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What is "cut" in cut time?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Leon Grizzard, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    My wife is taking classical guitar and one of her pieces has the C with a | through it, indicating cut time. I understand cut time in my world: fiddle tunes are in 2/4 with two groups of four 16th notes. Written in cut time, you have measures with 4 groups of two eighth notes each, which is much easier to read, although you have to apply the 2/4 feel.

    But as a mental visualization matter, how is doubling the written duration of the notes cutting anything? It seems like the opposite.
  2. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Tele-Meister

    Nov 16, 2004
    Louisville, KY
    Basically half time I guess. With written music I have no idea haha.
  3. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2017
    It's 2/2. Just another way of writing it.

    It has a faster feel.
    Danjabellza likes this.
  4. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    I could well be wrong, but My understanding is that you double the tempo. (More or less)... the reference point I’ve heard it used most is punk drummers. A song might be written for 120bpm 4/4 and during sections of, or the entire song, the drummer will play in 120 2/2 or 240 4/4. (Same thing... I think).
  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Going to from common time (C) to cut time (C with | through it) you go from four beats to a measure to two beats to a measure. Half off! That's seems like a sale to me, so prices are cut. That's how I remember it, anyhoo.
  6. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Ah the bane of my youth..common in marches, where the interpretation is the quarter note becomes a 1/8 note etc. with a half note pulse (theoretically it is the whole note that is "cut"). Much of the feel of what is still some times referred to as "march time" (in classical circles "Alle breve is often heard ) is in the interpretation. Players who often play in these styles or time signatures understand this, and make subtle adjustments so as not to sound stiff or rushed. I would recommend trying to find a recording of the piece for reference. The following may help..
    Snfoilhat likes this.
  7. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 9, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    In a time signature, the top number is the number of beats per measure, and the bottom number is the note value that gets one beat. In 4/4, there are four beats per measure, and the 1/4 note gets the beat. In 6/8 and 12/8, the eighth note actually gets the beat (but being compound meters, we don't often count them that way in our heads) and In cut time, 2/2, there are two beats per measure, and the 1/2 note gets the beat.

    So cut time essentially cuts all note durations in half. Quarter notes are now counted like eighth notes in 4/4. Eighths like sixteenths. Halfs like quarters.
    mfguitar, Ricky D. and popthree like this.
  8. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 28, 2006
    NELA, Ca
    Though read the same as 4/4, in traditional music i.e., classical music, marches, fanfares, choral music, etc. "cut time" implies faster along with shorter phrasing. It is also conducted 2 beats to the bar as opposed to 4.
    Piotr likes this.
  9. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    "Cut" time refers to when you "cut" your losses trying to understand and just play the music :D
  10. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    from my trumpeting days in the marching band, i believe the answer is "time itself"

    if i'm wrong, do realize i dropped out of the marching band after my freshman year.
  11. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Mar 8, 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Okay; here it is, at least for my need to understand what is cut.

    What is cut is the number of usual subdivisions of the beat. In my fiddle tune breakdowns/reels) example, the usual subdivision of the quarter note is into four sixteenth notes. Cut time cuts the number of four subdivisions into two subdivisions: that is what is cut. We then have to double the subdivision lengths from sixteenths to eighths to make it a quarter note, and double the number of beats in a measure, or double the number of measures, to accommodate the same number of notes.

    Here’s Blackberry Blossom. You clearly hear the groups of four notes per beat. Written as sixteenth notes, it’s a lot of flags to confuse the eye when you start syncopating.

    Here’s Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of fiddle tunes. I’m not smart enough to do a screen shot and post it, but go to page 4, either Pdf 4 or page 4 as marked in the manuscript, and compare Banjo Reel with Inman Line. Banjo Reel, with its basic subdivision of eighth notes is easy to comprehend, compared to Inman Line, with its forest of sixteenth notes, especially when looking at measures 1 and 2.
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    you’re cutting the main pulse in half, conveyed in writing as groups

    tempo is the same

    Not four groups but just two groups
  13. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

    Where there were 4 beats in a 4/4 piece there are now 2 beats. It's that straightforward. Thats my recollection anyhow.
  14. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    its kind of the same thing as planck in plancktime

    The Planck length is the scale at which classical ideas about gravity and space-time cease to be valid, and quantum effects dominate. This is the �quantum of length�, the smallest measurement of length with any meaning. And roughly equal to 1.6 x 10-35 m or about 10-20 times the size of a proton.= to 1 billionth of a billionth of a billionth of one second

  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    That cleared it all up, 24track! Cosmic, my brother!!!!!
    24 track likes this.
  16. kellybluz

    kellybluz TDPRI Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    southern oregon
    Wwwhhhhhaaaattttt o_O
    24 track likes this.
  17. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
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