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Irregular time signatures in balleta couple of questions.


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#16 GNicholls

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 10:25 AM

"Irregular metre" is just a traditional Western classical music theory term, maybe obsolete now, for metres that aren't duple or triple. "Mixed metres" is sometimes used when the metre changes frequently. I think the Slavic and Hungarian composers of the early- and mid-20th centuries, influenced by folk music, were the greatest metric innovators of their time in ballet music and indeed in classical music.

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 10:58 AM

Stravinsky used unusual time signatures all through his early career. Think about the chorale at the end of "The Firebird", which is in 7/4.

#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 05:31 PM

Right...about Stravinsky I knew. I was looking more into the "musique dansante" period...as in the Offenbach /Taglioni's "Papillon"-(Golden Idol of Bayadere nowadays)- or the Sapphire variation of Beauty. Are there more examples of this around that period...?

#19 GNicholls

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:51 AM

Not sure if this will yield any 5/4 waltzes, but there are plenty more examples of 5/4 metre in 19th-century classical music here. The search terms "quintuple metre" and "septuple metre" are useful. (By the way, what would 11/4 be called?!)

To clarify my previous post, "irregular metre" means a metre whose subgrouping is not exclusively into 2's or into 3's, but rather is into different groups. Common examples are 5/4 (subgroups of 2+3 or 3+2) and 7/4 (subgroups 2+2+3 or 2+3+2 or 3+2+2). Subgroups may be of numbers other than 2 or 3 also. Like you, for these metres I prefer the terms "complex metre" or "asymmetric metre" to the older "irregular metre."

Whew!

#20 Mel Johnson

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:11 AM

(By the way, what would 11/4 be called?!)


Undecametric.

#21 bart

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:26 AM

Stravinsky used unusual time signatures all through his early career. Think about the chorale at the end of "The Firebird", which is in 7/4.

Thanks for that, Mel. This music is so familiar that I was finally able to imagine in audio terms what one of these meters sounds like.

Is there a way we can post audio links to illustrate our threads about music, just as we do with photos and videos on other threads?

#22 GNicholls

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:53 PM


Stravinsky used unusual time signatures all through his early career. Think about the chorale at the end of "The Firebird", which is in 7/4.

Thanks for that, Mel. This music is so familiar that I was finally able to imagine in audio terms what one of these meters sounds like.

Is there a way we can post audio links to illustrate our threads about music, just as we do with photos and videos on other threads?


There's a good example of 5/4 time here. The Danse Générale from Ravel's Daphnis and Chloë. It's clear for counting off in 5 when the clarinet comes in at 0:56.
Incidentally, the Philadelphia Orchestra is conducted at a reasonable tempo by the old-school master Wolfgang Sawallisch. Most conductors take this incomparable finale too fast.

#23 GNicholls

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:12 PM


(By the way, what would 11/4 be called?!)


Undecametric.


The Latin scholar here here hypothesizes "undecuple." :wink:

#24 bart

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 04:14 PM

There's a good example of 5/4 time here. The Danse Générale from Ravel's Daphnis and Chloë. It's clear for counting off in 5 when the clarinet comes in at 0:56.

This is great. Now I know exactly what you are talking about. I understand that this meter can be disorienting, but actually it's quite easy if you focus on the "five" while you count. Starting at the point of the clarinet solo did indeed make counting easier when I rewound and started again. Thank you, GNicholls.

Incidentally, the Philadelphia Orchestra is conducted at a reasonable tempo by the old-school master Wolfgang Sawallisch. Most conductors take this incomparable finale too fast.

Agree on this. It allows you to to experience the detailing without any loss of power.

#25 vagansmom

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:40 PM

And in Irish dance, we have the light and lovely slip jig, danced by women to 9/8 time.

#26 GNicholls

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Posted 22 August 2015 - 08:25 AM

I noticed this comment while reading my older posts. Thanks vagansmom for noting the Irish slip jig, which is new to me. 

 

Being a music theory teacher, just want to mention that 9/8 time is a compound metre, not a complex (irregular) one. In compound metre the top number of the time signature is always a multiple of 3. It shows how many subdivisions of the beat there are in each measure (here 9 8th-notes).

 

In 9/8 metre the 9 subdivisions (8th-notes) are grouped into 3's. Here there are 3 groupings, each of 3 8th notes. Each grouping adds up to 1 beat, represented by a dotted note (here 3 beats, each a dotted quarter note).

 

The system developed historicaly and is not entirely logical! Rule of thumb:

 

In compound metre the top number will be 6, 9, or 12 (divisible by 3). 

In simple metres the top number will be 2,3 or 4.

In complex metres the top number will be 5, 7, 11, 13 . . .

 

Besides the gig, other dances in compound metre include the siciliano and the tarantella.



#27 vagansmom

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:46 AM

Irish dance and fiddle music uses 9/8 time frequently, often in a minor mode. The slip jig, a light balletic dance that only women do, is in 9/8 time. Some dancers, those not as musically inclined, sometimes miss the beginning of their dance. 

 

West African music uses a variety of unusual (to our Western hemisphere ear) rhythms. When I first started playing African hand drums, it took me a few weeks to hear a few of those rhythms despite my extensive musical background. 




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