a minor 7th chord (if that's not want you intended). One way to avoid this is by putting a G dom. 7 before it or something.

That is solved too, then :)

All the other parts of your lessons are pretty much spot on, and I tip my hat to you for taking the time and effort to write it all out.

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 1st, 2007 @ 01:21 PM Reply

I'm not denying the existence of an 8/8 time signature, but what would honestly be the point? If you had to go to that type of rhythm, why not just compose in 4/4 and tack in more eighth notes?

I hope you realize that beginning threads like this can unfortunately backfire on you when someone here may come along who understands music and theory deeper than you.


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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 2nd, 2007 @ 03:41 PM Reply

holy hell i love you!!!!!

this is ganna help so so so sos oso ssososososo sos o much!!!!!!

ive been waiting for a thread like this!!!

you rulez!!!!

LoneInstrumentalist
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 3rd, 2007 @ 07:32 PM Reply

At 1/1/07 01:21 PM, Setu-Firestorm wrote: I'm not denying the existence of an 8/8 time signature, but what would honestly be the point? If you had to go to that type of rhythm, why not just compose in 4/4 and tack in more eighth notes?

then wats the different between 2/2 and 4/4 hmmm
in 8/8 phrasing would be easier for the instrumentalist, and can add more details to the work
i dont kno theory~ but playing all those frikin sonatas n other stuff fks around my senses @_@

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 3rd, 2007 @ 08:25 PM Reply

8/8, as I sorta said already (:D), is used when the eighths are grouped differently than 2+2+2+2. A 2/2 groups them 4+4, but any irregular grouping goes under 8/8. This grouping translates to how many note stems are tied together at once.

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 3rd, 2007 @ 09:44 PM Reply

Wow!!! Thanks Wintang... I dind't know a lot of stuff you had told me... thx...

and the thing about the 2/2 being the same as 4/4 being the same as 8/8 is explained in my first thread, Music Theory for the Masses...

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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 3rd, 2007 @ 10:23 PM Reply

At 1/3/07 07:32 PM, LoneInstrumentalist wrote: then wats the different between 2/2 and 4/4 hmmm
in 8/8 phrasing would be easier for the instrumentalist, and can add more details to the work
i dont kno theory~ but playing all those frikin sonatas n other stuff fks around my senses @_@

Gee, that's funny. I don't recall ever hearing of such a thing as a 2/2 time signature. If you even used such a thing (two beats per measure and the half note taking one beat), my point would still stand that there'd be no point to using it when there are other more compatible time signatures that are more commonly used.


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Setu-Firestorm
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 12:09 AM Reply

At 1/3/07 11:24 PM, Simon-F wrote: 2/2, also known as cut time (indicated also by a C with a line down the middle) is used very frequently. It's an indication, more than anything else, that the piece should be conducted or performed in a slower two beat manner with emphasis on the first beat. 1! 2, 1! 2, 1! 2...etc. Conducting in four (as though it were 4/4) changes the feeling entirely.

Buddy, "cut time" refers to the 2/4 time signature. As far as to my understanding, 2/2 doesn't officially exist.


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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 12:39 AM Reply

wtf!!!!

isn't cut time 2/4 liek the other guy said???

2/2 woulb be 2/2 on the music sheet if it was 2/2 cut time means 2/4 my music teacher had a big ole lecture about that when i thought it was 2/2 also.....

Father-of-Death
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 12:49 AM Reply

fuck it you are right!!!!

it wwas the other way around i played a piece in 2/4 and he went Shit wild on my ass and gave me a big lectrue about how to cut things in half like tacos and sandwiches and said that cut time means the same excact fuckin thing.........lol he's a dick hole.....

Setu-Firestorm
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 12:52 AM Reply

At 1/4/07 12:45 AM, Simon-F wrote:
At 1/4/07 12:39 AM, Father-of-Death wrote: wtf!!!!

isn't cut time 2/4 liek the other guy said???

