so.. whats the d ifference in writing something 7/4 or 7/8. i understand the 2nd number is for what you are counting (quareters, 8ths). would 4/4 minus an 8th be equivalent to 7/8 then? and 4/4 extended another 3 beats be equal to 7/4? and what about /16? i tend to see it reserved for very large time signatures like 23/16 or 19/16 and to 'fill out' a complex series of rhythms (such as 23/16 (X5) then 13/16 to sync up a 4/4 rhythm over it).

yeah.. ive been experimenting with very odd rhythms lately, im just starting to wonder how to properly write them down.

(and yes i read the sticky it doesnt seem to help much more than how to divide odd time sigs, which i already know)
It's largely a "feel" thing. You tend to get an idea of what feels like a quarter vs. an eighth note, and it's that feeling that will allow you to determine if it should be 7/4 or 7/8.

If it feels to fast to "squeeze" it all into quarters, you're probably looking at a 7/8 rhythm.
well......it all depends on how the song sounds. but most of the time for me 7/4 is kinda like a 4/4 then 3/4 melody and 7/8 is along the lines of the triplet pattern, going off of the 6/8 feel but just adding an extra note in to change it up.

hope that helps
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so.. whats the d ifference in writing something 7/4 or 7/8. i understand the 2nd number is for what you are counting (quareters, 8ths). would 4/4 minus an 8th be equivalent to 7/8 then? and 4/4 extended another 3 beats be equal to 7/4? and what about /16? i tend to see it reserved for very large time signatures like 23/16 or 19/16 and to 'fill out' a complex series of rhythms (such as 23/16 (X5) then 13/16 to sync up a 4/4 rhythm over it).

yeah.. ive been experimenting with very odd rhythms lately, im just starting to wonder how to properly write them down.

(and yes i read the sticky it doesnt seem to help much more than how to divide odd time sigs, which i already know)

Difference between 7/4 and 7/8: 7/4 is seven quarter notes in a bar, 7/8 is seven eights notes. This goes for anything. The first number in the signature is how many of the second number you do per bar. 51/64 is fiftyone 64th notes, just to show the example. 7/8 is not 4/4 minus an eights note. Well, it sort of is. If you want to keep it simple, yes it is. But time signatures are not fractions. They can be counted differently and will give a different feel. 4/4 extended another 3 beats is 7/4, though. /16 works the same way. 23/16 will mean playing twentythree 16th notes per bar. It does get rather cumbersome, however. Counting that out isn't the easiest thing to do. I can be slightly easier with /8 time signatures, however. Take 15/8 for example. You can count it as one two three four one two three four one two three four five six sev rather conveniently. I learned that from a Mike Portnoy video.

Just remember that signatures are not fractions. Believe it or not, 14/16 is not the same as 7/8, even though it takes the same amount of time.
"Just remember that signatures are not fractions. Believe it or not, 14/16 is not the same as 7/8, even though it takes the same amount of time."

this is what confuses me, because 7/4 doesnt mean its ONLY quarter notes, there might be dotted notes and 8th notes, how do you tell if youre counting quarters or 8ths? i tend to double up time sigs when i write rhythms (such as counting off 4/4 as 8 - 8th notes). is it just where it accents?

one example i think of is 1 + 2 + 3 + a
7/8?
what you said is true with 4/4 and 8/8. they can be counted interchangeably really. but you will hardly ever see it notated as 8/8.

a better example is 3/4 and 6/8. a lot of times, counting 6/8 with only 3 beats per measure can be somewhat hard to do. this is how you distinguish. but with 4/4 and 8/8, there's really no "fine line."
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7/4 has 7 pulses in each measure

7/8 usually has 2, just at an irregular interval, usually: | 12 12 123 | 12 12 123 | , etc
I like 13/16. I don't know why.
a lot of the time signatures also come from the difficulty of the written music...for example you can play a waltz in 3/4 or 6/8 but the 6/8 time is going to be more difficult to read. It also depends on the rhythms being played. A lot of music publishers will take a tune thats all 8th notes in a 6/8 but to make it easier for a person to read they chang the 8ths to quarters in 3/4...then in turn jack up to temp
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For the irregular meters, such as 7/4 or 7/8, the choice of the metric unit is largely based on tempo. You use smaller divisions for faster tempos, and larger ones for slower tempos (this always seems completely ass backwards to me... but hey, it's convention... seriously). For these meters, you want to count based on either the unit, or the irregular pulse (usually where the music is beamed, or where the natural accents seem to be). The 'irregular pulse' is different from the metric unit, in the sense that 7/8 could be counted in seven, or in 3+4, or 4+3, or 2+2+3, and other variations. Usually the music's written, or feels a certain way, and it just seems to make sense to count it irregularly.

The size of the metric unit chosen also goes for regular meters -- you use 8/8 for very slow music, 4/4 for regular tempos, and 2/2, for very fast tempos (2/2 is much less common, since it's pretty easy to count 4/4). This is the same as the difference between 3/2 and 6/4 (used regularly) for instance, when you'll feel three divided pulses in the measure -- 6/4 is actually a little weird, since it's often used as a compound meter also, where the division is 3 and 3, or some other weird crap.

