I know that one of these intrumental sections is in 7/4 and the other one is in 7/8. I just don't know which one's which.





I was hoping someone could give me an easy to understand explanation of what makes a piece 4/4 and what makes a piece 7/8 and how it affects the feel of the music. I remember it having something to do with one being made up of quarter notes and the other being eighth notes but to be honest i don't have a clue.
if you think about it, 7/4=14/8 so two bars of 7/8 is one bar of 7/4 so technically they are the same thing but i know there are times you would use one over the other. i kinda want to know when too lol
Quote by mrkeka
7/4 = seven quarter notes

7/8 = seven eighth notes

I'm not sure how to explain the difference, but it boils down to this. You have to recognize what the beat unit is. I hope someone could explain it more fluently
Thanks guys.

After listening to what you've said i think the first song i linked is 7/4 and the second is 7/8.

I get more of a rushed feeling in the 7/8 one. Still unsure though, might be wrong
The way you would count them changes (these examples show how you could count two bars of each):
7/4: ||1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +|| 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +||
7/8: ||1 + a 2 + a 3||1 + a 2 + a 3||

I hope this helps
You actually count them very similarly and usually you don't count either as 123 123 1. It's almost always grouped as 123 12 12 or 12 123 12 or 12 12 123 because we have to hear things in groups of two or three, it's just our nature. That's why the clock goes tick tock, not tick tick. Realistically, a fast 7/4 will sound like 7/8 and a low 7/8 will sound like 7/4. Mostly you would tap to 7/8 just on the strong beats like 123 12 12 whereas in 7/4 you'd still tap all seven beats, even though the strong beats are grouped the same.

I don't know if that made any sense but... yeah.

EDIT: In the two videos, the first one is 7/8 the second is 7/4. Hear how in the first one you just count strong beats and let the weak beats go, but in the second one you tap your foot to every beat, even though they're both grouped as 12 12 123? That's kind of a dumb way a looking at it, that I just made up right now, but it kind of works.
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Dec 9, 2011,
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
It's almost always grouped as 123 12 12 or 12 123 12 or 12 12 123 because we have to hear things in groups of two or three, it's just our nature.

The difference is in the accents! and of course that 7/4 is quarters notes and 7/8 are eight notes, so the rhythm feel is different.
Pink Floyd's "Money" is in 7/4. Count the verse riff. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7... and then it starts over, no fourth snare hit, not even a rest taking it's place.

This sounds retarded but I do this, if you rock back and forth to the beat, starting on the left, then alternate right and left with every quarter note you'll notice that during 4/4 songs you'll always restart on the left when the riff begins anew, and in 7/8, 5/8, etc you'll start on the left half the time and the right the other half of the time.

That's a hint for us kinesthetic learners lol.

Don't think of it as a "feel", think of it as actually counting notes. Many people listen to "Money" without even knowing anything is off about it until they count it.

Clutch has several off-time songs that rock along quite nicely, making you assume they are 4/4 until you actively try to nail down the beat. Need an example of 7/8 that isn't math metal? The chorus/intro of "Elephant Riders" is in 7/8.

A Clutch song in 7/4 is "The Incomparable Mr. Flannery" and "Eight Times Over Miss October" is 5/8, both songs that groove awesome and due to stereotypes about what 4/4 is good for, you might assume they are in 4/4 until you actually try to count them. So to reiterate, don't think it will alter the "feel" too much just by using different time signatures. Warm up the Youtube and research!
Quote by ibanez1511
my opinion is a lot of pop music in 4/4 has a pulse of 8/8.

i can't think of ANY pop music that has an 8/8 beat. if you mean that 4/4 with accented eighth notes = 8/8, then you have a lot to learn about time signatures.

jazz_rock_feel has had the most accurate explanation so far.

there is absolutely no difference between 7/8 and 7/4 out of context. if you gave me a piece entirely in 7/4 with a tempo of 90 bpm, i could rewrite it so that it's in 7/8, change the notation slightly, slap a tempo of 90 bpm on it, and it would sound exactly the same. i can do the same deal in 7/16, 7/2, even 7/32. i would just need to specify which note receives the beat in the tempo marking.

tl;dr: there is no rhythmic difference out of context. but once context is established, 7/8 is twice as fast as 7/4. going from 4/4 to 7/4 would add three beats, while going from 4/4 to 7/8 would subtract half a beat.
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