Simple /compound time

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Simple /compound time

Postby papadeedee » 04 May 2016 09:24

I was messing about on my keyboard with a rhythm style 6/8 blues but I count it 12/8 so which is it ?
I have noticed, understandably so, that some say a tune is in 6/8 but I make it 12/8
Well, I figure both can be correct at times,
I have seen "The house of the Rising Sun" written in 2/4, 4/4, 6/8 and 12/8.
Here is my explanation, count it in simple time, If you get 2 beats to the bar, assign a triplet to each beat in the bar. 2 triplets make 6.
so in that case in compound time it is 6/8
If you count 4 beats to the bar in simple time, assign a triplet to each beat in the bar. 4 triplets make 12. so then it is in 12/8
This is not meant to be a technical explanation, just trying to help, that's all.
Please feel free to expand or comment.
Brian
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Re: Simple /compound time

Postby andyg » 04 May 2016 14:56

Simple time: No matter how many beats in the bar, they are always divisible by 2.
Compound time: The beats are always divisible by 3.

So, a bar of 2/4 would have two crotchet beats, divisible into two groups of two quavers. A bar of 6/8 would also have two beats, each one a dotted crotchet long, divisible into 3 quavers.

Now you can of course have triplets, where for example, a crotchet is divided into three equal triplet quavers. It follows that a bar of 2/4 with triplet quavers will sound just the same as a bar of 6/8. A bar of 4/4 with triplet quavers will sound the same as a bar of 12/8. They will be written differently, of course!

Yamaha keyboards do 6/8, 9/8 and 12/8 by playing in simple time, with triplets. That way, when you see the tempo marking of a compound time piece marked as a dotted crotchet = whatever the tempo is, when you set the tempo control on the Yamaha to that speed, you'll get what the composer intended.

That's putting it simply (excuse the pun!) and is another good reason for doing Music Theory!
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Re: Simple /compound time

Postby papadeedee » 04 May 2016 16:23

Hi Andy,
Of course what you say is absolutely correct, thanks for the more elaborate explanation,
I should have said that although I was using a 6/8 style, the tune I was playing actually was in 12/8
Some of our members have thought because they are using a 6/8 style then that must be the key signature when in fact they have been playing in 12/8
The point I was trying to make is that although you are using a 6/8 style, you can apply it to a tune in 12/8 and I was trying to explain a simple way of determining what the actual time signature is. Also, the type of tunes I was referring to are the ones that go with a triplet feel.
A good example of 6/8 with a different feel is in Scottish music , they naturally tend to go in two's so I tend to count them in dotted crotchets.
Quite often, for example when playing a Gay Gordons, I play most of the tune in 2/4 and switch to a 6/8 tune to finish, the dancers love it.

If anyone is interested in delving further, I think the Eric Taylor AB guides to music theory are very good books.
Brian
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Re: Simple /compound time

Postby andyg » 04 May 2016 20:38

For the record, Yamaha's '6/8' styles are in fact '12/8' anyway. The beat counter goes 1,2,3,4 rather than the 1,2 that 6/8 would demand.

So if you have a slow 12/8 piece then use styles like 6/8 Modern or 6/8 Orchestral, as well as the 12/8 Ballad, which is best left to 'What a Wonderful World' or 'A Summer Place'. As far as keyboards go, 6/8 and 12/8 are virtually interchangeable.
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Re: Simple /compound time

Postby papadeedee » 05 May 2016 09:42

Hi Andy
I think that is what I was saying,( I was messing about on my keyboard with a rhythm style 6/8 blues but I count it 12/8 so which is it ? )
Some people have been confusing the fact the the style says 6/8 and thought they were playing a tune in 6/8 when in fact the tune they were playing was in 12/8
That is why I suggested trying to establish if the tune feels a 2 beat or four beat bar and suggested if it goes in a two, think 6/8 or if a four, think 12/8
I appreciate all that you have said and you have imparted a good explanation of simple and compound time but I was trying to help people who don't have a great knowledge of theory to establish what the actual key signature is on the particular tune they were playing.
I also suggested the triplet way of counting to let people see how to make a count of six from a two beat bar.
I hope this has been helpful to some of our for members at least.
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Re: Simple /compound time

Postby andyg » 05 May 2016 14:17

We're singing from the same hymnsheet here! :)

Yamaha's 6/8 styles, whilst being 12/8, do give that 2 to the bar feel you mention as the second half of the 12/8 bar is effectively the 2nd 6/8 bar of the pattern.

And yes, it's something that's felt rather than counted. If players do want to count, they can count 1,2,3,4,5,6 (and up to 12 perhaps) if the tempo is slow, but it's better to count 1 and a 2 and a (and then 3 and a 4 and a for 12/8). For faster pieces like a 6/8 march, you simply count 1,2,1,2 and apply dum-di to any crotchet plus quaver pairings and di-de-ly to groups of 3 quavers. With that dum-di diddling in mind, you'll soon get the name of this tune: Each '/' is a bar line.

(dum) DI /DUM DI DI-DE-LY/ DUM DI DUM DI/ DUM DI DUM DI/ DEEEEE/

or this one (it was on the official BBC T shirt)

On the front: DUM DI DUM DI/ DUM DI DEE/ DUM DI DUM DI/ DEE DEE/
On the back: DUM DI DUM DI/ DUM DI DEE/ DUM DI DI-DE-LY/ DEEEE/
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