2/2 woulb be 2/2 on the music sheet if it was 2/2 cut time means 2/4 my music teacher had a big ole lecture about that when i thought it was 2/2 also.....
Then go correct your teacher. Look it up yourself, any reliable source states cut time (alla breve) as 2/2.

I'll be damned. It really does exist. But still, what'd be the freaking point of using it? I've been in music for 20 years and never saw anyone use outside of 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8, and 9/12. There's just not much of a point.

Time signatures are usually placed according to musical "phrases", where a phrase will finish in 8 measures, cut distinctly in half at 4 measures. The way I look at it, if you can spread a half-phrase to the end of the phrase, then you've found its signature.

You'd just have to have a pretty fucking slow melody or phrase to go with a 2/2 signature.


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WinTang
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 09:35 AM Reply

At 1/4/07 12:52 AM, Setu-Firestorm wrote: I'll be damned. It really does exist. But still, what'd be the freaking point of using it? I've been in music for 20 years and never saw anyone use outside of 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8, and 9/12. There's just not much of a point.

A 9/12 does not exist :)
Time signatures always go with notes you can write undotted. Whole, half, quarter, etc.
Let's say time signatures are written x/n, in which n will always be a power of 2.

Of course the fact that you didn't stumble on something for 20 years doesn't make it pointless. Simon-F and me have given examples already where 2/2 and 8/8 are clearly different to a 4/4. It's all about emphasis.

Time signatures are usually placed according to musical "phrases", where a phrase will finish in 8 measures, cut distinctly in half at 4 measures. The way I look at it, if you can spread a half-phrase to the end of the phrase, then you've found its signature.

You'd just have to have a pretty fucking slow melody or phrase to go with a 2/2 signature.

It doesn't have anything to do with tempo, really, just where the emphasis comes.
If you want to see a whole bunch of weird time signatures in modern music, get a Cherry Lane book for Soundgarden or Dream Theater from your library. A whole new world, I tells ya.

Setu-Firestorm
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 4th, 2007 @ 09:53 AM Reply

At 1/4/07 09:35 AM, WinTang wrote:
A 9/12 does not exist :)
Time signatures always go with notes you can write undotted. Whole, half, quarter, etc.
Let's say time signatures are written x/n, in which n will always be a power of 2.

Sorry, that was a typo. I meant 12/8. I was pretty out of it last night.


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http://www.georgerpowell.com

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EmoNarc
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 6th, 2007 @ 03:01 PM Reply

At 1/4/07 09:53 AM, Setu-Firestorm wrote:
At 1/4/07 09:35 AM, WinTang wrote:
A 9/12 does not exist :)
Time signatures always go with notes you can write undotted. Whole, half, quarter, etc.
Let's say time signatures are written x/n, in which n will always be a power of 2.
Sorry, that was a typo. I meant 12/8. I was pretty out of it last night.

Um... 9/12 DOES exist... i've seen it in a wierd bethoven piece before, and yes... time signatures do go in notes that are dotted... although you would probably only see those wierd time signatures in really screwed up classical pieces I have to admit...

WinTang
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 6th, 2007 @ 03:45 PM Reply

Hm.

Indeed, according to this, there have been pieces written in signatures like that. From what I gather, this is only used when several rhythms are playing simultaneously or shortly after each other and the composer wants to hold on to one overall value for the actual note length.

It still seems a lot more performer-friendly to adjust the tempi in these cases, or (as is done in many modern classical musical) use dotted lines to connect notes in various staff that need to be heard simultaneously.

But anyway, I concede. Though I still doubt that this happened as early as Beethoven. If you come across that particular piece again, please let me know.

Chris-V2
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Response to Music Theory for the Masses 2 Jan. 7th, 2007 @ 05:02 PM Reply

Technicly you can have any tempo you wish, since you are a composing I doubt bach is about to storm into your room,scribble out 7/8 and shove has hand up your arse for have ever thought of doing it...or because he likes your eyes.

With teachers its the same thing. Some will find your use of symmetrical scales intresting. While another will beat you across the face with a cold, wet, fish.