Because they're getting in my way.  The phrases in my current piece work best across 4.5 beats.  But you can't write 4.5/4. Confining it to 4/4 really changes its rhythmic nature so much that it isn't what I want. Does this mean something is wrong with my phrasing or that we should seriously consider time signatures as optional?

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  • Just switch to 9/8 in that measure, that should solve it.

    There is no rule that says you have to stay in one time signature, you can change it as often as you want. Nor is there any rule that say you even need one, but they do help performers in find their way around the music.
  • the only time i could understand not using time signatures is if the number of beats change in nearly every bar. I would still use bar lines to help with the phrasing. What it sounds like you have though, is just a simple case of a less common time signature. As others have stated, it's just 9/8. If you want you could write 9/8 and then in parenthesis add 2+2+2+3/8 (or whatever however you see the beats dividing) to help distinguish it from the more common (3+3+3/8) triplet feel that 9/8 usually implies. you could even put 4.5/4 in parenthesis. hell, you could even just use 4.5/4 as the time signature. It's unusual, but pretty clear what you mean, and certainly better than not using a time signature at all.
  • hey
    i just thought to add somethings. You can write 4.5/4 (i have seen 3.5/4 in a trinity Guildhall piano exam), and 4.5/4 isn't interchangeable with 9/8. 9/8 is compound time and compound time has a different phrasing. 4.5/4 would feel like this 1 + 2 +, 3 + 4 + 5. 9/8 would feel like 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9. which is a totaly different feel. which is kinda like playing 3/4 but with lots of triplets.so it depends how you want your piece to feel.

    So if you want it to feel like 4/4 with an extra half beat write 4.5/4, and if you want it to feel like 3/4 lots of triplets write 9/8.

    you can write it anyway you want, but in saying that. I think its important to make it as easy as you can for the performer to read. Then they are more likely to play it :).
  • lol yea i agree its not a good way to explain that. your way is better. my bad

    I agree you could write 9/8 and write. 3/4 + 3/8, and 2/4 + 5/8 are a little bit different to 4.5/4, but you could get away with it. it all comes down to how you want it to sound/look like. There is no real right answer. These theory rules are just there so make it easier for a player to read the piece. Your the composer and its your piece you can write what ever you want :). just keep in mind the performer.

    maybe you want it hard to read lol. It could be the point of the piece. it could be a picture of how hard life is and how you have to struggle in life, so you express this by making it hard for the performer to read ... lol. You can use your own brain to think up some more reasons... :P


    Thomas Green said:
    "4.5/4 isn't interchangeable with 9/8. 9/8 is compound time and compound time has a different phrasing. 4.5/4 would feel like this 1 + 2 +, 3 + 4 + 5. 9/8 would feel like 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9."

    Hayden, it's true that 4.5/4 is a real time signature. But it'd be 1(and)+2(and)+3(and)+4(and)+"and" (not 5). I think you knew that, but just to clarify :)

    Also, I think 9/8 is passable - you're right, it does imply that triplet pulse, but you can go against that using accents. I reckon the best way to do it is just to use two smaller time sigs....which ones depend on where you want the emphasis to go... so eg 3/4 + 3/8, or 2/4 + 5/8. Which ones you use depends on how your phrase goes.
    Time signatures and measure bars - do we really need them?
    Because they're getting in my way.  The phrases in my current piece work best across 4.5 beats.  But you can't write 4.5/4. Confining it to 4/4 reall…
  • I don't know that i agree with your statement that 4.5/4 and 9/8 aren't interchangeable. It's true that most 9/8 pieces have a triplet feel, and it would be wise to clarify that you don't want that, but there certainly isn't any reason that it must have a triplet feel, and i have definitely heard 9/8 and 12/8 pieces that don't divide into groups of 3. 9/8 just means nine eight-notes in each bar. it doesn't say anything about where the strong beats fall even though some musicians may infer. take 7/8 for example. there are plenty of pieces where 7/8 is divided as 2+2+2+1 or 2+2+3 (sounds like 4/4 with half a beat missing,) others that are 4+3 and some that are 3+4. there are even pieces where it's not divided at all and the only strong beat is on the one.



