View Full Version : Odd meter

05-29-2002, 04:14 AM
I would like to know a little bit more about odd meters
Please Help me :confused:

05-29-2002, 01:15 PM
Hi Batboy,

What excactly would you like to know? Could ya be a bit more specific?

Is there a certain odd meter ya interested in? how to count it? or ..??


05-29-2002, 03:21 PM
Hi Batboy,

well, I guess I could give away some basic exercises ragrding odd metres. One of the most important things is to be familiar with the sound of them, or rather to know how to count them.

When I introduce students to the subject, I tend to not only tap the rhythm out to them with my foot, or count them the regular way ( "1-2-3-4" or in 8th notes: "1+2+3+4+" ), I also give them listening recommendations, some basic ones and some specific ones... example: "3/4 is a common waltz-rhythm, also being used a lot in folk music"... or "The song "Sacred Ground" by the Steve Morse Band is in 12/8", or "a good example for 5/4 would be "Take Five" etc.

Well, one of the first exercises I let them go through is this one:



īMIDI (http://www.ericvandenberg.com/ibreathe/meter.mid)

As you can see, itīs a repeating 4 bar exercise. Every segment ( every four bar bit ) ends on a different time signature. Like, the second section ends on 2/4, the third on 3/4

Since weīre playing straight eighth notes, itīs kinda easy to count. Like, in the segment:
Count "1-and-2-and-3-and-4and" for the first three bars, then for the bar of 7/8, count "1+2+3+4" ( no "and" after 4. You could also count "One-two-three-four-five-six-and". Itīs better to use a word like "and" since the word has two syllables... this is the subject of an old "musicians running gag", which I guess doesnt matter right now ) and start all over again.

Look at the notes and just count through the whole thing that way.
Then grab your guitar and play it. Focus on playing exactly the right amount of notes at the right note value. If you concentrate on that, you might just play through the whole exercise, without even noticing youīre eg. playing a bar of 7/8.
Hope this was interesting to you, if you have any other questions, let us know
Warm regards

05-30-2002, 01:43 PM
Yeah Eric, I think this is a great way to get into that kind of stuff.

I'm just thinking about 5/4 as this is used quite often. Listen to Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five' or Sting's 'Seven Days'.

Both tunes are based around dividing the 5/4 into 3 and 2, meaning the accents are on beat 1 and 4.

count : ||: 1 2 3 4 5 :||
sound: ||: 1 2 3 1 2 :||

whereas the second 1 isn't as strong as the first 1.

You could also divide a 5/4 into 2 and 3:

count : ||: 1 2 3 4 5 :||
sound: ||: 1 2 1 2 3 :||

Quite often I do get the question why something is written in 6/8 or 6/4 and not in 3/4 as it basically is the same thing.

||: 1 2 3|1 2 3 :||
||: 1 2 3 4 5 6 :||

The difference is in the accents that fall on 1 or 4. The 4 in a 6/8 or 6/4 is not as strong as a 1 in a 3/4.


05-30-2002, 02:16 PM
... I remember this student of mine who once came to a lesson and told me "Here, I wrote this great riff, itīs in 5/6"
I was like "Gee, canīt wait to hear it..." :D

Warm regards

05-30-2002, 02:24 PM

05-30-2002, 09:57 PM
LOL :D :D :D

05-31-2002, 03:27 AM
Traditional Music theory tells us there is only two kinds of meter, duple and triple, all other meters are combinations of these two.

In a strict mathematical sense this is correct, it is a bit like prime numbers. All even meters are compounded duple, or at least can be represented as componded duple, that doesn't mead the can't be 'Odd'. More often the meters that are choices for being classified as 'Odd' are going to begin with have an odd number of beats. For instance 9/8 like JS Bach's Jesu really is triple triple so I would not classify this as an 'Odd' meter.
If the meter is broken down into regular groupings of the same base type (duple, or triple) it is not really 'Odd'.

Meters that have elements of both duple and triple are going to be be 'Odd' not necessarily odd in the mathematical sense. For instance 10/8 where it is really broken down as 3/4 3/4 3/4 2/4 is 'Odd' but not odd. Even 8/8 time broken down as 3/4/3/4 2/4 is 'Odd' but not odd. ( A lot of Heavy guitar rhythm parts use this meter).

Get it?

05-31-2002, 10:41 AM
nice one szulc :)

05-31-2002, 11:24 AM
Since I am an engineer by profession and no longer a musician (for money), it is impossible for me not to look at these things with out a math context. I offer my strange point of view to give another angle for the actual musicians to use.

It has alway been a tight rope for me to walk, thinking vs mindlessness when improvising, I try to use the brain only when the inspiration is on hold. To fill in the gaps between inspired moments.


06-02-2002, 03:44 PM
Originally posted by szulc
Since I am an engineer by profession and no longer a musician (for money), it is impossible for me not to look at these things with out a math context.

I forget english is a second language for a lot of the people here, so just in case they didn't get it, this is what I realy wanted to say.

Since I am an engineer by profession and no longer a musician (for money), it is impossible for me to look at these things with out a math context.