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Anyone Else Enjoy Counting Time Signatures/Meter?

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Frenetic Zetetic View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 28 2017 at 13:00
As an obvious Gentle Giant fan, I really enjoy "counting out" the notes and beats. Some of their stuff is so mind-boggling in terms of meter shift from one section to another, fans of harder rock and metal can totally see where this "idea" was borrowed from to a certain extent. Bands like Gorguts have plenty of crazy meter shifts on "Erosion of Sanity" and especially "Obscura". Pestilence's 1993 progressive recording "Spheres" has similar style riffing structures holding the songs together.

Anyone else enjoy counting? What are your favorite songs from certain bands, and what are some examples and meter counts that "get you off"? Cogs in Cogs and the "groove rock" riff to the second half of the magnum opus that is "In a Glass House" immediately come to mind for me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 13:16
Only when I dance actually. Things have to match the beat. Funny thing happens when you get to know ultra tricky stuff like National Health or indeed Gentle Giant like the back of your hand and are able to incorporate breaks and swoosh-like arm scissor behaviour into your pelvis movements in a most pleasing manner. Such is the way to woo inanimate people to dance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortte Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 13:35
I sometimes try to play difficult rhythms with my hands, but not counting beats.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ClosetothSupperBrick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 16:03
I love it when time signature becomes more complex within a jam-out. That's the only time where I will count time signature, because I like keeping track of what the time signature is, from the beginning of the jam, through all the changes it takes, and then when it finally slows down and stops at the end. For example, initially in the jam there's just a riff by itself, then a slow drum beat comes in, then this beat gradually gets faster and adds more parts of the whole kit, and then by the end the time sig is crazy complex, yet still has that basic original beat as a component of the complex time sig. Time signature going from simple to complex is the epitome of prog rock, and thus, counting it out indeed makes you appreciate the song more because you realize the amazing musicianship and complicated songwriting of that beat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hieronymous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 16:20
I love odd time signatures - probably ever since listening to Rush and Yes when I was in high school learning bass guitar in the '80s. 

This is one of my current odd-time favorites, "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" by Focus from Focus 3:


I love playing along with it - I actually learned it without counting, the opening riff I would say is in 9/8, then goes into 4/4, switching back and forth between the two sections, then it goes off into something else! This is such a fantastic album, improvisational rock at its finest if you ask me. 

I was very fortunate to see John McLaughlin & Jimmy Herring on the Meeting of the Spirits tour a few weeks ago - during one of the insane guitar & drum sections, Gary Husband (on keys but also an astounding drummer) clapped along for the entire solo - it was really cool, I videotaped it so that I could remember it later! It's in 7, so he's clapping on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th & 6th beats. If I don't clap along I get lost and just enjoy the sensation of the music, but I think that clapping (as opposed to counting?) definitely is an enjoyable component of listening. 


Edited by hieronymous - December 28 2017 at 16:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 16:52
I don't do it much these days but did it more when I was younger. I love how the opening section of this one adds up to "straight" 16/16 in the most unexpected way.




Edited by Lewian - December 28 2017 at 16:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 17:37
^Great GONG example by the above poster.

AWESOME replies in here. I guess I really count the notes of each riff, and if they are "picked" in quarters, eighths, or sixteenths (mostly metal). Gentle Giant has some crazy 10/4, 11/4, and even 14/4 riffs I believe!

Originally posted by Guldbamsen Guldbamsen wrote:

Only when I dance actually. Things have to match the beat. Funny thing happens when you get to know ultra tricky stuff like National Health or indeed Gentle Giant like the back of your hand and are able to incorporate breaks and swoosh-like arm scissor behaviour into your pelvis movements in a most pleasing manner. Such is the way to woo inanimate people to dance.

I'm laughing because I know EXACTLY what you're talking about here! Clap

Originally posted by hieronymous hieronymous wrote:

I love odd time signatures - probably ever since listening to Rush and Yes when I was in high school learning bass guitar in the '80s. 

This is one of my current odd-time favorites, "Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!" by Focus from Focus 3:


I love playing along with it - I actually learned it without counting, the opening riff I would say is in 9/8, then goes into 4/4, switching back and forth between the two sections, then it goes off into something else! This is such a fantastic album, improvisational rock at its finest if you ask me. 

I was very fortunate to see John McLaughlin & Jimmy Herring on the Meeting of the Spirits tour a few weeks ago - during one of the insane guitar & drum sections, Gary Husband (on keys but also an astounding drummer) clapped along for the entire solo - it was really cool, I videotaped it so that I could remember it later! It's in 7, so he's clapping on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th & 6th beats. If I don't clap along I get lost and just enjoy the sensation of the music, but I think that clapping (as opposed to counting?) definitely is an enjoyable component of listening. 

Excellent! I myself am a bass player, so perhaps we're a bit biased with our counting :P Great link and post, brother!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 28 2017 at 23:07
Love odd time sigs. I usually count odd rhythms when I hear them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldFriede Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 01:35
I don't count them. That may sound strange coming from a drummer, but counting is not the way you play really complicated stuff. You just go with the flow. An example:



Shortly after the 5 minute mark it gets REALLY complicated. I stop counting there; I just play it. I know where the beats are without counting. If I tried counting I would just go mad.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote someone_else Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 01:53
Originally posted by Tom Ozric Tom Ozric wrote:

Love odd time sigs. I usually count odd rhythms when I hear them.

So do I, but sometimes I lose count.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 02:17
^Great link.

Originally posted by BaldFriede BaldFriede wrote:

I don't count them. That may sound strange coming from a drummer, but counting is not the way you play really complicated stuff. You just go with the flow. An example:



Shortly after the 5 minute mark it gets REALLY complicated. I stop counting there; I just play it. I know where the beats are without counting. If I tried counting I would just go mad.



This is an awesome example. As I've said above, I "count" in the respect that I use the cycles so I stay tight. It is mostly feel. I take that for granted. However, when playing some of GG's stuff, it IS useful to remember "Ok, he cuts this 10/4 RIGHT on the 10, and it feels like 11 but that's the start of the first note..." type stuff. It happens so fast it doesn't disturb my playing Tongue

I find if I can understand the time sig, after enough practice the "thought" part disappears into peripheral/subconscious thinking, and the groove takes over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miamiscot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 08:18
Prog is perfect for someone with OCD (like me) as I obsessively count every measure. Often out loud. And it adds to my enjoyment for some reason - especially the odd time signatures!!!

Example: the first three songs on the new Kaipa album all revert to 11/8 at some point and that makes me happy. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldFriede Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 12:03
A good album for anyone who likes odd meters is Khan's only album "Space Shanty". Besides the "usual" meters (4/4, 3/4, 6/8) you find 5/4, 7/8, 9/8, 11/8 and even 13/8 on it.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 12:17
^Both great replies and recommendations! I too have OCD and that might add to my enjoyment Cool.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CosmicVibration Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 15:18
7 on the right and 5 on the left Wacko


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 18:59
^SO good.

The 11/4 interlude in "Cogs in Cogs" is stuck in my head.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rminsk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 23:13
The Black Page #1 is in 4/4 time

Follow the score





Edited by rminsk - December 29 2017 at 23:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rminsk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 29 2017 at 23:33
Rachel Flowers "Goes to Eleven" is partially named after the time signature of 11/8. 




Edited by rminsk - December 29 2017 at 23:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 30 2017 at 01:41
There’s an awful lot you can do with 4/4 time, but odd sigs are much more fascinating to my ears.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 30 2017 at 02:30
There's absolutely nothing wrong with 4/4. Cool stuff just happens when you break that pattern!
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