6/8 vs. 12/8

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by czgibson, May 25, 2015.

  1. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As a band leader who regularly plays with guys I've never gigged with or rarely gig with (let alone ever rehearsed with) let me tell ya, knowing how to count off a tune effectively so that everybody is in the same place and on the same page, feel and concept wise ... is an art.

    IMO, this is actually the important stuff.
     
  2. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I totally agree with this.....it is an art and it takes some practice and forethought in my experience....I've struggled with how to count in a tune.

    Like most (or all) things context is everything....you can choose not to make a big deal out of it if the circumstances you are playing in allow that (bedroom playing, informal jamming etc.) but when you're counting in a tune in front of an audience it does become something important and worth getting very clear in your head.
     
  3. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Agreed. I'd be more concerned about the phrase "walking on egg shells" if I felt I was in a situation where I couldn't have this type of discussion without someone getting their toes stepped on.

    For the record, Bonham had it right:

    "We got four already but now we're steady..."

    8^)
     
  4. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    +1 Tim!!

    I was coming back to edit my previous post but I see you've already addressed the point I was going to make....which is, it is totally possible to discuss these matters without them becoming a 'federal case'....this is not a musical problem, this is an issue of inter-personal communication skills....let's not confuse the two things. :D
     
  5. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Knowing how to count off a tune AND if you are there in front of a crowd reading charts for the first time , that the count has everything to do with whats written on the page.
    Years ago at a rehearsal I had a nightmare experience playing a piece by Bruno Maderna with orchestra. Not having had a huge amount of experience following conductors to begin with - when the the conductor started beating 2 when my chart clearly had 3/4 at the beginning wasnt a great way to start..I asked the question and was met with "Oh the choir part is in 6/8" . The choir wasnt actually at the rehearsal.
    With the multiple time changes and the difficulty of some of the writing I had a really hard time of it - and had to drown my sorrows later that night just to erase the immediate memory of it.

    Yes - it was the Amsterdam Concertgebouw...the conductor was Ricardo Chailly.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
  6. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I agree with Ken about the importance of counting off a number, but 6/8~12/8 is not a hill worth dying on, IMO. Look at how many of us experts said it was 12/8 and then the published sheet music shows 6/8. Now that I saw that, the intro didn't seem so odd - 3 bars of 2, just like we all heard it!
    BTW, cz can show that to his buddy if he's the "toldja!" type.
     
  7. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    After writing my post about not making a big deal of it, I began to think of the count-off situation. As Ken and others have indicated, it is a huge deal if a count-off is involved.

    With my blues trio, we had different ways of counting off. We actually had to rehearse the count-offs, which meant someone had to write them down so that we could remember. Our rank amateurness was never exposed so clearly as when we would gather around the drum set to remember/decide how the count-off was going to go.

    When I was playing for reals 40 years ago, my rock bands didn't count off very often, as our body language was a prime mode of communication. As I got deeper into the world of classical music, I saw fewer and fewer count-offs. You could see the tempo by the velocity of the conductor's hand held up, then dives down to the beat. Also, the way he holds his body tells you a lot about the tempo to come (lazy/languid, tense/catlike, strong/brutal, etc.)

    Conducting is really, really hard. The only Whiplash type moment I ever had was over my conducting. The only time I came to class unprepared, but expecting to wing it as I did many other things as a student, was when we first were expected to go deep. I had no idea of what I was supposed to do, so I counted time with my right hand, and dynamics and entrances with the left hand. When I finished, the Maestro just fumed at me, saying I was just beating time. Well, yeah, what else was expected of me, I stupidly thought. My solution was to watch the other students and cop their moves.

    Jazz bands were a completely other thing, where the count-off could sometimes go for a few bars to get everyone feeling the tempo. It was common for a jazz lab band conductor to start the group off, then stand back and listen until a cue was needed. The conductor of the band at one school where I taught, did a very cool-looking thing once. He started beating a fast tempo, then made a big gesture to go wham and bring everybody in, like a well-oiled machine. Then, he walks away from the stand and has a quiet conversation with someone on the side of the stage. Then, he quietly breaks away, goes back to his stand and throws in a few jabs for accents. Then he walks back to continue his conversation. Complete show-boating, which I really loved. The memory of that is in my mental list of cool experiences I've had in music.
     
  8. Hudsonduster

    Hudsonduster RIP Ad Free + Supporter

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    Well, I'm jus' glad that somebody made me listen to this again. Thanks,

    But I hear it as 12/8, since at that meter it's one change to the bar.