    Hayden Isaac said:
    hey
    i just thought to add somethings. You can write 4.5/4 (i have seen 3.5/4 in a trinity Guildhall piano exam), and 4.5/4 isn't interchangeable with 9/8. 9/8 is compound time and compound time has a different phrasing. 4.5/4 would feel like this 1 + 2 +, 3 + 4 + 5. 9/8 would feel like 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9. which is a totaly different feel. which is kinda like playing 3/4 but with lots of triplets.so it depends how you want your piece to feel.

    So if you want it to feel like 4/4 with an extra half beat write 4.5/4, and if you want it to feel like 3/4 lots of triplets write 9/8.

    you can write it anyway you want, but in saying that. I think its important to make it as easy as you can for the performer to read. Then they are more likely to play it :).
    Time signatures and measure bars - do we really need them?
    Because they're getting in my way.  The phrases in my current piece work best across 4.5 beats.  But you can't write 4.5/4. Confining it to 4/4 reall…
  • fair enough

    its a basic music theory to split compound time into 3.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_signature#Compound_time_signatures

    you can group dotted quarter notes into twos like it says at this site

    http://www.musicarrangers.com/star-theory/t10.htm

    therefore 9/8 is like playing 3/4 with three sets of triplets. if the dotted quarter note = a quarter note.

    the reason why i say those two signatures is not interchangeable, is the same reason why 3/4 and 6/8 isn't interchangeable

    but like i said earlier you can write what ever you want since your the composer, and sure you prolly can find pieces that go against this, like any rule, someone breaks it at some point or another.
    These rules are there just there to make it easier for you to tell the player what to play. But you can write it how ever you want. as long as they player understands what your getting at :)
  • 4/4+1/8 as time signature wouldn't work?
  • Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation! I wasn't thinking in a 4/4 measure and then following a 1/8 measure. I attach a PDF to show, what I was meaning. Depending how Michael wants to have his work counted, other signatures are possible - 3/4+1/8+1/4, 2/4+1/8+2/4... When avoiding 1/8 the next possibility seems to me 5/8, to avoid a triplet feeling with 3/8. 2/4+5/8, 1/4+5/8+1/4... But I'm not very firm with this issue...

    Four and a half.pdf

  • 9/8 is commonly used as a compound time signature, that isn't in dispute, we're all aware of how it's used as a triplet version of 3/4. it just doesn't have to be used that way, and there are plenty of examples of pieces where it is not.

    6/8 is used as a compound time signature even more often precisely because it IS interchangable with 3/4. It
    s rarely used that way because it would be redundant in the way that 8/8 is rarely used though it is interchangeable with 4/4. Thus, there is usually no reason to use 6/8 unless you do need to split it into to groups of 3. for most other instances, 3/4 is preferred as it is the simplified time signature. However, I have seen it used in pieces where 3/4 would be appropriate to facilitate easy reading of time signature changes (it's easier for most musicians to understand changes between 6/8 and 7/8 than 3/4 and 7/8.)


    Hayden Isaac said:
    fair enough
    its a basic music theory to split compound time into 3.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_signature#Compound_time_signatures

    you can group dotted quarter notes into twos like it says at this site

    http://www.musicarrangers.com/star-theory/t10.htm

    therefore 9/8 is like playing 3/4 with three sets of triplets. if the dotted quarter note = a quarter note.

    the reason why i say those two signatures is not interchangeable, is the same reason why 3/4 and 6/8 isn't interchangeable

    but like i said earlier you can write what ever you want since your the composer, and sure you prolly can find pieces that go against this, like any rule, someone breaks it at some point or another.
    These rules are there just there to make it easier for you to tell the player what to play. But you can write it how ever you want. as long as they player understands what your getting at :)
    Time signatures and measure bars - do we really need them?
    Because they're getting in my way.  The phrases in my current piece work best across 4.5 beats.  But you can't write 4.5/4. Confining it to 4/4 reall…
  • Thanks again! Your explanation lightened up one (or more) of my blind spots. I'm experimenting on non-binary rhythms by using numerical sequences. And I have momentarily the problem of finding adequate time signatures. I hope I see more clearly now. If you like: I posted a first version in "Music Dissection". I'd appreciate a lot to hear, what you think of it.
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