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Topic ClosedMost Complex Time Signature ever!?

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A B Negative View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 03 2007 at 07:10
Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

Originally posted by A B Negative A B Negative wrote:

Take an easy time sig and either add or subtract a beat every now and again, whenever it feels right! Wink
 
Like 4+3+4+5? that just equals 16/4 or 4 measures in 4/4 Wink
One cool thing is to use another signature that equals the same number of 8th or 16th notes as in a number of measures of 4/4.
 
X = one 8th or 16th note
 
Example:
4/4                             4/4
X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---
7/8                          9/8
X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---
 
7/8+9/8 = 16/8 = 2 Measures of 8/8 (4/4)
 
or
 
4/4                                4/4                            4/4
X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---
3/4                       3/4                        3/4                       3/4
X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---X---
 
3/4+3/4+3/4+3/4 = 12/4 = 3 Measures of 4/4
 
Big smile
 
 
It's not the same coz the emPHAsis is in differENT places!
 
LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 14 2007 at 02:29
^ What?
 
5 fast bars of 5/8 creates 25/8. Anyone used that time signature?
Can you make a decent song in 2/16?
6 bars of 5/8 plus a bar of 2/8 on top of two bars of 4/4.
 
Hmm.... enough of my crazy ideas
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 15 2007 at 15:10
Your ideas are not crazy , they are simply incorrect. A-B Neg is right. Emphasis is the ruling factor in determining meter. You need to look this stuff up (try the New Harvard Dictionary of Music or talk to anyone wsith a degree in music theory) and try to gain some TRUE understanding of it. Rhythm and meter are not mere number games.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2008 at 23:25
Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

Just Found Out that "Rational Gaze" by Meshuggah is in 4/4! Shocked


Well if you'd just listen to the drums, it wouldn't be near as suprising. Try memorizing that pattern in tempo.... I've only been able to pull it off a handful of times without the song playing.

Originally posted by Cygnus X-2 Cygnus X-2 wrote:

Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

Some More:
Bill Bruford - Hells Bells 9/8
Big%20smile

I've read and heard (as well as counted it) as 19/16.Wink


Ten bucks says that Bill Bruford just sees it as 4/4 with an added 3/16, and Dave Stewart sees it as 7+7+5/16.
------------------------------------
And any signature you see where the bottom number is not '2-to-the-power-of-something' virtually does not exist in music. I think that includes 2^0, which is 1.... hmm does single meter exist?
-----------------------------------
I think polyrhythms are a different story though. Like 9:4, 7:4 ... I learned how to drum a 5:4 and 7:4 pattern (with my hands, I'm not a drummer, yetLOL) by learning how 5/16 and 7/16 interacts with 4/4 when the 16th note of each has the same set tempo.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 07 2008 at 00:25
Originally posted by explodingjosh explodingjosh wrote:

Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

Just Found Out that "Rational Gaze" by Meshuggah is in 4/4! Shocked


Well if you'd just listen to the drums, it wouldn't be near as suprising. Try memorizing that pattern in tempo.... I've only been able to pull it off a handful of times without the song playing.

Originally posted by Cygnus X-2 Cygnus X-2 wrote:

Originally posted by Abstrakt Abstrakt wrote:

Some More:
Bill Bruford - Hells Bells 9/8
Big%20smile

I've read and heard (as well as counted it) as 19/16.Wink


Ten bucks says that Bill Bruford just sees it as 4/4 with an added 3/16, and Dave Stewart sees it as 7+7+5/16.
------------------------------------
And any signature you see where the bottom number is not '2-to-the-power-of-something' virtually does not exist in music. I think that includes 2^0, which is 1.... hmm does single meter exist?
-----------------------------------
I think polyrhythms are a different story though. Like 9:4, 7:4 ... I learned how to drum a 5:4 and 7:4 pattern (with my hands, I'm not a drummer, yetLOL) by learning how 5/16 and 7/16 interacts with 4/4 when the 16th note of each has the same set tempo.

 
In theory yes. I don't know a song that uses it though. I'd love to find one!Big%20smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 07 2008 at 11:09
The middle section of The Mars Volta's "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" is in 29/16. I doubt that's very toppable. Speaking of which, what is the time signature for the riff after the drum solo in One Word - Mahavishnu Orchestra? I just cannot figure that bitch out man, it's doing my nut in...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 07 2008 at 15:10
I don't think there is a "most complex" time signature... many being listed are odd beats of 16th notes, and it can be argued that a lengthier signature is more complex, I guess.  However, I think it's really the relationship between the signatures that adds complexity - polyrhythmic meters between band members, time shifts.  (One of the most easily discernible polymeters I can think of is in the bridge of Lateralus, with the high hat vs. the bass, and eventually the guitar and vocals.)  Tool's Schism also goes through many time changes.

