I'm new to music theory so please bear with me. I have a tab of The Rolling Stones version of Love In Vain and the time signature is in 12/8. When i play this song on guitar, I play it as if it's in 6/4 with the pulse felt on beats 1 and 4. I don't know why i play it this way but it just seems right to me. It seems to me that these two time signatures are very close to each other. Am I completely wrong for playing it this way? Are these two time signatures close to each other? Is 6/4 ever even used? Am I right that the pulses would be felt on 1 and 4?
Quote by Martindecorum
6/4 is the same as 12/8..
BUT
i am wrong in saying so, the different time sigs have different feels with the accents on different beats.

but the amount of notation value adds up to the same

Wrong. 12/8 is compound signature and denotes four beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a dotted quarter note. 6/4 can be treated as simple or compound, but in either case is not the same as 12/8.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
Wrong. 12/8 is compound signature and denotes four beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a dotted quarter note. 6/4 can be treated as simple or compound, but in either case is not the same as 12/8.
Both 12/8 and 6/4 are examples of compound time. 6/4 cannot be treated as simple time because it is, in fact, compound time.
• The 12/8 signature calls for four beats per measure. The dotted quarter-note is the beat unit.
• The 6/4 signature calls for two beats per measure. The dotted half-note is the beat unit.

To the thread starter: "Love in Vain" as recorded by the Stones sounds like a very slow 12/8 to me. I don't hear stresses on beats 1 and 4, and I think 6/4 is out of the question. If you can play the song and make it sound meaningful, though, good for you.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
6/4 cannot be treated as simple time because it is, in fact, compound time.

I disagree. By itself, 6/4 (or 6/8, or 12/8, etc) would suggest compound time, and would almost always be interpreted as compound time, but there is absolutely no reason one couldn't compose with six quarter note beats per bar, or subdivide it in some other fashion.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
in this instance i think you're just playing two 6/8 bars for every 12/8 one?
like playing 2/4 when you should be playing 4/4.

This doesn't really matter as long as you try to make sure that the largest emphasis remains on the start of every 12/8 bar (generally speaking).

And yes 6/8 is compound time of 2/4. If you split it up another way its got to be 3/4 really =P
Smexy. =]
Quote by Archeo Avis
Quote by gpb0216
6/4 cannot be treated as simple time because it is, in fact, compound time.
I disagree. By itself, 6/4 (or 6/8, or 12/8, etc) would suggest compound time, and would almost always be interpreted as compound time, but there is absolutely no reason one couldn't compose with six quarter note beats per bar, or subdivide it in some other fashion.
You're free to disagree, of course, but I'll stand by the definition of compound time. By definition 6/4 is compound time.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Quote by gpb0216
You're free to disagree, of course, but I'll stand by the definition of compound time. By definition 6/4 is compound time.

That 6/4 is compound time describes a limitation of the current way of describing meter, not the meter itself. We write things like compound triple time as 9/8 because it's the only way to notate them within the current system without the use of fractions (e.g. x/(y + y/2). The notion that it completely wipes 6/4 (as in six beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a quarter note) from existence is absurd.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
That 6/4 is compound time describes a limitation of the current way of describing meter, not the meter itself.
Using the compound signature 6/4 to notate the subdivision of two beats, each consisting of a dotted half-note, into three equal parts doesn't seem like much of a limitation to me.

Meter is foundational. Despite all of the complications we impose on meter, a beat still tends to subdivide into either two or three equal parts:
• A beat that subdivides into two equal parts produces simple meter.
• A beat that divides into three equal parts produces compound meter.

