#1
I'm composing a new song, and through a series of trial and error (I don't really know anything about theory) discovered that it needs to be in 5/4 timing.

I can't for the life of me work out any good drumbeats or riffs (its a piano driven song) in this timing, can anyone help me learn how to go about it?
#2
i'm assuming you're having trouble with the placement of the snare hits. unless you're doing a weird rhythm. if you're just doing a simple drum part, i'd say either have one snare hit on the same beat each measure. if you're going for something a little more complex, you could have a snare hit every 4 eighth note. that results in it being somewhat offbeat in 5/4, but it could sound cool, depending on the song. just experiment.
#3
I tried that, but still can't get anything the way I want it :S

Also, if anyone can give me any tips at all on anything to do with 5/4 timing, like how it works etc, that'd be great.
#4
Why does it "need" to be in 5/4?
There's no trick to writing in 5/4. You simply need to become used to hearing five beats per bar.
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.
#5
I would suggest bass its on the first and third beats and snare hits on all the other beats. Or you could do a bass hit on the first and second beats and snare on all the beats.
This will get a pretty simple (but effective) rock drum beat.

Riffs should emphasis the first beat of a bar. If you chose the first drumbeat pattern I suggested, that the third beat should also be emphasised. If you choose the other one, than the second beat should be emphasised instead of the first beat.
If you wanted a chugging sort of riff (generic metal sort of thing), than you might want to have the powerchords hit when the snare hits and chugging on all the other notes. Or you could have it the other way around. In a lot of rock and jazz, chord hits seem to be played on the weaker beats, although sometimes it's the other way around (chord hits on the stronger beats).

To sum up, writing in 5/4 is the exact same as 4/4, except instead of strong beats on 1 and 3, you have strong beats on '1 and 3' or '1 and 2' (you must choose one). As long as you know which beats are stronger than other beats in a time signature you shouldnt be getting any trouble.

Keep in mind all music in anything but 4/4, 2/4, 6/8 and 3/4 will sound weird. This is just because our ears arent used to hearing such rhthys. Africans (tribal africans), some middle-eastern people, some eastern europeans and hispanic people wouldnt hear anything weird about these signatures (as alot of folk music from these places are in even weirder signatures than 5/4).
#6
To sum up, writing in 5/4 is the exact same as 4/4, except instead of strong beats on 1 and 3, you have strong beats on '1 and 3' or '1 and 2' (you must choose one)


I have never seen either of those pairs of beats emphasized, so you certainly don't have to choose either of them.
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.
#7
Quote by demonofthenight

Keep in mind all music in anything but 4/4, 2/4, 6/8 and 3/4 will sound weird. This is just because our ears arent used to hearing such rhthys. Africans (tribal africans), some middle-eastern people, some eastern europeans and hispanic people wouldnt hear anything weird about these signatures (as alot of folk music from these places are in even weirder signatures than 5/4).

*cough*3/8, 12/8, 2/2, 2/4 (and probably others)*cough*

I've read before that are brains like in 2/4 and 4/4 because it is similar to the way our heart beats.

Also, you should work out where the strong beats actually go (because they can go a few places in 5/4) then make sure the drums accent those beats.
#8
Quote by Archeo Avis
I have never seen either of those pairs of beats emphasized, so you certainly don't have to choose either of them.
I guess you're right, but you're an ass. It would be nice if you corrected me.

The correct counting method for 5/4 is: 1 2 3 1 2 or 1 2 1 2 3, the stressed beats are bolded. Sorry T/S.
#10
I think someone touched on it; but best bet is just to 'forget' its in 5/4... write the beat that fits the song as it occurs to you!
Once We Were Anarchists
#11
Quote by demonofthenight


The correct counting method for 5/4 is: 1 2 3 1 2 or 1 2 1 2 3, the stressed beats are bolded. Sorry T/S.


Why are those the only "correct" stressed beats in 5/4. Common, sure, but why "correct"?

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

As strange as they may sound, there should be no problem stressing the above beats, right...?
#12
Quote by Paquijón
Why are those the only "correct" stressed beats in 5/4. Common, sure, but why "correct"?

