These are time signatures which have a denominator which is not a power of two (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.). These are used to express the division of a whole note (semibreve) into equal parts just as ordinary signatures do. For example, where 4/4 implies a bar construction of four quarter-parts of a whole note (i.e., four quarter notes), 4/3 implies a bar construction of four third-parts of it. These signatures are only of utility when juxtaposed with other signatures with varying denominators; a piece written entirely in 4/3, say, could be more legibly written out in 4/4.

i was reminded of this from reading a part in another thread, which 4/10 IS possible (as wikipedia states above), though im so confused as to HOW.

i think i understand the part of where 4/3 could be written out in 4/4, it seems like it counts the same but note lengths are changed from bar to bar. so that, going from 4/4 to 4/3, would be equivalent to making the 4 quarter notes into 4 notes 3/4 the length of quarter notes?
Yes.
The bottom number is what kind of notes your counting, the top is how many of them are in a measure. If you know that, then you can figure out any time signiture.
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
The bottom number is what kind of notes your counting
This is true in simple time but not compound time. Please read up on the difference. Gpb writes good things on this subject.

Here's my question: Other than to try to annoy me, why would anyone use a meter with something on the bottom that's not in 2^n form where n is a positive integer?
Quote by bangoodcharlote
This is true in simple time but not compound time. Please read up on the difference. Gpb writes good things on this subject.

Here's my question: Other than to try to annoy me, why would anyone use a meter with something on the bottom that's not in 2^n form where n is a positive integer?

Its true in compound time too. And because its easier to read the notes and note values once you get used to it.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
You are most definately not counting 8th notes in 12/8 time.

Yes you are, your just feeling the 1st 4th 7th and 10th beats the strongest. But in reality, you should be subconsciously counting all 12 eight notes.
And in reality, you should be subconsciously counting the 8th, and the 16th, and maybe even the 32nd notes in 4/4 time, but that doesn't mean that we should call it 32/32
(Slightly outdated) Electronic and classical compositions by m'self: Check 'em out
Quote by psychodelia
And in reality, you should be subconsciously counting the 8th, and the 16th, and maybe even the 32nd notes in 4/4 time, but that doesn't mean that we should call it 32/32

I sub divide in 8th and 16th notes all the time in 4/4. It makes coming in on 16th and 8th notes after rests much easier, and it also improves your timing over long 8th and 16th note fills, as well as making syncopation much more locked in. I highly recommend sub dividing to any musician, especially those that read music.
If you are going to count the 32nd notes, then it IS 32/32. Just like how in cut time, you count half notes instead of quarter notes, and it's 2/2, instead of 4/4. For a more complex example, 9/8 means to count nine eigth notes.

Quote by Sabaren
i was reminded of this from reading a part in another thread, which 4/10 IS possible (as wikipedia states above), though im so confused as to HOW.

i think i understand the part of where 4/3 could be written out in 4/4, it seems like it counts the same but note lengths are changed from bar to bar. so that, going from 4/4 to 4/3, would be equivalent to making the 4 quarter notes into 4 notes 3/4 the length of quarter notes?

Let's say a quarter note is a quarter. In 4/4 you have 4 quarters, making your measure worth \$1. In 5/4, you have 5 quarters, so your measure is worth \$1.25. In 4/10, you'd have 4 dimes instead. The problem is that there's no common symbol for a tenth note, so you'd have to use your imagination when composing or reading in that time signature. Tuplets might do the job, but the ratio would be extremely ugly, confusing, and impractical, especially with that particular signature (4/10). That's why it's called irrational: it makes no sense, and if you try to use it, you're not thinking rationally. Nobody would dare use 4/10. (Take that as a challenge.)
Last edited by KRSplat at May 3, 2008,
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It means to count 3 dotted quarter notes. Nine 8th notes would be a measure or 5/4 followed by 4/4 (or flip it).

No, it really is 9 eight notes. The three dotted quarter notes just makes it easier to feel, but its still 9 eight notes.
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
No, it really is 9 eight notes. The three dotted quarter notes just makes it easier to feel, but its still 9 eight notes.
And it's also 18 16th notes and 36 32nd notes and 72 64th notes and 144 128th notes.

You count 9/8 as 1 and uh 2 and uh 3 and uh. It is compound time and the 8th note does not get the beat.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
And it's also 18 16th notes and 36 32nd notes and 72 64th notes and 144 128th notes.

You count 9/8 as 1 and uh 2 and uh 3 and uh. It is compound time and the 8th note does not get the beat.

No, its 9 8th notes. Thats why its called 9/8.
Quote by :-D
^Perhaps this person is "imnobedhead" reincarnated?
Did that happen over the summer? I wasn't around much then.

