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Old 05-05-2013, 02:43 PM   #1
scguitarking927
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switching time signatures?

First of bare with me as I explain, don't make that face!!

So sometimes when I write songs (mostly blues/jam stuff) when I'm just working through something for the first time, sometimes I'll add an extra beat (5/4?). And the only reason I'm asking this is because sometimes once I work it back into standard 4/4 and it just sounds weird to me.

For example:

So pretend I'm writing something meant to be in normal time, but...

I'll play a one measure riff, instead of starting over on the down beat of one, I'll hold out the note or embellish it or something and then repeat the riff on the down beat of two.

This of course would eventually get me back to playing on the 1 a few repetitions later. And is basically what I've been doing with couple riffs I've come up with and then continue into something that's in standard time.


I hope that makes sense, the drummer I jam with ever so often can keep up with it, there's just an extra beat that he'll generally just hit the high hat for and then continue in a normal groove. Is there a name for that? Or am I just making things up lol.

Is this simply going from 5/4 to 4/4?
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:37 PM   #2
MaXiMuse
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I don't follow you, especially the last sentences.

So you're playing a riff in 4/4 and you add another quarter (rest/embellishing eg).
Yes, that's a riff in 5/4*.

If the drummer plays a 4/4 groove for a bar and then hits a hi-hat for a quarter, and then plays the 4/4 groove again he is playing in 5/4. He is playing a repetitive pattern of 5 quarters. Hence the 5/4. It doesn't matter if he plays a 4/4 bar and then just a quarter note on a hi-hat.*

Does this answer your question or could you paraphrase it perhaps?

* = technically, it's 4/4 and then 1/4, but that combined makes 5/4
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
scguitarking927
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaXiMuse
I don't follow you, especially the last sentences.

So you're playing a riff in 4/4 and you add another quarter (rest/embellishing eg).
Yes, that's a riff in 5/4*.

If the drummer plays a 4/4 groove for a bar and then hits a hi-hat for a quarter, and then plays the 4/4 groove again he is playing in 5/4. He is playing a repetitive pattern of 5 quarters. Hence the 5/4. It doesn't matter if he plays a 4/4 bar and then just a quarter note on a hi-hat.*

Does this answer your question or could you paraphrase it perhaps?

* = technically, it's 4/4 and then 1/4, but that combined makes 5/4


Yes that answers it! Sorry about the wording.

Obviously this isn't the norm for a lot of pop music in the west, but do any of you think this would be weird in general? Having a 5/4 verse and then as it goes into the chorus switch to common?
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scguitarking927
Yes that answers it! Sorry about the wording.

Obviously this isn't the norm for a lot of pop music in the west, but do any of you think this would be weird in general? Having a 5/4 verse and then as it goes into the chorus switch to common?

Who cares if it's usual or not? If it sounds good, it sounds good. Make sure the parts really fit together well, otherwise it will sound too much like a "riff-after-riff song". And 5/4 isn't a very common time signature.

Do what the song needs you to do.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scguitarking927
First of bare with me as I explain, don't make that face!!

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Old 05-05-2013, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scguitarking927
Yes that answers it! Sorry about the wording.

Obviously this isn't the norm for a lot of pop music in the west, but do any of you think this would be weird in general? Having a 5/4 verse and then as it goes into the chorus switch to common?


Karma by Kamelot does this brilliantly, as I remember, if you'd like an example of exactly that.
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