Two other notes:

1. Fripp's 6-note repeating theme in Frame by Frame is in 3/8, weaving in and out of the rest of the band going in 4/4.  I believe this is the "81/8" mentioned earlier.

2. The distorted guitar section of Frakctured is running in 15/16.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 07 2008 at 20:29

There was Don Ellis back in the early-70's, who had a big band which specialized in weird/complex time signatures, 27/16, etc.  Check out his Wikipedia entry.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 09:33
Point of view point by cornelius

AMAZING
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 15:48
"One might just ask well as what the most complicated mathematical equation is. The equation might take up many pages and the answer could turn out to be 1. The time signature thing is exactly the same. The gibberish time signatures you all are putting up DO NOT EXIST musically, they only exist mathematically.

The measures in question all break down into sub groupings of 2, 3, or 4 pulses. No player will ever count to 27 (or even 17 or 11) as he reads his part. He will look at the music and break it down into sub-groupings, take out his pencil and mark the score accordingly."

It's not because musicians don't count them as they are written that they doesn't "exist".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 16:07
Originally posted by Trademark Trademark wrote:

"In order, each entry written once: 4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 13/16, 15/16, 17/16, 14/16, 5/4, 6/8, 2/4, 5/8, 11/4, 9/4, 7/16, 6/16, 5/16, 10/16, 9/8, 15/8, 12/16, 16/16 (3+3+3+3+2+2), 3/8."

Not really incredible, just incorrect. According the The Harvard Dictionary of Music a time signature is: "The pattern in which a steady succession of rhythmic pulses is organized", and it is "characterized by the regular recurrence of such patterns.

The DT example given has no recurring beat groupings. The only possible way to justify these types of time sigs is with recurring beat grouping patterns. The Apocalypse in 9/8 is a good example, being a recurring grouping of 3+2+4/8, although, 9/8 is still technically incorrect. A true 9/8 is a triple meter with the beats grouped in threes (again, according to the Harvard). The correct name should have been The Apocalypse in 3+2+4/8, though it doesn't sound as "snappy".

In a piece like the DT example THERE IS NO METER; there is only a pulse, so there can be no time signature. In this case probably an 8th note pulse.

One of Paul Hindemith's String quartets from the 1940s is written in this same manner, but without the ever changing time signatures (he knew better). hindemith simply designates that the 8th note should be counted at 60 Beats per minute. The music has bar lines (though some composers don't even use them), but no time signature.   That is the way the DT piece should be written if its written out at all. There can be no true meter or time signature where there is no repetition.

If you all are determined to ignore the truth in this matter of time signatures please let me know and I'll leave off pointing this stuff out and just let you go to town with your foolishness. I thought you might want to know how it really is in actual musucal terms, but I might be mistaken.
    


Please, stop talking like you know something when you obviously don't.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 16:27
I put this post up well over a year ago and then let it go.  If you all want to play around in your little fantasy world that is certainly fine with me, but absolutely everything I said in that post is 100% correct.  12 years of formal music education 3 advanced degrees (2 Masters and 1 PhD), and 15 years practical experience playing and teaching music theory gives me some indication that I just "might" know what I am talking about.

If you want to get into I can and I will back up everything I've said; if not you're the one who needs to let it drop. Don't call me out if you don't want the answers.  If you want to live in a magical world where incorrect information is "right" because some kids say so, as I said, I'm OK with that.  if you want to know the truth, you'll have to be willing to learn.  Which is it going to be? 



Edited by Trademark - May 13 2008 at 16:29
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 17:50
Originally posted by Trademark Trademark wrote:

I put this post up well over a year ago and then let it go.  If you all want to play around in your little fantasy world that is certainly fine with me, but absolutely everything I said in that post is 100% correct.  12 years of formal music education 3 advanced degrees (2 Masters and 1 PhD), and 15 years practical experience playing and teaching music theory gives me some indication that I just "might" know what I am talking about.


I'm not saying that everything you wrote is wrong, but I don't see how anyone with "2 masters and 1 PhD" would write things like some stuff you wrote. With that experience, you should know that truth in music theory is certainly not something definitive, especially when it comes to NOTATION. Anyone who have true understanding of these problems should know that it doesn't concern what "exist" and what "doesn't exist", but how you write a musical phenomenon. and I have seen none of this in your writing.
I would add that a quick glance at the Grove dictionary shows that the definition for "time signature" can totally change from one author to the next (the Grove definition has little to do with the Harvard dictionnary definition you gave).

