Hi all,

I'm not an expert in theory and I usually write and learn music using my ears. Lately I've taken an interest in learning more about time signatures and odd meters so I've started tabbing out things I've written so I have a visual representation of what is going on.

I was just curious what time signature a progression like the one below would fall into - I apologize if this isn't enough to go off of to give me a definitive answer.

e----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
b----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
g---x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x--------x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x----------
d---x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x--------x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x----------
a---x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x--------x-x-x-x-x----x-x-x-x-x-x-x----------
e----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In that scenario the strumming is 8th notes.

My "guess" is that because I have a group of 5 and a group of 7 which adds to 12 that I'm in 3/4 time or is it 6/8 because it's a quicker pace.

Anyways total newb to this but was hoping to get a little insight into things.

Thanks!
Last edited by hoonin_hooligan at Mar 10, 2017,
It really could be anything; without aural or absolute rhythmic information, I'd actually break it into 4/4

``````1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a | 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a |
x x x x x   x x x x x x x       | x x x x x   x x x x x x x       |``````

x's correspond to your x's, divided 4/4 into 16th notes

Tab is notoriously bad at giving information; if you want more help, you can give us a song to listen to
I can tell you what you're doing, but the best way to find out for yourself is to slow down a lot and find the smallest subdivision of beats in what you're playing

``1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a | 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a |D       D U D U   U D   D U D U | D   D   D U D U   U D   D U D U |``

NeoMvsEu Ah ok so it 4/4 just with the "beat" falling in a different place in the second measure?

So thats not anything like a polymeter or polymetric at all, just a standard 4/4 deal?

Sorry for the onslaught of questions haha just trying to learn as much as I can you've been super helpful so far and I appreciate the time!
The first and second measure are the same besides the one note on the "and" of 1 in the second measure; yeah it's standard 4/4!

This is the a video about the word you're looking for:

NeoMvsEu ahh duh syncopation, have heard that term a lot and forgot about what it meant - ok thanks so much for your help man
the way i'm hearing it, basically every chord change is 2 beats and the fills/leads are a full measure. there is a bit of drag to the beat though. play that recording with a metronome right about 100 BPM and you can hear where it basically falls into that format, but there's some timing weirdness that makes it sound more exotic than it would just playing to a click
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The recording snippet you put up could be any of the evens, likely just 4/4.

It does not matter if the riff starts on, before, or after a beat, nor whether it hits the beats or between them, nor whether the riff is "in step" with the beats or "staggering" its notes across the beats in complex ways... a riff's rhythmic complexity does not change the time signature; the underling structure of the beats do.

When you write out the riff rhythms, you need a method that includes the note/chord duration and the duration of the empty spaces ("rests").
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When figuring out time signatures/rhythms, you need to find the pulse first. If it's difficult to hear where the beats are and if the rhythms fall on the beat or in between the beats, slow the riff down. Also, learn to subdivide. This means, don't just count like "one-two-three-four". Instead, count like "one-and-two-and-three-and-four-and", or if possible, "one-e-and-a-two-e-and-a-three-e-and-a-four-e-and-a".
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It's 4/4, just the 2nd half of each bar is syncopated. It's mostly duple time (count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and), but that little turn around riff is in triplets (1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a). You sped up slightly at the turn around and you kind of drag a bit near the end, so it's hard to tell, but that's essentially what's going on.
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post of the year, thank you
Quote by Jimjambanx
It's 4/4, just the 2nd half of each bar is syncopated. It's mostly duple time (count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and), but that little turn around riff is in triplets (1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a). You sped up slightly at the turn around and you kind of drag a bit near the end, so it's hard to tell, but that's essentially what's going on.
?
Quote by NeoMvsEu
It's 4/4, just the 2nd half of each bar is syncopated. It's mostly duple time (count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and), but that little turn around riff is in triplets (1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a). You sped up slightly at the turn around and you kind of drag a bit near the end, so it's hard to tell, but that's essentially what's going on.
?

I know what he means, the riff in the fourth bar is in groups of three (5 x 3) but it starts on the second 16th of the bar so it does fit all into 4/4 with the notes being 16ths, not triplets. Personally I think it'd be better to end the third bar with the four strums, then go straight into that riff and have a bar of 15/16
Quote by NSpen1

I know what he means, the riff in the fourth bar is in groups of three (5 x 3) but it starts on the second 16th of the bar so it does fit all into 4/4 with the notes being 16ths, not triplets.  Personally I think it'd be better to end the third bar with the four strums, then go straight into that riff and have a bar of 15/16

yeah I just listened back and it is actually just straight 16th notes, but the rests creates syncopation in the 2nd half of the bar. The 2nd time around it's a lot clearer. If it were played to a click it'd be much easier to hear this.
Quote by Fat Lard
post of the year, thank you
It's more detailed there; if you slow it down:

``````e|-----------------------------------|
B|---------------------------3-------|
G|---------------------4-------4-2p0-|
D|-------------------2---2-2---------|
A|---0-2---3-2-0-2-0-----------------|
E|-0-----0---------------------------|
1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a``````
Thanks everyone for the responses!

So the general consensus is still that its straight 4/4? Just slightly syncopated in the second bar?

I like the sounds of ending the third bar with four strums and then going straight into the riff for the 15/16 time. Will try that out and see how it sounds

Just for reference that riff part after the strumming is;

e|--------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------7----------------|
D|----------------------------9------------9-7----------|
A|-------------------------7----7------------------------|
E|--0-5-7-0-8-7-5-7-5---------5---------------------|
hoonin_hooligan
Yeah, straight 4/4, the syncopation I think is that the chord change in the first 3 bars is a 16th note ahead of the beat.

If you want to play it with a 15/16 bar you need to just leave out the first open E string note (I wasn't hearing that due the somewhat, ah, rudimentary quality of the recording). So groups of 3 notes like
``````                    7
5 7 0   8 7 5   7 5``````
etc

oh, in case you're thinking of it being at a fast tempo then the syncopation would be that the chord change anticipates the beat going into the 2nd, 4th, etc bars by an eighth note.
hoonin_hooligan, btw:
- you're sliding after that final 7 on D or something because there's a clear G that's exactly a 32nd after that note
- slowing down would help clean up the riff (as well as cleaning up the tone I guess with less drive... )
- CODE tags will help even out lines

Quote by NSpen1
oh, in case you're thinking of it being at a fast tempo then the syncopation would be that the chord change anticipates the beat going into the 2nd, 4th, etc bars by an eighth note.
I would think the "a" of 2 in the preceding measure as is

``````1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a | 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a |
D       D U D U   U D   D U D U | D   D   D U D U   U D   D U D U |
^                                 ^``````

Unless you're thinking twice as fast?
Quote by NeoMvsEu
I would think the "a" of 2 in the preceding measure as is

``1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a | 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a |D       D U D U   U D   D U D U | D   D   D U D U   U D   D U D U |              ^                                 ^``

Unless you're thinking twice as fast?

Yup, exactly, as you'd originally written it the accented note = "the chord change in the first 3 bars is a 16th note ahead of the beat".
If you have the tempo twice as fast (c. 220-230 bpm) then it all becomes eighth notes, with the chord change just before the 2nd, 4th bar ... just in case "slightly syncopated in the second bar" meant hoonin was thinking of it in that way.
NSpen1, fair up to the point where 16th note conversation begins
NeoMvsEu
I was talking about 16th notes including the single note riff to begin with, and then only at the end did I mention the possibility of it being at a fast tempo with eighth notes so I think that's clear enough. Give me a break!