I have a guitar part/riff that is two bars long. I think of it as a phrase of 9/8 followed by a phrase of 11/8. Is this just a silly way of phrasing it and should it really be 10/8 or even four bars of 5/8?

I suspect the answer is that it doesn't matter and the answer is however you like to 'think of it' depending on the rhythm and length of phrases. But I'm interested to know if people think time signatures should always be done in their simplest form, which in this case would be 5/8 or if it's always a matter of what's most appropriate.


I split up the time sig based on the underlying rhythm and accents. I remember having a few bars of 9/8-7/8 in a row in one song. I could've just left it 4/4 throughout, but the 9/8-7/8 time sig dictated the rhythm and accents, so when rereading it at a later date I could understand what I was trying to do.
It's all about where you feel the beat is. It would be incorrect to notate in 5/8 if it actually wasn't in 5/8. Music doesn't work on paper. It's all about sound. It may look complicated on paper but many times it sounds a lot more simple. So don't worry about it. If there really is a 9/8 bar and a 11/8 bar, notate it that way because that's the correct way to notate it.
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I always do it in the simplest form, in your case i would do it as 4/4, 4/4 and 2/4, unless, there is a clear rhythm/repetition to the melody. If you are not sure yourself if there is a rhythm/repetition then there probably isn't, so just do it in the simplest way.
Last edited by Reages at Aug 4, 2014,