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Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Erik8, Aug 8, 2016.
Hello friends, is this version of Sleepwalk in 6/8 or 12/8?
Or is it a 4/4 time with the rhythm played in triplets??? what will be the concensus this time??? There are so many songs played in this manner. I feel triplets over a 4 beat count. Ymmv....as long as we could end up at the same points in time IMHO it doesn't matter unless it is being written in staff. That is beyond me.
I know that when I was young and dancing to the R&B songs that have this same approach, everyone was moving in a 4/4 rhythm...no one was waltzing.
If I was 'telling' someone - say, a drummer - the feel, I'd call it 12/8 or 4/4 with a 12/8 feel.
The melodic phrases are in 12 (or slow 4).
Thanks guys. Hank got a great sound in his guitar here.
Here are the fellows who wrote the song doing it the way I like to hear it....and it is a video lesson on Farina's technique to boot.
if I had a nickel for every discussion I was present for, of whether a song was 4/4 with triplets or 6/8...
For some songs it makes compositional and notational sense to choose one or the other. Sometimes both are appropriate, but still one time signature or another has to be chosen. it's entirely possible that at their most basic formation, a number of songs never had a formal time signature written down, and that it was just intuited without particular regard or effort in clarifying it. Sleepwalk may (or may not) have been one of those types of songs. So what ends up happening is much like the development of traditional classical harmonic analysis and theory with Bach, Mozart and such, we're left to piece together and formalize the "rules" afterwords to what seems have been intuitively applied consistently without an explicit rulebook of traditional harmony already developed.
I'm tempted as a practical matter to not get hung up over whether it's 4/4 with triplets, or 6/8, and just realize that if we play the right feel, start, and stop and navigate the song correctly, then we've obviously learned and intuited the most important bits of a song in order to perform it, and further discussion of time signature is somewhat irrelevant, semantical, and muso conversation better had over coffee or beer, and not while the rest of the band is waiting to play the next song.
Yes the original is alto great. the rhythm guitar on both versions sound very similar I think. just down stokes.
Absolutely, no argument there.
But this is the 'theory' section and we LOVE to talk about this stuff!
plus, if you want to write it down in any way...
Okay....so if one were going to write this song out in 6/8....
The first note lasts 6 beats. An eighth note gets one beat....quarter note gets 2 beats, half note gets 4 beats, whole note gets 8 beats....but there are not 8 beats in a measure. How does that work? Dotted half gets your whole measure count, but the whole note is unusable, right? How is that looked at in theory circles? If it is in 12/8, then a dotted whole note is the full count for the measure. Does that make 12/8 more correct than 6/8 IF one wanted to write it out in staff notation?
Whereas, in 4/4, my simple untrained mind could easily write the melody and the rhythm because I understand how triplets work in staff notation. Unlike the fellow in that C&W song, I am untrained in theory and serious composition....so I am just asking. I have never needed to wonder how to play these rhythms, but I also have never seen any song that uses this approach written out in staff...or any other way. Play 'em by ear.
In all of the debates about this, ime no one has ever ventured into this aspect....so curious I am.
Maybe it's regional...
When a song like this gets called out the phrase from the leader is usually "hey - give this a 6/8 feel" and everyone knows what they want. If we were told to play 4/4 with a triplet feel or 12/8 I'm sure confusion (different interpretations) would begin to take place.
As for what this really is.... I've never given it much thought so I don't know the definitive answer.
When I play rhythm guitar on this song I count to 6:1-2-3-4-5-6, emphasis on beat 1 on 4. just downstrokes. Most of the time the chords change after 6 beats also so I find it handy to count like this.
'If' I was actually writing it out, I'd write it in 4/4 and add in the upper left corner "12/8 feel". It's just easier to read. (I found this on line and though I don't necessarily agree with all the notated rhythms as per the original recording, I think it is instructive for general notation purposes) ...
I say 6/8 on the bandstand, unless I have a brainiac, music degreed drummer (it happens!).
Then I say 12/8.
6/8 is the old way, IMO.
People love to dance to that time signature.
Thanks, Klasaine....I didn't find that. I see that they have written it out in 2/2...cut time.
I really enjoy watching that original video. . IT reveals quite a few tricks he pulls.
brookdalebill, do the dancers waltz to it?
They sure dance, but, touché, they don't waltz.
As a singer, I'm no Frank Bennett, so I pick songs that people will dance to.
Billy Swan's "I Can Help", Haggard's "Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star" and one of my originals are in 12/8.
I don't lead dance bands often, but when I do, I totally focus on being danceable.
There isn't anyone who is going to waltz to that one either, ime. I say it is not 12/8....but my opinion will never end this debate. Forget the high hat...listen to the snare and the bass....it isn't a 3, 6 or 12 count to my sense of rhythm, at least.
The triplet count is too fast to be the basic rhythm. The triplets are there as added complexity over a 2 or 4'count. The bass Walks are classic 4/4....boom, boom, boom, boom.... But....if we were playing together we would be in time together no matter this discussion, right? (;^)
Interesting stuff! I also count 6/8 to this tune (Yes i play rhythm guitar in a shadows cover band). I know some think of this tune as 3/4. Will be interesting to hear your opinions on this one as well