#1
Sorry if this is a bit too similar to threads that are already floating around, but I see a lot of threads asking about songs that are in odd time signatures and how to count odd time signatures, but not much about actually writing in them. I've been experimenting with 5/4, 5/8, and 7/8, but it feels really forced. I'm working on accenting, but I still can't seem to make the time signature sound natural.

Let's say I'm in 7/8 and am counting it as 1-2-3-4-1-2-3. I'm accenting mainly the 1st and 5th beats, but it feels a bit weird when I'm listening back to what I've played to try to fit the rhythm and accents. The only way I can come up with something passable is if I play a part that's only 8th notes, but it's quite boring.

How do you all write in odd time signatures? Do you just work your way from the bottom up as in, start with simple 8th note (or quarter note, sixteenth note, etc. depending on time signature) patterns then complicate it from there?
#2
Mostly i write a riff that sounds cool. If it happens to be in an odd time signature, so be it.
I'm not thinking: let's write something in 5/4 measure today!
#3
^ This, just make riffs that sound good to you, and when you write them out you'll see in what signature they are. And if yuo reallyy want that whole experimental sound, listen and most importantly PLAY a lot of existing prog. things first
#5
If you just use straight 8th notes or 16th notes or whatever, it will be pretty boring. Personally, I like to use a variety of these subdivisions (I think that's what they're called, right?) as well as syncopation (put several accents, not where you'd expect them) and that's where I get good rhythms from.

For me, it also helps to start with a good, solid drum beat.
#6
i love awkward time signatures. i write in them all the time. I'll help. When i write in 5/8, i often accent the 1st, 3rd, and 4th beats. Weird. Accenting adjacent beats can be cool. accenting the 3rd and 5th only works well, and accenting 2nd and 4th creates an interesting effect.

7/8 is harder, but accenting the 1st, 3rd, and 7th is the way to go in my opinion. But i have strange opinions. you could also try the 2nd, 4th, and 6th. It would sound similar to the 2nd and 4th in 5/8.

one you should try out is 9/4. A really cool way to do it 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 9th. A lot of accents, but sounds cool.

one last note: 5/4 IS CRAP. its obnoxious to use and sounds lame and forced. and really difficult to make a smooth transition between 5/4 and just about any other time. I've never really seen a good use of 5/4.
Like punk the way it used to be? Deranged Youth Its like what Warped Tour should be!

Want to hear something mind-blowing? Pit O' Bodies Its like an amateur hypnotist plus the Spanish Inquisition!
#7
Quote by pitobodies

one last note: 5/4 IS CRAP. its obnoxious to use and sounds lame and forced. and really difficult to make a smooth transition between 5/4 and just about any other time. I've never really seen a good use of 5/4.


I think this song has some good 5/4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7jikeIyKaE

The dance of eternity
#8
I feel that after forcing myself into writing riffs in odd time signatures, even if they dont really sound very good, I after a while kinda got past some sort of treshold. I feel much more free now as I nolonger feel I have to make every riff I write into an even easy-listened kinda thing just cuz thats the time sig I'm used to hearing.
#9
Quote by pitobodies
5/4 IS CRAP. its obnoxious to use and sounds lame and forced. and really difficult to make a smooth transition between 5/4 and just about any other time. I've never really seen a good use of 5/4.


I you like i can upload a very nice sounding pianopart i wrote in 5/4 which doesnt sound forced at all. Accents are on 1 and 4. I didnt even know it was in 5/4 until i wanted to put a beat under it with my keyboard.
#11
Another 5/4 is Here Come the Bastards by Primus. Skip to 2:05. They accent the 1, 3, and 5, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx8W_4gd5aI

Yes, please upload the piano part

And when I just noodle around, it always ends up in 4/4, so I'm forcing myself to write in other time signatures as kind of an experiment.
#12
Quote by pitobodies
one last note: 5/4 IS CRAP. its obnoxious to use and sounds lame and forced. and really difficult to make a smooth transition between 5/4 and just about any other time. I've never really seen a good use of 5/4.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG-LJVVQpDI

Chris Pennie will prov you wrong haha

as for writing in odd times, often i get to carried away in thinking aboutt he time so i end up writing something ****ty just because im so focused on the timing
Last edited by BobbyAndCambria at Aug 9, 2009,
#13
Just asking: Have you been playing a lot of songs that are in diffrent time signitures and changing time signiatures?
"Fly with me forever high
And with these wings
We'll set the world on fire
Fly with me through scorching skies
You and I - The lie of lies"

-Symphony X
#14
Quote by Antis0cial
^ This, just make riffs that sound good to you, and when you write them out you'll see in what signature they are. And if yuo reallyy want that whole experimental sound, listen and most importantly PLAY a lot of existing prog. things first



Yes. Don't bother trying to learn new things, it's a total waste of time, getting better at your art is for suckers.

The way I learned to write in time signatures was simply that, writing in time signatures. Now I know this is absolutely no help, so I'm going to give you some of the methods I used, but defiantly come up with your own.

Learn all the theory behind the time signature, and start writing from the simple ones and then move on to the compound ones. I did this with piano, but your on UG so I'm going to change this method a bit for guitar.

IF you have guitar pro or something related : Write a chord progression, and have the chord strummed once on each strong beat, then write a melody over-top of it.

IF you don't have guitar pro or something related : Write a chord progression, strum the chord on each strong beat (with a metronome) and arpeggiate the chord between the strong beats, and improvise new tempos.

I don't know how much music theory you know, so if this goes over your head then don't worry about it. If you know what anticipations and suspensions are, use them to lead into the next chord in the odd time chord progression. I've found that once you can do this confidently, you can make odd signatured chord progressions sound a lot more smoothly than they would if you just played them at a straight pulse.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#15
Quote by pitobodies
I've never really seen a good use of 5/4.


I apologize for the double post, but this has to be said.

Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#16
Quote by Gulli05
Just asking: Have you been playing a lot of songs that are in diffrent time signitures and changing time signiatures?

Kind of. I've been working on The Divided Sky by Phish and have been counting along with the song Reba. I've been looking at some Dream Theater songs on youtube and trying to count along and see what's going on in with the basslines in odd time sigs.
#17
Quote by kirbyrocknroll
Kind of. I've been working on The Divided Sky by Phish and have been counting along with the song Reba. I've been looking at some Dream Theater songs on youtube and trying to count along and see what's going on in with the basslines in odd time sigs.


I suggest looking at, listening to and plaing songs with strange time signatures and time signature changes. Dream Theater is exactly what you should look at, also Symphony X is good. Just go look at Progressive Metal bands.

It will help. I am sure! Because I am doing the same thing. It will improve your playing abilities alot too.
"Fly with me forever high
And with these wings
We'll set the world on fire
Fly with me through scorching skies
You and I - The lie of lies"

-Symphony X