And please, don't try to lecture me... that is simply ridiculous, because I happen to have pretty much the same number of degrees, and you've got no kind of superiority from this stuff (or any kind of superiority for that matter).

But I do have a question. I do agree that there is no NEED to write the "time signature" in some of these cases and that some prog musicians are looking to hard into time signatures. But what about Stravinsky's Glorification de l'élue from you-know-what? If I wrote the beginning like this DT song, it would go : 5/8 5/8 9/8 5/8 7/8 3/8 2/4 7/4 3/4 7/4 3/8 2/4 7/4 6/8 5/8 9/8 5/8 5/8 7/8 5/8 3/8 3/4 3/8 4/4 3/8 3/4 3/4 5/4 etc.
I guess Stravinsky was a stupid composer who was playing in a a little fantasy world, huh ?

Edited by Madklikor - May 13 2008 at 19:32
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 19:13
All very interesting stuff certainly BUT has anyone yet run this past that timid and self-effacing creature lurking in the shadows called: PHRASE LENGTH ? (The Bambi of music theory)
This is what determines ANY time signature, it's where the musical statement(s) can be deemed to have reached a natural pause for breath. Similar to punctuation for written sentences.
After all, taking the reductio ad absurdum route here, we could theoretically transcribe 'Three Blind Mice' into say 15/16 with disingenuous recourse to rests to 'balance the books'
The problem with so many of the 'math rock/prog metal' bands around is that they just seem to either add or subtract beats to bog standard rock riffage and call it complexity. If a musical phrase is conceived that expires naturally after an unconventional number of beats, then fine and dandy, but all I can hear is the furious planing of round pegs into square holes.


Edited by ExittheLemming - May 13 2008 at 19:37
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2008 at 23:31
Its funny because when I see this "Please, stop talking like you know something when you obviously don't."

It really doesn't follow that the next statement would be this: "I'm not saying that everything you wrote is wrong" followed later by "
I do agree that there is no NEED to write the "time signature" in some of these cases"

Which is it?  It was crystal clear to me from your first comment that you did consider it to be wrong, and nothing I stated was wrong in any way.  What changed your mind? 

Meters like 27/16 and so forth, are false and artificial (is that better than do not exist?) because they cannot be perceived aurally in music.  The human brain breaks pulses or beats down into groupings of 2, 3, or 4, and meter (which is really what we are talking about) is established only by repetition of discernable patterns.  In short, without the aid of the paper sheet music the brain will not remember the patterns that add up to 27 and will not "count" to 27 over and over again to establish the pattern and rise to the level of being meter according to the accepted definition. 


Speaking of definitions, the Grove definition reads:
"Meter is the grouping of beats in a regularly recurring pattern (the bar or measure) defined by accentuation.  At a higher level than the beat and in more complex ways, meter (whether explicitly marked or only sensed) provides the temporal framework of the music within which rhythm is established and perceived."

The Harvard Dictionary of Music meter is:
"The pattern in which a steady succession of rhythmic pulses is organized", and it is "characterized by the regular recurrence of such patterns."

These definitions are exactly the same.  The Grove gives more detail, but says the exact same thing.  Where is the difference you mention?  Neither the DT example nor the Stravinsky meet the accepted definition for meter as there is no repetition.  Both are highly rhythmic, but non-metric and so the use of meter signatures is superfluous and confusing to players attempting to read from printed music.  There is only a steady pulse and random groupings of 2, 3, and 4 beat patterns which do not repeat.

Orchestras often have no more than 4-6 hours rehearsal time for incredibly complex and difficult pieces of music.  if the composer handicaps them by writing foolishness like 19/16 or whatever, he's shooting himself in the foot because he'll get a poor performance AND no more work from that particular conductor.   Music performed from memory gives a little more latitude, but not much.  Make the player's job harder (for no other reason than to stroke your own ego) and you won't have your music performed. 


I assume that this is the example given that you're comparing to Stravinsky:
"In order, each entry written once: 4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 13/16, 15/16, 17/16, 14/16, 5/4, 6/8, 2/4, 5/8, 11/4, 9/4, 7/16, 6/16, 5/16, 10/16, 9/8, 15/8, 12/16, 16/16 (3+3+3+3+2+2), 3/8."

