How do you know when listening to something, a melody or rhythm or whatever, that it's in x/8 time? Like Fur Elise is in 3/8 time, the opening riff of "Travel in Stygian" is in 12/8 and there's a part in "Metal Storm/Face the Slayer" in 9/8. Will it come with time? Also, why would someone compose something in x/8 time, and how do they? Is there a different feel to it?

Also, I see people say things about odd time signatures. Do they literally mean that the number of beats per measure is an odd number or that it's a time signature not often used?
Originally Posted by SkyValley
yeah im a virgin but im also pretty good at things like ping-pong and drawing pictures of people playing water polo so it balances out
an odd time signature to most people is anything other than 4/4

as for telling one from the other...i just count it out. you can tell where the 1st beat falls with most songs, because the riff/progression will start over again. so you just count the beats between until it starts over. hard to explain....

edit: missed a few things, people write in other time sigs....because they just do, haha it just happens. i wrote an intro, and it wasn't until after when i went to record it that i realized it was in 3/4 time, sometimes it just works.
It means times that are not often used, not time signature that are literally odd numbers.

You would use different times for the same reasons you would use different dynamics, or different keys. To express certain ideas. Composing in different times is tricky at first, listen to as much progressive music (Rush, Dream Theater..) as possible. Then you'll eventually understand how it's done.
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An odd time signature is usually a number that can not be divisible by two. But I have found 12/8 and sometimes 2/4 to be odd.
Quote by guitarbreaker
An odd time signature is usually a number that can not be divisible by two. But I have found 12/8 and sometimes 2/4 to be odd.

That's complex time. Odd is just a term used for anything but the norm, so it could *technically* mean complex/compound/irregular time, however, it's not to say that 3/4 may be considered odd if a person only writes in 4/4. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
12/8 is odd? 12/8 and 6/8 are the most common time signatures in rock/pop music besides 4/4...o_O
And for the original question: COUNT it out, then you'll notice if it's a 4/4 pulse or something else. If a riff repeats every 10 8th notes it's probably a 5/4 groove

And yes, you can do different things in different time signatures which is the reason why you use them. (headbanging can become really difficult though)
4/4 3/4 6/8 12/8 are extremely common. I wrote a thing that switches from 7/8 to 7/4 to 5/4 to 13/8 one bar after another. It's pretty cool... too bad I lost the tab when I was cleaning my hard drive....
/8 doesn't really mean a whole lot...

the bottom number just designates what note interval gets the beat...

the top number is what really matters and affects the "feel" of a song

12 is like 4 time played in triplets

9 is like 3 time in triplets

6 is 2 time in triplets...

4 is Strong weak Semi-strong weak

3 is Strong weak weak

2 is Strong weak

thats the basics for the "normal" times

5 time sounds like an incomplete measure, you can accent it numerous ways

Strong weak Semi-strong weak weak
Strong weak weak Semi-strong weak
Strong weak weak weak Semi-strong (would sound odd)