1 2 3 4 5

1 2 3 4 5

As strange as they may sound, there should be no problem stressing the above beats, right...?
It's just how the mind interprets 5/4. Just like how the mind interprets 4/4 as 1 2 3 4 or 3/4 as 1 2 3. It's how music has been taught for the last 1000 years.
#13
^^ So what about reggae? What, indeed, about 5/4 sycopated reggae-jazz? Huh, huh?
Once We Were Anarchists
#14
Quote by 12345abcd3
*cough*3/8, 12/8, 2/2, 2/4 (and probably others)*cough*

I've read before that are brains like in 2/4 and 4/4 because it is similar to the way our heart beats.

Also, you should work out where the strong beats actually go (because they can go a few places in 5/4) then make sure the drums accent those beats.

I always thought it was because of our walking patten.
anywho,
What i'd do in that is have the snares come in as normal 4/4 but then add an extra snare to line up the next time around, something like this B=bassdrum S=snare
BSBSS/BSBSS/BSBSS
something like that. Listen to my band www.myspace.com/gaijinlondon
Infected with a black seed is full of crazy time sigs
#15
Don't be afraid to change time signatures, even on a bar to bar basis. there's one song I wrote that is a little over two minutes in length (right now, it isn't finished) and I change time signatures in it a whole bunch of times. I ended up using 4/4 and 2/4 as the main one, 6/4 for a while, and the weird one being 7/8 and 13/8.

Don't be afraid to use a wole bunch of different time signatures to make it sound right.
ALWAYS

WANNA BE WITH YOU,
MAKE BELIEV
E WITH YOU,
AND L
IVE IN HARMONY, HARMONY,



OH, LOOVE!
#16
I'm composing a new song, and through a series of trial and error (I don't really know anything about theory) discovered that it needs to be in 5/4 timing.

I can't for the life of me work out any good drumbeats or riffs (its a piano driven song) in this timing, can anyone help me learn how to go about it?

my tips !: (no particular order)
a:listen to as much music as you can in 5/4 time (youtube ? )
b:practise writing down rhtyhms using crochets and quavers in 5/4 time
c:try and perform short pieces/phrases in 5/4 to friends and family.

d:learn about the pulse in "compound time" and "simple time"
experiment with "poly rhtyhms " in 5/4 i.e a bar of 6/8 followed by a bar of 2/4 will last for the same length as a bar of 5/4

please let me know (message me ? )if you find this useful ,
#17
At the mention of a 5/4 time sig the first thing that comes to mind is number of the beast (got to be the most famous song with a 5/4 time sig) so I would say that listen to it a few times take note of the riffs that are used and what the drum patern is etc, and go from there
#18
Quote by demonofthenight
It's just how the mind interprets 5/4. Just like how the mind interprets 4/4 as 1 2 3 4 or 3/4 as 1 2 3. It's how music has been taught for the last 1000 years.


Wut. Call me crazy but my mind can interpret a key signature with various beats stressed in it, not just the one's you've listed. Based on a variety of African and Latin American music, I'd say I'm not the only one in the world who "interprets" these key signatures the way you have mentioned them.
#19
Quote by Paquijón
Wut. Call me crazy but my mind can interpret a key signature with various beats stressed in it, not just the one's you've listed. Based on a variety of African and Latin American music, I'd say I'm not the only one in the world who "interprets" these key signatures the way you have mentioned them.
Seeing as this is a forum (mostly) full of westerners writing music for other westerners who have been taught primarily by westerners, can we keep the music western? It's nice to occasionally talk about ethnic music, but most people are more interested in writing western music.

The way I see it, when we are writing melodies and lyrics we put emphasis on those beats, otherwise the lyrics and melodies wont have much of a flow. There needs to be some sort of pattern in the rhythym. This is what the books I've read seem to imply.

By all means, if you want to syncopate than do so. But the reason why syncopation sounds cool is because it transgresses from the what I've listed.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Oct 31, 2008,
#20
a time signature should not be a constraint, it should be totally natural. for example every body hurts by REM it is in 6/8 and every thing about it is natural
Here lies a problem that most guitar players face in this day of internet tab and short attention spans — they don't know how to express themselves.

-Nick Layton
#21
Quote by demonofthenight
It's just how the mind interprets 5/4. Just like how the mind interprets 4/4 as 1 2 3 4 or 3/4 as 1 2 3. It's how music has been taught for the last 1000 years.