Anyway, 9/8 obviously contains 9 8th notes, but to say that the 8th note gets the beat is wrong. In most cases, 9/8 will be treated as a compound meter. I used it once in the midst of 4/4 just to add an extra 8th note, but that's the only time I've seen it used as something other than compound.

Please, Mr. Zep, make sure you understand compound meters.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Did that happen over the summer? I wasn't around much then.

Anyway, 9/8 obviously contains 9 8th notes, but to say that the 8th note gets the beat is wrong. In most cases, 9/8 will be treated as a compound meter. I used it once in the midst of 4/4 just to add an extra 8th note, but that's the only time I've seen it used as something other than compound.

Please, Mr. Zep, make sure you understand compound meters.

I do understand compound meters. Can you tell me how many times youve read through music written in 9/8?
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
I do understand compound meters. Can you tell me how many times youve read through music written in 9/8?
It's not terribly common, but I've done stuff in 9/8 time.

Quote by :-D
Nope, you were involved in the thread:
Surely you'll remember that one fondly.
No wonder n00bs can't learn anything. The amount of stupid things said in that thread is staggering.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at May 4, 2008,
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
No, its 9 8th notes. Thats why its called 9/8.

9 eighth notes certainly fit into a measure of a 9/8, but the eighth note does not get the beat. There are three beats in a measure of 9/8.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It's not terribly common, but I've done stuff in 9/8 time.

Like how much, 3 or 4 pieces? I can tell you of hundreds of 9/8 pieces that ive read through, and in all of them, it is much more helpful to think of 9 eight notes then 3 dotted quarter notes. If you do not read music often, then 3 dotted quarter notes will be easier because most musicians that dont read a lot of music cant really handle counting all those beats while figuring out notes, but if you read as much as I do (I play tuba, so I read CONSTANTLY) you start thinking of every beat.

The real reason you feel it as 3 dotted quarter notes is because it makes it easier for a conductor to conduct 3 dotted quarter notes then 9 eight notes. At the tempo most X/8's are taken, his arm would fall off.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the way conductors count used to be the only way anyone counted because if you were in a band, you were in an orchestra. So that way became popular and is now the standard for counting X/8
Last edited by zeppelinfreak51 at May 4, 2008,
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Let me guess, D. The next thing he'll say is, "Why should I listen to a guy who thinks B# and E# don't exist, nor does the natural minor?"

What? That's not basic music theory? *stunned*
You count 9/8 as 1 and uh 2 and uh 3 and uh. It is compound time and the 8th note does not get the beat.

-bangoodcharlote, you just counted that off as eighth notes, not 3 dotted quarters. It seems that the line between 'time signature' and 'stress of the beats that make up each measure (rhythm)' is getting blurred. Just because you are only stessing the 1st 4th and 7th beats in your count does not mean the basic unit of an eighth note has changed. With a faster paced piece of music a conductor will most likely conduct in a three beat pattern so as not to pass out, but if you are reading that score of music the eighth note is basic unit for each measure.

9/8 time is regarded as 9 eighth notes per measure. It can be subdivided into units of three classified as a compound triple rhythm, which is 3 groups of 3 beats.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It's regarded as three triplets.

Seriously dude, the only reason you feel it as three triplets is because conductors cant conduct fast enough to do 9 eight notes. You SHOULD be counting 8th notes.
Again when YOU counted it as '1 and ah 2 and ah 3 and ah' that is 9 beats not 3 as you are trying to say. You are only stressing 3 of the 9 beats.
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
Seriously dude, the only reason you feel it as three triplets is because conductors cant conduct fast enough to do 9 eight notes. You SHOULD be counting 8th notes.

+1
imo, the subdivision is only for the conductor's convenience and to indicate the strong beats. The emphasis is on 1, 4, and 7, but if it wasn't 9 eighth notes why didn't they just notate it as 3/4 with eigth-note triplets? Voila, 3 beats and you feel the quarter rather than eighths. No, you need to feel all 9 eighth notes in 9/8, just with 1, 4, and 7 emphasized.
Personally I count at least the beat note and one level below it whenever possible for rhythmic accuracy. Eighths or even sixteenths in x/4, in x/8 it depends on the piece but I usually count the eighths (ONE two three FOUR five six SEV eight nine...) and feel the sixteenth upbeats as "and". I rarely, if ever, count 9/8 1-and-a-2-and-a-3-and-a, though I do count triplets as 1-and-a. (The orchestra teacher at my school says one-tee-tah, which most of us find kind of weird-sounding.) That may seem like an insignificant difference, but it certainly seems to make a difference in my rhythmic perception when I play. I know the conductors I've played under generally recommend we always count at least one subdivision of the beat, often they want us to feel the subdivision beneath that subdivision for accuracy.