3/4 and 6/8, however, are completely different. It's important to note that 6/8 is a compound meter, 3/4 is not. If the number of beats in the meter is greater than 4, and divisible by 3, it's a regular compound meter. There are n/3 pulses, and each gets three beats. In 6/8, you hear and feel 1 + u 2 + u. In 3/4, you hear and feel 1 + 2 + 3 +. There's a very clear difference between the two, in both feel and sound. The entire compound meter is how these extend to meters like 9/8 and 12/8; you have two, three, or four pulses, respectively, divided into three 8ths -- you almost never divide X/4 into divisions of three (yes yes, triplets... if your basic tempo is triplet based, it's probably compound, and you're just making life difficult).

Going back to irregular meters... **** like 179/32 is valid, sure, but you almost never see meters written higher than 12, and even that is kind of special (12/8, see above). Generally with very complex music like that, you use either alternating meters, polymeters, a changing meter at every logical division, or you just don't write in a meter and you put bar lines where they make sense. Note also, while 15/16 "makes sense", especially where it's actually pulsing in three, using 15/16 in the sense that it's "4/4 minus a 16th" is insanely hard to actually keep rhythm with. Try it... actually count in 4, and take a 16th note off the end of each measure, and see how long you can keep it steady.
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yea it' basically been said, when you take 7/4 you'll just count 7 beats in every meassure, on your own way, but you'll proably tick your foot of nod your head to all those beats of whatever tis you'll do, but in a 7/8 meassure, you'll divide those 8th beats in a way you like, so for example 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 with every 1 being an accent // beat but all being the same length, so the first beat of your meassure will take longer (so you' have a little trouble at first tapping your foot or whatever cuz it's not straightly timed) and you'll have a very interesting feel to the song, and you can vary within the song like start counting your meassure like 2 3 2 or 2 2 2 1 (very common one that last) or whatever you want.. it's all freedom you'll probably notice that 7/4 is a little easier cuz the 7/8 might sound a little awkward, whilst still playing the same.. so tyeah it's in the accents
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actually funkicker, i have already stated i have no problem tapping my foot to odd feels. meshuggah is good practice for that

i had a song that was in 5/4, or for convention you could say 15/8 (a lot was grouped in 3s and part of the song was a 3-5 polyrhythm), and one specific part counts out 15 8th notes oddly timed, adding a single rest at the end of the riff would make it line to 4/4 (and still sound fine), it wouldnt be too hard to double it to 16ths either. for counting straight quarter notes and chopping off a 16th yeah would be a little hard, but in practice you could equate it to removing a 16th out of a 4/4 rhythm.

and how are rhythms above 12 almost never used? ive seen 13 used quite well.
Its just more uncommon than seeing it divided, it's pretty extreme to ever have 13 beats in a pulse, I mean you could, but it's incredibly unlikely... usually when we write music like that we divide it somewhere smaller, both so it's readable and playable.

I mean this fairly generally, newer music can get insanely complex. If I'm going to write something that's 13/x I'm probably more likely to divide it somewhere that naturally pulses, add a bar line, and call it two measures of 8 and 5, or 7 and 6, or whatever else I want to. It's actually more common to just see this music written without a time signature in the first place.

This isn't even particularly fanciful, at some point as a performer, reading it off the page, you really don't give a damn anymore. The harder the music gets, the less and less what's written on the page matters to the person reading it, because they start to shift how they're reading. Honestly, good performers don't see the music the same way you analyze music -- performers tend to see notes as durations and hints of expression, and consecutive notes as intervals, and not as their names.

To give an example of that, most good performers won't really see any note except the first few, or maybe notes at key points, as having an actual letter name. It's too slow to think like that off the page -- you start to see the notes as a series of intervals, or just translating them directly to positions on the fretboard or keys on the piano. This sounds kind of weird, but your eyes and hands can make this translation directly, better than your brain can, and for harder music you really stop thinking about the music, or even about playing it. For rhythms, most good performers won't count complex rhythms... instead, you see the notes as a duration... 8th 8th double dotted 4th 16th 8th... etc. You don't necessarily think about it this way, but what's written becomes more a literal function of duration, and less a matter of how the music is divided. Again, this applies to key signatures also. The harder the music gets, the more I abhor dealing with key signatures; a lot of performing musicians feel this way... part of my job is rearranging older music, specifically to remove key signatures from it for musicians who have to sit in and sight read it.

The harder the music gets, the more you want to simplify it for the performer. That means extraneous things that they don't care about need to go. Ives is famous for writing a piece of music with a direction at the top saying "Write in bar lines where they make sense."

Generally speaking, but not always, if you give a performer a piece of music with a time sig of 13/whatever, one of two things will happen. Either they're not even going to see it, because they don't care, or you're going to confuse them. Worse, you may get both, at different times.
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