It really is that simple.
We write things like compound triple time as 9/8 because it's the only way to notate them within the current system without the use of fractions (e.g. x/(y + y/2).
No, we write it that way because it makes a ton of sense, given that a beat almost always subdivides into either two or three equal parts. This, in turn, produces simple and compound meter, respectively.
The notion that it completely wipes 6/4 (as in six beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a quarter note) from existence is absurd.
And I, in turn, submit to you that incorrectly using compound notation (6/4) in order to score six beats in one measure instead of correctly using simple notation (3/4) to score the same six beats in two measures is absurd. Anyone who reads standard notation on anything like a regular basis is going to interpret what you meant as simple meter as compound meter. In other words, a reader is going to read your six beats as if they were two beats, three quarter-notes to the beat. It's going to look wrong and it's going to sound wrong. Other than those major issues, you're absolutely correct.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
I use 6/4 all the time when I have a 4/4 riff going for a while and then add in an extra two beats. I change the beaming to avoid confusion. I could write another measure of 4/4, but I don't see that part of the riff as two measures. However, writing it as two measures of 3/4 would be ridiculous, at least when I use 6/4.
No, we write it that way because it makes a ton of sense, given that a beat almost always subdivides into either two or three equal parts. This, in turn, produces simple and compound meter, respectively.

If we were concerned about making sense, we would notate meter in this fashion...

The current system of notation, like almost every other aspect of Western notation, arose in a way to efficiently describe the conventions of the individuals using it. The notion that a meter with six beats per bar doesn't exist just because 6/4 commonly denotes compound time is ridiculous. A key signature with one sharp commonly denotes G major, but there's absolutely no reason one couldn't create a nonstandard key signature with one sharp that suggested something non-diatonic (as has been done by numerous composers on numerous occasions). Notation exists to describe and communicate music, and 6/4 can function as simple time perfectly well (provided that you explicitly state that it is simple time)
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I use 6/4 all the time when I have a 4/4 riff going for a while and then add in an extra two beats. I change the beaming to avoid confusion. I could write another measure of 4/4, but I don't see that part of the riff as two measures. However, writing it as two measures of 3/4 would be ridiculous, at least when I use 6/4.
I agree that using two measures of 3/4 to notate your riff would be ridiculous. However, unless you don't ever expect anyone else to read your score, the way to notate what you're doing is to use 4/4 with the occasional 2/4 thrown in to handle the overflow. Otherwise, readers are going to interpret and play the 6/4 as two beats, with each beat subdividing into three equal parts.

It's all about communication. If nobody else is ever going to read your score then feel free to notate it in any way you like. If somebody else is going to read that chart, though, you owe it to yourself and to them to notate it in standard notation. The signature 6/4 calls for one measure of two beats, with each beat subdividing into three equal parts. The signatures 4/4 and 2/4 call for two measures encompassing six beats, with each beat subdividing into two equal parts. I urge you to use the notation that fits the reality of what you're playing.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.
Quote by Archeo Avis
If we were concerned about making sense, we would notate meter in this fashion...

For all I know, they did notate it that way at some point. They don't do it now, though, at least not on the charts I read.
The current system of notation, like almost every other aspect of Western notation, arose in a way to efficiently describe the conventions of the individuals using it. The notion that a meter with six beats per bar doesn't exist just because 6/4 commonly denotes compound time is ridiculous.
The signature 6/4 doesn't commonly denote compound time. It is compound time, by definition.
A key signature with one sharp commonly denotes G major, but there's absolutely no reason one couldn't create a nonstandard key signature with one sharp that suggested something non-diatonic (as has been done by numerous composers on numerous occasions).
Knock yourself out.
Notation exists to describe and communicate music, and 6/4 can function as simple time perfectly well (provided that you explicitly state that it is simple time)
Standard notation exists specifically to avoid making the kinds of notes on the score that you're describing. Please see my respsonse to BGC. If the six beats you're playing naturally subdivide into three equal parts, you're playing compound time and should notate the score appropriately. If the six beats naturally subdivide into two equal parts, you're playing simple time and should use either measures of 4/4 and 2/4 or two measures of 3/4, whichever fits the meter.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
Quote by Freepower
For everything you need to know - gpb0216.