I know you break up odd meters like 5/4,7/4 etc. ,but I'm not completely sure which beat you play notes on . Is 5/4 on the odd beats ?
I am seriously confused.. maybe I'm missing something, but are we talking about guitar or drums here? It's just a time signature. Reading this it sounds to me like you think for every time signature in every song ever that a note is played on the beat with no exceptions ever. It's just a time signature, you play notes whenever you want. The beat is just a means of keeping time. It doesn't denote when you play the music. I feel like I'm seriously missing something.. Someone help me out here
Last edited by vayne92 at Jul 10, 2015,
No, I think you're right vayne, it looks like TS is very confused about what time signatures are for.

TS: Time signatures really don't tell you what beats you play on, at all. More than anything they tell you where in phrases you should stress the beats and how to count your way through them. Sadly this is something that's really hard to actually write about because there's so much that's really difficult to represent.

I think the best thing with this is to seek out videos that demonstrate how these things work, particularly paying attention to drummers is a good way to get your head around this stuff.

Try watching this:


Portnoy goes through a few eamples in odd times but I think the thing to pay attention to is where he's putting emphasis in the bars, and how he's not playing absolutely strictly on whatever beats. The exact patterns he's playing don't matter that much but it's really worth getting where he's accenting and how the different times feel, and noting that the beats that are being played on by all three instruments aren't set in stone at all.

In fact it's really worth noting that Portnoy changes his beats all the time to get different feels and interesting textures in the music, even within the same section in the same song you don't have to keep things identical or regimented at all. Unless that's the sound you want of course.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Jul 10, 2015,