Hello,

I have a base knowledge for basic time signatures, But I am confused where the complex ones like 7/8 come into play. Can someone elaborate on these type of time signatures please. Thanks
you always break up the numbers, some people try to teach it as fractions and that annoys me. The bottom # is the type of note that gets a down beat, so in 7/8 its the eighth note that gets 1 beat. the top # is the number of beats per measure, so in 7/8, there are 7 beats per measure.
Im sorta getting it, and those links helped. I guess where I get confused is, lets say im looking at a tab, like my example is Led Zeppelin, the ocean. There is a measure that is 4/4, yet a ton of notes to pluck in that measure, the next measure states 7/8. So I get confused how they are those times.
Can you explain this to me, sorry dont mean to make this complicated. I just get lost with why one is 7/8 and one is 4/4 Thanks guys

--------------------------------|
|-7-7-7-7--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-----7-7-----||--------------------------------|
|-5-5-5-5--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-----5-5-----||--------------------------------|
|-7-7-7-7--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-5s7-7-7-----||-5h7-5h7-5----------------------|
|-5-5-5-5--3-3-3-3--0---|-0-3s5-5-5-----||-----------7--------------------|
|---------------------3-|---------------||-------------8-x-8-8-8-8-7-7-7--|

7/8 4/4 7/8
PM--| PM PM----------| PM--| PM
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|-----5-----7---7------|-5h7-5h7-5-------------------|-----5-----7---7------|
|-5-7---5-7---4---5--7-|-----------7-----------------|-5-7---5-7---4---5--7-|
|----------------------|-------------8-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-|----------------------|
That tab didn't really come out right so I'm not going to refer to that, but maybe think of it this way:

You can count 4/4 time as "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and" (this is counting in quavers)
All 7/8 does is takes the last "and" off the end, making it "1 and 2 and 3 and 4" so the bar ends a quaver earlier.
You can also count it as "1 2 3 4 1 2 3" (all quavers) to make it a bit easier.

eg. if you had two 7/8 bars in a row, you would count it like this:
"1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3" (the first beat of the bar in bold)

Probably didn't make it any clearer but eh, I tried.

Edit: also most text tabs don't really show the rhythmic value of each note so they aren't the best for this kind of thing.
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Last edited by Sparks92 : Tomorrow at 13:37 AM.
Last edited by Sparks92 at Dec 12, 2009,
Quote by ktullu98
Im sorta getting it, and those links helped. I guess where I get confused is, lets say im looking at a tab, like my example is Led Zeppelin, the ocean. There is a measure that is 4/4, yet a ton of notes to pluck in that measure, the next measure states 7/8. So I get confused how they are those times.
Can you explain this to me, sorry dont mean to make this complicated. I just get lost with why one is 7/8 and one is 4/4 Thanks guys

--------------------------------|
|-7-7-7-7--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-----7-7-----||--------------------------------|
|-5-5-5-5--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-----5-5-----||--------------------------------|
|-7-7-7-7--5-5-5-5--2---|-2-5s7-7-7-----||-5h7-5h7-5----------------------|
|-5-5-5-5--3-3-3-3--0---|-0-3s5-5-5-----||-----------7--------------------|
|---------------------3-|---------------||-------------8-x-8-8-8-8-7-7-7--|

7/8 4/4 7/8
PM--| PM PM----------| PM--| PM
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|----------------------|-----------------------------|----------------------|
|-----5-----7---7------|-5h7-5h7-5-------------------|-----5-----7---7------|
|-5-7---5-7---4---5--7-|-----------7-----------------|-5-7---5-7---4---5--7-|
|----------------------|-------------8-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-|----------------------|
Fixed?

Edit: Yeah, good.

To answer your question which I don't totally understand: One is 7/8 and the other is 4/4 simply because Led Zeppelin wanted it that way

If you want to know how you can tell what they are, you count the beats in the measure. If the beat has four full beats (or 8 half-beats [eight notes]), then it is in 4/4. If it has three and a half (7 eighth notes), it's in 7/8.
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Last edited by food1010 at Dec 12, 2009,
Lol sorry guys I know im over complicating this. And I appreciate the help. I guess im basing it off my ears, when i listen to it and watch the tab, I dont notice a difference between the 4/4 and 7/8. I really need to learn more theory and rhythm. Any good book suggestions?
try an easier one, that LZ song alternates between time signatures so its harder to feel the groove

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU51jDH9whU Them Bones - Alice in Chains. The verses are in 7/8. See if you count along, you count up to 7 and then start again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSmuzEzeAeY What Would I Want? Sky! - Animal Collective. The groove starts at 3:10. This one is at a quicker tempo but you still count it in sevens. To give you an idea of the beat, beat seven is on the word "Sky!" then it goes back to 1
Quote by Declan87
try an easier one, that LZ song alternates between time signatures so its harder to feel the groove

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU51jDH9whU Them Bones - Alice in Chains. The verses are in 7/8. See if you count along, you count up to 7 and then start again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSmuzEzeAeY What Would I Want? Sky! - Animal Collective. The groove starts at 3:10. This one is at a quicker tempo but you still count it in sevens. To give you an idea of the beat, beat seven is on the word "Sky!" then it goes back to 1

Or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lstDdzedgcE 2+2=5 by Radiohead; the first part of the song is in 7/8...count 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 then it'll repeat. partway through though it changes back to 4/4.
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