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  • #19105

    Chantelle
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 44

    There has been some students asking about time signatures, so with noteflight I have made a reference: https://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/0a3b19786f50d64de91798e92e69bd5552f2a1ee
    The top note of any time signature is the number of beats per bar. The bottom number tells you the type of note that is being used for the beat.

    With that being said, the most important thing to notice in the “score” is the top staff. It shows you the beat for each time signature as well as the strength of the beat (through written accents). When you get to the time signatures that are in 6,9, and 12, it shows what is called the “pulsation”. It is important to know the difference between “beat” and “pulsation” for these time signatures because either can be used to keep time. For example, 6/8 time, depending on the tempo, can be counted as “1 2 3 4 5 6” (the beat) or as “1 2” (the pulsation).

    Afterwards I show the different triplets and how they can be divided.

    After that are the time signatures that are the most uncommon: 5/4 and 7/4. (they can also be in 5/8, and 7/8, but I figure you will understand the concept from the previous examples) It is also important to recognize the difference in “beat” and “pulsation” for these time signatures as well because their pulsations can be grouped differently. 5/4 can be grouped as 3+2, or 2+3. 7/4: 3+2+2, 3+4, 2+2+3, or 4+3. If you don’t understand them, that’s ok. They are very rare in classical music because they are difficult to count.

    If you want to know what 5/4 (3+2 grouping) sounds like, it is used in some parts of Lord of the Rings. It’s between 5:04-5:40 of this recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywERL6h8ep8
    I had recently performed this arrangement with my pops symphony. Maybe when the video is up I’ll share a link to it too!

    If you have any questions, or need clarification, I can easily update the score.

    Chantelle Ko
    VTP Teacher

    #19114

    Musicloverk
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 205

    I’ve never heard the concept of pulsation a before. Not sure that I understand what it is.

    #19128

    Chantelle
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 44

    If we use 6/8 as an example, there are 6 beats within one bar and the type of note that we count as the beat is the 8th note. However, depending on the tempo (how fast or slow), conductors will count in 2. Meaning they will wave a “beat” on beat one, and then wave a second “beat” on beat 4. So, in other words, instead of counting 6 individual beats, we divide it in half and count a “beat” on the first note of every group of three 8th notes. This larger “beat” is called the pulsation so that we don’t get our terminology confused with the 8th note beat. If you look at measures in 6/4 and 6/8, I have added accents to show where the pulsations are.

    With time signature in 9 or 12, the same concept applies by dividing and counting the downbeats in every group of three. Therefore, 9/8 would have three pulsations, and 12/8 has 4 pulsations.

    Does this make more sense?

    #19148

    Musicloverk
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 205

    Yes, thank you.

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