I'm having trouble playing time some odd time signatures.

I had this one song to play in 9/8 then 7/8 which changes throughout the song. I watched some youtube videos but didn't understand them.

Then, form advice from a friend, I added 9/8 and 7/8 to get 16/8=2. But that doesn't make sense, because all beats must be written as x/4 or similar.

Time signatures aren't fractions. You can't say that 16/8=2. We just use the slash because we can't type one number below the other.

I'm guessing your (9+7)/8 is probably just a syncopated 4/4 actually.

Also, be sure to post stuff like this in the Musician Talk forum and not here.
Is it Schism by Tool by any chance?
dirtbag ballet by the bins down the alley
as i walk through the chalet of the shadow of death
everything that you've come to expect

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Is it Schism by Tool by any chance?

That's 5+7
Quote by ChucklesMginty
I think the hardest time signature to play is 4/5.

With any time signature, odd or not, it's helpful to find the pulse beat. With 9/8, there will be three pulse beats (a dotted quarter note if you know music) per measure/bar. With 7/8, it's going to be divided into two unequal sections, either a dotted quarter note followed by a half note, or a half note followed by a dotted quarter note.

Use a metronome, clap out the rhythm if you have to, and pay attention to the pulse.

Like someone else said though, you may want to try Musician's Talk instead
Quote by ChucklesMginty
Sounds like it's written in 4/5.

I don't get it.

I mean to say that I don't understand how 4/5 equals to what I asked. I think 4/5 is easy to play but to be honest I think you may have made a mistake because I've never read about any time signatures that are x/5.
Last edited by FukNo at Jan 25, 2014,
It's a private joke.
Quote by FukNo
I don't get it.

I mean to say that I don't understand how 4/5 equals to what I asked. I think 4/5 is easy to play but to be honest I think you may have made a mistake because I've never read about any time signatures that are x/5.

Wait...

You think 4/5 is easy to play...but then you think he's made a mistake because you don't know of any time signatures that are x/5

Wat
It seems that you're somewhat new to odd times. It's not something you can learn in a day, keep practising, listen to songs with odd times, and over time they will seem natural to you, that was my case, and I'm sure it's no different for most other people.
Not sure if a sig is a necessity.
Quote by sickman411
That's 5+7

Oh yeah, I'm thinking of Lateralus' chorus which is 9/8-8/8-7/8
dirtbag ballet by the bins down the alley
as i walk through the chalet of the shadow of death
everything that you've come to expect

Quote by Shotgunmerc
Wait...

You think 4/5 is easy to play...but then you think he's made a mistake because you don't know of any time signatures that are x/5

Wat

I mean to say that although I don't know much music theory yet as per the technique with which you play 3/4 and 4/4 I can easily play 4/5.

But as per my music theory training till now, I've never even heard of x/5. That's what confuses me.

Additionally, doesn't the 4 in x/4 actually denote one bar rather than anything else? But by that logic, 8 shouldn't appear there too..

I'm really confused as to what the hell I'm really talking about. That's why I'm asking you guys.
Quote by sickman411
Time signatures aren't fractions.

Technically, they sorta are. But I don't always treat them as such, unless I'm writing a polymeter.

In regards to TS, yeah you sort of can count the part in straight 4/4, as 9/8 and 7/8 add up to 16/8 (or a bar of 8/4), but you would still have to follow the correct syncopation. If you understand some rudimentary theory, like basic musical notation, try writing it out with the rhythms and rests as if it's in 4/4 (you'd basically be moving the middle bar line back an eighth note), and see if it makes it any easier for you to get it. It would still be the same rhythm, but written out in a more or less simple way.

And before anyone rides my ass on this one, look at professional transcriptions over the years. Especially ones of the same song. I've seen two official transcriptions of Tool's "Schism", and neither of them agreed on the time signatures. Guitar World's had it all over the place with short bars of 5, 6, 7, and the Hal Leonard one seems to settle on lots of long bars of 12, 13, 14, etc. It's all open to interpretation by anyone but the artist themselves.
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Quote by FukNo
I mean to say that although I don't know much music theory yet as per the technique with which you play 3/4 and 4/4 I can easily play 4/5.

But as per my music theory training till now, I've never even heard of x/5. That's what confuses me.

Additionally, doesn't the 4 in x/4 actually denote one bar rather than anything else? But by that logic, 8 shouldn't appear there too..

I'm really confused as to what the hell I'm really talking about. That's why I'm asking you guys.

