...between a 3/4 time signature and a 6/8 just by listening to the song? (without seeing the transcription on paper)

same goes for 2/4 and 4/4.
Erm, I think 3/4 and 6/8 are the same, but 2/4 has two beats in a bar instead of four.
You should be able to hear the beats and which beats are accented.
In 3/4 you would hear (in quavers/eighth notes) per bar
1 2 1 2 1 2

In 6/8 they are grouped in 3.

1 2 3 1 2 3.

As for 2/4 and 4/4 it goes (in quarter notes/ crotchets)
12 1 2

1 2 | 1 2

The big one is the most accented note, and is at the beginning of the bar, at least that was what i was taught!
Note that "|" is a bar line.

How you count them is personal preference, but the main difference is which beats are accented and how they are grouped together. 6/8 gives a more triplet feel.
Hope that helps.
^ nope, not the same,

3/4 has 3 quarter note beats per bar, 6/8 has 6 eight note beats per bar, 6/4 has 6 quarter note beats per bar

good metallica examples of these 3 would be

3/4 - the interlude "waltz" bit in orion
6/8 - nothing else matter
6/4 - the intro/opening to disposable heroes.
Ah rhythm, perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of music theory.

There are three classes of rhythm (meter). Simple, compound, and hybrid. Simple meter contains pulses of a regular note, like a quarter note, eighth note, half note, sixty-fourth note. Compound meter contains pulses of a dotted note, meaning that each pulse is divided in to three notes. Hybrid meter is a mix of the two.

There are three types of meter. Duple, triple, and quadruple. Duple meter contains two pulses. Triple contians three. And, you guessed it, quadruple contains four pulses. Knowing this, you have a better understanding of rhythm, since each class can be of any type. Simple quadruple is 4/x where x can be any note value. Compound quadruple would be 12/x, because there are 12 beats, but 4 pulses of a dotted note. So in 12/8 one would say there are 12 eighth notes, but the pulses are in dotted quarter notes that contain three eighth notes each. Hybrid triple contains three pulses, two of which are simple, and one of which is compound. So it would be 3 + 2 + 2 (you can rearrange any way) for 7/x.

I hope this introduction to rhythm was helpful, there's still a lot more to know, like writing music in proper rhythm.
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what z4twenny said^

6/8 is like 2 groups of triplets
whereas 3/4 is like 3 groups of eight notes
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to me, it sticks out pretty well. listen to ..And Justice For All by Metallica...that song has tons of chagnes from 4/4 to 2/4 and even some 6/4, its just...i dont know...it sticks out because it seems like its not right...so the incomplete messures get evened out by the ones that go over...at least thats how most people tab it out on Guitar Pro and what not...i believe thats how the song is in the tab/sheet book i have for it as well.

EDIT: as you can tell by my horrible explanation, im not very good with counting beats and all that...my bands drummer has been a big help, i havnt had much training/lessons with it. My bands drummer is really good with it, hes like a walking metrenome...lol
Last edited by gravensuicide at Jul 6, 2007,
Sorry Guinny, i thought it was a pretty decent initial explanation for a noob to understand.
haha i actually know that 6/8 has six eighth notes in a bar etc. I have this test coming up soon where I have to listen to a piece and find out what the time signature is and i keep getting my 6/8s mixed up with my 3/4s and same with 2/4s and 4/4s. Thanks for all the advice though, i'm finally starting to learn how to.