ive just started lea

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ive just started learning piano properly (ive had a keyboard most of my life but just to mess around on) and im finding it very difficult to read music, im ok at playing the songs but it takes me ages to figure them out, do i just need to keep reading music again and again to understand it. also i was going through the tutorial on this site and i got stuck once i reached Simple and Compound Meters, it just makes no sence to me. any good tips would be great.
Last edited in 2017-06-06 12:25

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  • West
    West

    If I were to represent my left-hand taps as half notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as quarter notes. If I were to represent my left-hand taps as quarter notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as half notes. In the first case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/4, implying groupings of two beat which subdivide into two parts. In the second case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/2, also implying two beats which subdivide into two parts.
    It's really frustrating the we aren't allowed to edit these posts. This should have read: If I were to represent my left-hand taps as half notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as quarter notes. If I were to represent my left-hand taps as quarter notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as eighth notes. In the first case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/2, implying groupings of two beat which subdivide into two parts. In the second case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/4, also implying two beats which subdivide into two parts.

    6th June, 2017

  • Walter
    Walter

    Now let's subdivide: Imagine that with my left hand I'm alternately and evenly tapping my thigh and a table top. Since we have two distinctly different sounds here, we'd probably hear grouping of two. Let's call each tap a "beat". Imagine additionally that for every left hand tap I tap my right twice evenly. Let's call each right hand tap a subdivision. If I were to represent my left-hand taps as half notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as quarter notes. If I were to represent my left-hand taps as quarter notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as half notes. In the first case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/4, implying groupings of two beat which subdivide into two parts. In the second case, we'd notate the tapping in 2/2, also implying two beats which subdivide into two parts. Now imagine for every left hand tap I tap my right hand three times evenly. This is also very easy to do, and there's nothing intrinsically "compound" about it. It's just a bit more difficult to notate with our system because our note values are predicated on powers of two (whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, etc). If I were to represent my left-hand taps as quarter notes, I'd have to represent my right-hand taps as eighth-note triplets, and triplets are exceptional. So what do we do? We start with the right-hand taps. If we represent these as eighth-notes, the left-taps become dotted quarter notes, and we'd notate the tapping in 6/8, implying two beats that subdivide into three parts.

    6th June, 2017

  • Animalski
    Animalski

    Some examples might help make these things clearer. First the basic idea: Imagine on a piece of staff paper with a treble clef I write the following notes all in quarter notes with no time signature and no measure lines: C E G C E G C E G C E G. If I were to play this on the piano, you'd probably hear groups of three, and you'd probably hear them because the same three notes keep repeating. I could mark off these groups in various ways. One obvious way would be to put a vertical line after each. This, of course, would look like a measure line, and if it were a measure line I'd need a time signature to go with it, which in this case would be 3/4. Now suppose I write down the same notes again but this time I put a measure line after every four: C E G C | E G C E | G C E G |. Now it needs a time signature of 4/4. I play this music on the piano. Does it sound the same as the earlier example? Of course it does. If we can notate the music either way, how do we decide which to choose? Normally we'd choose the first way, 3/4 C E G | C E G | C E G | C E G |, because it better corresponds with what we're hearing and is thus easier to read. This is why a time signature of 3/4 implies grouping of three. I say "implies", because it is perfectly "legal", so to speak, to notate it the other way, and longer, more complicated pieces will inevitably have passages in which the audible groupings and the measure lines don't always necessarily coincide.

    6th June, 2017

  • West
    West

    So how do we determine what grouping a given time signature implies? We look at its top number (we can ignore its bottom number for this purpose) and ask ourselves if it's divisible by three. If it's not divisible by three, then the top number is the number of beats in a group, and each of these beats will be made up of two parts (because two is the default). A time signature of 4/4, for example, implies a grouping of four beats, each of which can be broken into two equal parts. If the top number is divisible by three, it's telling us how many parts of beats there are altogether in each measure. Then the number of beats in a group will be equal to the top number divided by three, and each of these beats can be broken into three parts. A time signature of 12/8, for example, implies a grouping of four beats (12 divided by 3 = 4), each of which can be broken into three equal parts. The single exception to this rule is the time signature 3/4. For this time signature we don't divide three by three because three divided by three equals one, and one is not a group or grouping. This time signature means there will be three quarter notes worth of time in each measure. It implies we will hear groupings of three beats, each of which can be broken into two parts.

    6th June, 2017

  • LarryBLACK
    LarryBLACK

    The terms simple and compound meter are really misnomers, as Paul Creston explains in his Principles of Rhythm--and there are other myths to dispel. First, a time signature is not an instruction; it isn't telling you to do anything. Measures measure off sections of the music (hence the name) according to how much time they occupy. Time signatures tell you how much time that is. A piece of music will sound the same no matter where it puts its measure lines and what time signature it uses. (Don't accent the first note following a measure line unless there is a good musical reason to do so.) It makes sense, however, to measure off sections of music according to groupings that we can actually hear, so long as we're not pedantic about it (changing time signatures every time the grouping changes no matter how briefly, for example). For this reason, a time signature of 2/4, for example, means there are two quarter notes worth of time in each measure and also implies that we'll hear groupings of two. Two what? Well, two beats or pulses we usually say. It also implies that each beat or pulse will itself divide into two equal parts. Why? Because that's the default. Suppose we want each of the two beats to divide into three equal parts. That's easy enough to play, but not so easy to notate. If we represent the beats as quarter notes, what do we represent the parts as? Twelfth notes (1/4 divided by 3 = 1/12)? Unfortunately (triplets aside), we have no twelfth notes. Suppose instead we represent each of the two beats as dotted quarters. Now we can represent the parts as eighth notes. Fine, but what will be our time signature? Since we don't have a numeral with which to represent a dotted quarter note, we'll have to count up how many parts we have altogether. Each of the two beats has three parts, and that gives us six parts altogether. The parts are represented as eighth notes, and thus our time signature is 6/8, which implies a grouping of two beats, each of which is in turn divided into three parts.

    6th June, 2017

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