Well I'll save you trouble right off the bat: x/5 doesn't exist. That's not a thing. There is no time signature of 4/5. I'm still a little confused as to how you can easily play 4/5, but that's another topic I guess

Here's time signatures in a nutshell: Suppose we're dealing with 9/8. The first number (9) tells you how many beats are in a measure. The second number (8) tells you what kind of note gets the beat. So if what you are learning is in 9/8, there are nine 8th notes in every measure. If you were in 7/8, there would be seven 8th notes in each measure. If it were 7/4, there'd be seven quarter notes in the measure, and so on.
Quote by Shotgunmerc
Well I'll save you trouble right off the bat: x/5 doesn't exist. That's not a thing. There is no time signature of 4/5. I'm still a little confused as to how you can easily play 4/5, but that's another topic I guess

Here's time signatures in a nutshell: Suppose we're dealing with 9/8. The first number (9) tells you how many beats are in a measure. The second number (8) tells you what kind of note gets the beat. So if what you are learning is in 9/8, there are nine 8th notes in every measure. If you were in 7/8, there would be seven 8th notes in each measure. If it were 7/4, there'd be seven quarter notes in the measure, and so on.

Well, that clears it all up! Honestly! And I feel like a fool trying to say that I can play 4/5 :-p

That was way more informative than all the videos which I watched and tried to understand.

But I think I'm going to scrap this song. My band wanted to play it to show off their 'mastery'. I'm the least experienced. But the audience doesn't even understand what time signatures are. We played a similar song once before but my audience thought we couldn't keep rhythm. That song was easier to grasp. I didn't even have to think about the time signatures.
Oh, and I gotta clear something up, TS. Yes, x/2 meters do exist. I've seen plenty of scores with meters of 4/2, 2/2, and even 1/2.
Q: Favourite Pink Floyd song?
A: The one where they get wicked high and play Emin and A for an hour.
Quote by ChucklesMginty
LOL.

/c

I don't understand this too. What's so funny? :-o
There's no such thing as odd time signatures. They're just combinations of common time signatures.

Count like this.

For example, 7/8 can be broken down into the following depending on the beat emphasis:

2/8, 2/8, 3/8: 1 2, 1 2, 1 2 3
3/8 4/8: 1 2 3, 1 2 3 4

etc

...modes and scales are still useless.

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There's no such thing as odd time signatures. They're just combinations of common time signatures.

Count like this.

For example, 7/8 can be broken down into the following depending on the beat emphasis:

2/8, 2/8, 3/8: 1 2, 1 2, 1 2 3
3/8 4/8: 1 2 3, 1 2 3 4

etc

I was taught that an odd meter was one that could not be divided into beats of equal length, ie 5/4, 7/8, 11/8
listen to xixi

there's a guy called jrcsgtpeppers or something though who is the true expert on time sigs around here

i'm gonna post I Hung My Head by Sting, because it's awesome and it's in 9/8
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I was taught that an odd meter was one that could not be divided into beats of equal length, ie 5/4, 7/8, 11/8

Yes, but that doesn't matter. You can still and should break them down into common time sigs.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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Yes, but that doesn't matter. You can still and should break them down into common time sigs.

Oh yeah; something like 7/8 can be broken down in a number of ways so you don't have to view it as an odd meter. For learning how to play something, the way you phrased it, breaking down into 2, 2, 3 works. For notation sake, writing it as 7/8 is much more convenient than switching around every other measure. So on paper, it reads as an odd meter
Quote by Xiaoxi
There's no such thing as odd time signatures. They're just combinations of common time signatures.

There's no such thing as green. It's just a combination of yellow and blue.
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My advice would be slow it RIGHT down until you can play it flawlessly. Sounds generic I know, but if you are really struggling figuring out the varying beats in the time signatures then this is what I would advise.
Quote by Shotgunmerc
Oh yeah; something like 7/8 can be broken down in a number of ways so you don't have to view it as an odd meter. For learning how to play something, the way you phrased it, breaking down into 2, 2, 3 works. For notation sake, writing it as 7/8 is much more convenient than switching around every other measure. So on paper, it reads as an odd meter

Yea but it's not just for learning. That's how you count it. Counting 7 is impractical and prone to mistakes.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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Yea but it's not just for learning. That's how you count it. Counting 7 is impractical and prone to mistakes.

Right, which is why when learning you typically count it as 1,2,3,4,1,2,3 or 1,2,3,1,2,3,4, but either way it comes out as 7/8 so it's an odd meter

I feel like we're both in agreement as to how to PLAY 7/8 (or any odd meter) but we're going about explaining it in different ways