Back to the original topic though, why would you write/play in irrational time signatures anyway? Writing in it has to be hard enough that it seems ridiculous for a composer to write it just because they can, and I'd think performers will have as much trouble reading it. There has to be a reason, though I have no idea what. Somebody enlighten us?
Last edited by Nightfyre at May 4, 2008,
+1 Looking back through some of my music fundamental books it doesn't even refer to irrational time sigs. It seems a little rediculous when it probably wouldn't be used for an entire piece and if thats the case there are special subdivisions for stringing together notes to be played in a particular meter of music.
IMO 9/8 is really 9 eighths, and it's not like dotted quarters is the only way it can be subdivided. 3 quarters and a dotted quarter has been used. Having 9 is really the only distinction from 3/4 it has.

Then again, I haven't read up too much on rhythmic stuff; I spend much more time with harmonic material.
Quote by grampastumpy
IMO 9/8 is really 9 eighths, and it's not like dotted quarters is the only way it can be subdivided. 3 quarters and a dotted quarter has been used. Having 9 is really the only distinction from 3/4 it has.
You can divide up the rhythm however you want, but it's still the same as playing in 4/4 with a 3 3 2 pattern. 9/8 is generally used as 3/4 with triplets, though it could be 4/4 plus an 8th note.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
You can divide up the rhythm however you want, but it's still the same as playing in 4/4 with a 3 3 2 pattern. 9/8 is generally used as 3/4 with triplets, though it could be 4/4 plus an 8th note.
Wait, 4/4? Are you talking about 8/8 or something or am I totally lost? And wouldn't 3/4 with triplets and 4/4 plus an eighth be totally different things? So if 9/8 can be 2 2 2 3, 3 3 3, or whatever, is it just that three dotted quarters is the standard way?

Man, I need to get this stuff cleared up.
Quote by grampastumpy
Wait, 4/4? Are you talking about 8/8 or something or am I totally lost? And wouldn't 3/4 with triplets and 4/4 plus an eighth be totally different things? So if 9/8 can be 2 2 2 3, 3 3 3, or whatever, is it just that three dotted quarters is the standard way?

Man, I need to get this stuff cleared up.

4/4 is typically ONE and TWO and etc, but you can change the accents so it's something like ONE and two AND three and FOUR and. Things like this make music interesting.

3/4 with triplets contains 9 8th notes; it is 9/8. 4/4 plus an 8th note also contains 9 8th notes, but it's feel is drastically different than standard 9/8 time. Feeling 9/8 as triplets in 3/4 is standard, but you could do something else. You should probably group the notes differently, though.
lol, yeah, I understand syncopation. But what I mean is how before, you(and others) said that 9/8 is regarded 3 dotted quarters, despite all the other possibilities. I'm guessing now that that's just the standard, context-free way to describe a bar of 9/8?
9/8 is typically 3 dotted quarter notes, triplets in 3/4. However, there are other feels that take up the time of 9 8th notes. If this is the case, see if there is a better way of writing the music since 9/8 is typically thought of as triplets in 3/4.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
You can divide up the rhythm however you want, but it's still the same as playing in 4/4 with a 3 3 2 pattern. 9/8 is generally used as 3/4 with triplets, though it could be 4/4 plus an 8th note.

I thought you said you rarely play in 9/8? So if you rarely do, why are you questioning the authority of people who play and read in 9/8 on a normal basis?
Quote by zeppelinfreak51
I thought you said you rarely play in 9/8? So if you rarely do, why are you questioning the authority of people who play and read in 9/8 on a normal basis?
Who usually plays in 9/8?
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Who usually plays in 9/8?

I play in it often enough. I just had a gig this evening involving a piece that had all of 20 bars or so of 3/4 or 4/4, mostly 9/8, 12/8, some 6/8, and a few 7/4 and 3/2 bars.
On that note, to use your logic why shouldn't we just count 4/4 like 2/2? The 1 and 3 get the emphasis, let's just make those the important notes and thus since they get the emphasis it's really in 2/2.
Or not, and we could realize that the composer chose 9/8 because the eighth gets the beat, not the dotted quarter. Counting the dotted quarter is a mechanism of convenience. If the composer wanted you counting the dotted quarter he would've written 4/4 with triplets. 9/8 has a clear and simple purpose. And yes, you could count it as 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and-a or a similar mixture of three groups of two and a group of three, but usually it's in three groups of three, just as quarter notes in 4/4 are in groups of two. Yet I don't see you questioning the use of 4/4...