The Stravinsky comparison doesn't hold up too well for a couple of reasons.  I'll try to explain without lecturing. Tongue  The first is "theoretical".  In the Stravinsky example there are no beat groupings with more than 9 beats.  For some reason which I'd have to do some research to find more information about, the abiilty to process more beats than this drops off sharply as the top number in the meter sig. rises.  9 is OK, 11 and 13 get rough, and anything above that would be considered a no-no.  I wrote a piece about 15 years ago with a longish section in 13/8.  Every time this piece has been performed  (half dozen or so) the conductors asked me to "re-bar" the 13/8 section into alternating measures of 7/8 and 6/8 because the players couldn't stay on track through the section.  It made perfect sense to me on paper, but it was a performance problem every time.  When I finally gave in and made the changes the performances improved dramatically; everyone stayed together.  Players won't count and conductors can't conduct (especially if the players won't count) with meter sigs like that.  They get out their pencils and re-do the score which makes them annoyed with the composer for needlessly wasting their rehearsal time.  The publisher I have for my music now would laugh me out of the building if I put something written in 17/16 on his desk.  As a composer you (I) might as well accept reality. 

So getting back to Igor, he was well within the tested and accepted limits (the limits are not arbitrary, there's actual research to back up common practice) of notation with that segment of Le Sacre.


The DT example, on the other hand, has 9 (out of 22) "measures" in sigs with top numerals over 9, and this is the real problem with it.  To be readable (notice I did not say playable) those would need to be broken down further and really it would be best to simply leave them out as is common practice in the art-music world. (exceptions exist for everything and you may be able to find a better example.  Try the Bartok Sonata for 2 pianos & Percussion or Music for strings, Percussion & Celsta.  I have the scores at the moment and it might be fun.)

Here's the other thing which you may or may not know about Le Sacre.  In his handwritten sketches for the piece there were no bar lines.  Stravinsky originally conceived this section without meter signatures.  Why then, did he put them in the score for you to quote?  He did so at the specific request of Vaslav Nijinsky, the choreographer for the Ballet Russe for whom the piece was originally composed.  Nijinsky needed the numbers in order to plan out his choreography.  The dancers have to count steps since they cannot have the music in front of them when they perform and the choreography for Le Sacre was unbelievably difficult (at least for its time).  Through the rehearsals and even during the disastrous 1st performance in Paris in 1913 he would stand in the wings off stage and shout out the numbers to the dancers to help THEM keep their place.  The orchestra would have been just fine without them and Stravinsky knew it.

The main reasons for the use of these artificial meters was summed up very well by another poster early on in the thread, "Maybe it's also ego, you know, the more complex you write a time signature the more impressive you seem to others."   That IS the reason.  The complete and total truth of that statement is born out by the very existence of the thread.  If the schoolboys weren't impressed by the big numbers...  Well boys, "Here's your sign".


Edited by Trademark - May 14 2008 at 12:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2008 at 13:54
My long answer has been erased with the attack, I'm not writing everything again. A few points :

- The questions here : "how do I write these musical phenomenons?" and "what is useful to write?", not "what does exist?". And there are no rules, it depends of the cases. With complex rhythm structures, sometimes time signatures are useless, sometimes they're a way to emphasize structure, sometimes they can be point of reference... which leads to :

- Rock music isn't classical music. Rock is about repeated riffs, drum patterns, cycles... You can write stuff in rock music that you wouldn't write in classical music, or write in a different way. If the main riff in a song is repeated 32x and is in 3+4+4+3+4/8, I don't see any problems to write it that way, or 19/8, or 9/4, instead of 3/8+4/8+4/8+3/8+4/8, or whatever. Time signature could only indicate duration here.

- That DT song has no 11/4, 17/16 and stuff (the only "unusual" time signature is 15/8), so the Stravinsky comparaison does hold up (they share some rhythmic means). Fanciful time signatures come from bad transcriptions. Instead of lecturing people, you could have simply corrected the transcriptions (I don't think 9/16+12/16+8/16 (Mars volta's Cygnus) would seem less "complex" than 27/16 to anyone).

- "Time signature" does not equal "meter".

- What Bartok example do you think of?

- If you're just trying to say that 27/16 is a stupid way to note a musical phenomenon, there is no need to tell everyone they live in some "magical world", because most of time signatures in this thread are simple and coherent. I think the answer you gave me here isn't quite the same you gave to other people before, it sounds to me like you just wanted to show off and lecture people.


Edited by Madklikor - May 14 2008 at 14:27
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2008 at 14:04
Hey, someone brought back this little monster!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2008 at 14:29
What monster? Cry
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2008 at 15:18
try Roman Bunka's album "Dein Kopf ist ein schlafendes Auto" and listen to "Glowin'". also listen to Embryo's album "Embryo's Reise". Meshuggah is simple compared to these rhythms


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2008 at 17:02
^ what did Meshuggah ever do to you?
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