Is there a scientific explanation for why 4/4 is so easily accessible or do people find it more accessible just because a lot of music is written in it?
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Our brains group sounds we hear into either 2s or 3s, and also groups sounds as equally spaced and unequally spaced. So why is 4/4 so accessible? You tell me.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Dec 1, 2015,
Duple meters are easy for dancing, because we have two feet. [EDIT: sashki just got there first!]
Also for marching.
4/4 is really just a pair of 2/4s, on-off, down-up, left-right. Natural oscillation. Call and response.
4/4 bars also get grouped into pairs, and pairs into pairs, etc. Lines of 2 or 4 bars, sections of 8 or 16 bars...

3/4 is also physically easy to move to when dancing - likewise the bounce or swing feel of triplets.

Mind you, then you need to explain why Bulgarians like to dance to 7/8, 11/8, etc....
Last edited by jongtr at Dec 1, 2015,
That may just be the case in 'Western' music. In other cultures 4/4 may not quite feel the same. We grew up with it in 90% of the popular music we hear (on the radio, in video games, in movies, etc) so that's what we're accustomed to.

Yeah, uh-huh...that's what they all say.
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Mind you, then you need to explain why Bulgarians like to dance to 7/8, 11/8, etc....

Probably because Bulgarians are among the strangest people in all of Western civilization.
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Pop music pretty much always has a steady drum beat - and that works best in 4/4. It's different in music that doesn't use a straight forward drum beat or percussion instruments at all - music like that doesn't necessarily have that clear time signature (but of course that depends).

It's easier to write something that "makes sense" (without sounding kind of weird) in something even like 4/4. 4 and 3 are easy to count. But if you count to 5, it is pretty much always either 2+3 or 3+2. Same with 7/4 - it's usually 2+2+3 or 3+2+2. So in 5/4 you kind of count to two but with a longer and a shorter beat. And that's what makes it sound uneven. Same with 7/4 or any other odd time signature. Of course it's possible to make stuff that sounds natural in odd time signatures. But then you pretty much always have to start with a rhythm, not a time signature. If you start with a time signature ("let's write something in 13/16 time signature"), it's most likely not going to sound natural. But if you come up with a rhythm that happens to be in an odd time signature, it usually sounds more natural. This is what Soundgarden did with many of their songs. They just felt it and weren't thinking about time signatures.

It has to do with history too.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Dec 1, 2015,