My mind has never interpreted 5/4 that way. In fact, those patterns of stresses seem strange and unnatural. Every use of 5/4 that I have ever heard has used of the subdivisions that Paquijón listed.
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.
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
My mind has never interpreted 5/4 that way. In fact, those patterns of stresses seem strange and unnatural. Every use of 5/4 that I have ever heard has used of the subdivisions that Paquijón listed.
Now that I look at it again, I cant see any difference.

He wrote: 1 2 3 4 5
I wrote: 1 2 3 1 2

We actually meant the same thing, except I started counting again at the second stressed beat. Once again we almost argued in agreeance.

What I did sort of have a problem with was this: 1 2 3 4 5
Isnt that the same as what we both wrote (1 2 3 4 5) except starting on a weak beat instead of a stressed beat (rearrange it)? And why would a pattern of stresses and unstresses start on an unstressed beat? Wouldnt that just be anacrusis?
#23
a trick a drummer taught me to drumming 5/4 is to count it differently.

it might be easier to make up a beat by counting "1 and 2 and 3 1 and 2 and 3"
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
#24
What I did sort of have a problem with was this: 1 2 3 4 5
Isnt that the same as what we both wrote (1 2 3 4 5) except starting on a weak beat instead of a stressed beat (rearrange it)? And why would a pattern of stresses and unstresses start on an unstressed beat?


I've never actually heard 5/4 counted that way, but I have heard 4/4 counted: 1 2 3 4 (in Meshuggah's Rational Gaze), and it seemed to work well enough.

Rational Gaze: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBLjLV8AGIA
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.
#25
Quote by Archeo Avis
I've never actually heard 5/4 counted that way, but I have heard 4/4 counted: 1 2 3 4 (in Meshuggah's Rational Gaze), and it seemed to work well enough.

Rational Gaze: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBLjLV8AGIA
Can you trust me that the first beat of a bar (regardless of the time signature) is always stressed?

Also, if something was counted like that, I would say whats happening is anacrusis. This means the song starts on a weak beat somewhere in the middle of a bar. I think the transcription you found barred the song wrong.
#26
Also, if something was counted like that, I would say whats happening is anacrusis. This means the song starts on a weak beat somewhere in the middle of a bar. I think the transcription you found barred the song wrong.


Listen to the song. It's very clearly counted: 1 2 3 4
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.
#27
Quote by Archeo Avis
Listen to the song. It's very clearly counted: 1 2 3 4
And I'm saying its probably more like 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 so on. You wouldnt really be able to hear the difference, but its like saying a Cb and a B are the same thing.
#28
Quote by demonofthenight
Seeing as this is a forum (mostly) full of westerners writing music for other westerners who have been taught primarily by westerners, can we keep the music western? It's nice to occasionally talk about ethnic music, but most people are more interested in writing western music.


Yes, you have a very fair point. Sorry.
#29
I've got a question about time signatures with seven beats per measure; if I'm playing a riff that uses seven beats in a measure, but it's straight quarter notes, would you write it as 7/4? Or would you write it as 7/8?
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#30
Quote by Page&HammettFan
I've got a question about time signatures with seven beats per measure; if I'm playing a riff that uses seven beats in a measure, but it's straight quarter notes, would you write it as 7/4? Or would you write it as 7/8?
Pretty sure its 7/4.

7/8 is 7 eighth notes. But, according to where you put stresses (or dont put stresses in), it could also be 14/8. In the 14/8, you put more stresses in than 7/4. I dont know how as I've never written a song in 7/4.
#31
The easiest 5/4 feel for me (I grew up a drummer) is with the bass drum on the 1, the snare on 3 and the bass drum on 5. The bass drum on 5 kind of brings the beat back around that way. That was the first 5/4 beat I got comfortable with anyway. It makes it feel a bit like a triplet kind of thing - if you play a lot of 5/4 stuff, they do feel a bit triplet like.

Another simple one is the bass drum on 1 and the snare on 4.

Try empasising/tapping your foot with those 2 kind of feels in mind and go from there.
#32
There's a riff in Rush's Circumstances that's been notated as 7/8 in one TAB that I saw. They play something like 17 notes or something in this sequence (the last part of it being 4/4). Would this just be two measures of 7/8, or one measure (in either case having the measure of 4/4 on there right before the chorus)?
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