    For those who Need A Reason, tho, consider Hendrix' "Live" cut of "Voodoo Child" - that's a real 12/8 shuffle, and you hear why in the coda after the last verse&chorus: those guys run through every possible combination of twelve pulses (including the marvelous three-on-four/four-on-three Renaissance Galliard dance rhythm!). THIS is why you gotta consider a slow shuffle as 12/8, guys, and if you do, you've got a tool there in your box that'll serve you in many a tight spot indeed.
     
  9. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

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    I hear it as 6/8. | Do right | All night | - count 6 and 6, separate bars.
    That is a total of 8 bars on the chorus.

    I googled it and found a bunch of sheet music for this in 6/8 and 3/4, none in 12/8, interestingly. Which is kind of weird, 6/8 and 12/8 are closer to me in feel than 6/8 and 3/4, but maybe that is cause I played so many country waltzes, lol.
     
  10. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    So many ways to hear it....interesting.

    Discounting the intro the main body of the song to me is most clearly a triplet feel in 4/4....the reason I say that is because you can clearly hear the rhythm section playing the backbeat...2 and 4....against the 1 and 3 pulse, which is, of course, a hallmark of R&B. If it was in 6/8 or 12/8 I don't think the accent would be falling where it is, no?....although it occurs to me that you can place the accent where it suits you within any time signature....but the pulse of the song to me is in 4.....
     
  11. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Yeah, but you can make "House of the Rising Sun" 4/4 and put the accent on 2 and 4 too. Each measure of 4 is two measures of 6/8. To me, that's what they did here.
     
  12. guitar dan

    guitar dan Tele-Afflicted

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    That's funny. I just had this discussion a few weeks ago. I had to chart the tune "Girl Crush". (Nashville number chart). I wrote in 4/ 4 and wrote "6/8 feel".. Maybe I should've written "triplet feel".

    When we played it, tapped the feel on my leg and told them " I'll give you one measure of 4" .. "1 trip-let , 2 trip-let, "etc.

    That might not be correct but the band clearly understood the feel and where to come in. And BTW, I copied that from a drummer that I used to play with. I wrote charts in 6/8 but he'd count them in 4/4, with triplets. .. (Songs like Unchained Melody)
     
  13. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yes you could do that for sure...but the point is the song in question actually is recorded with that feel...as I said in my post you can potentially put accents anywhere in any time signature. But to my ear what's even more telling about the Aretha song is the pulse of it...to me that seems to be in 4....I could be talking out of my butt though....I'm more thinking out loud here and trying to learn as I go....:D
     
  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Sometimes in this forum, I felt that I wanted to distinguish between theory and fundamentals (or rudiments). When people on the internet talk about music theory, they very often are talking about scale and chord spellings. I consider those subjects fundamentals or rudiments, insofar as the spellings are known and usually not open to musical interpretation (I'm trying to avoid qualifying this and diverting the conversation).

    In music theory in classical music, the issues have to do with interpretation, feel, and "I hear this as..." So, that's what we've got going here, so congratulations to us. If you were to go on and earn a degree in music theory, these are the conversations you would be having all the time, although with more complex and long-ranging musical structures. It can be a lot of fun, if you are into it. Of course, no one is making you do anything, so people opt out of certain conversations for the sake of practicality and use of time.
     
  15. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

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    12/8
     
  16. jbdrumbo

    jbdrumbo Tele-Holic

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    Indeed. It's 12/8 - two groups of six: 1,2,3 Four 5,6; 2,2,3 Four 5,6 - but you can think of it as this slow 4/4 phrase: trip pa let, Trip pa let, trip pa let, Trip pa let.

    Either way you feel it and count it, you get a basic two & four backbeat vibe, whereas a 6/8 vibe is typically swinging and sometimes freewheeling.

    A good example of 6/8 is the Allman Brothers' Hot 'Lanta.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    If I had to explain this to musicians who'd never heard the tune before I would say, "slow 4 with a triplet feel". That generally implies a back beat on 2 and 4.

    *As now mentioned a few times, this stuff is the meat and potatoes of performance. When you step up (at a jam or sit-in situation lets say) to play with folks you've never even met before, how you count off a tune will make or break what happens next.
     
  18. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Time signatures can be chosen for feel, ease of writing, relation to other time sigs within chart, or some combination thereof. What a tune "feels like" (phrase, pulse, accents)/how it is conveyed on the bandstand by a leader - and how it is marked on a chart - should be one and the same, but often is not.

    Transcriber prioritizes from the aforementioned considerations and chooses a number, which is often why we see the discrepancies between charts of the same tune. Tempo and ease of writing are interactive. From a strict chart writing point of view, it's quite possible that this tune was actually marked on charts as 6/8 due to the amount of rhythmic information contained within each measure. I am not stating a fact, I am speculating, as I wasn't there for transcription of any of the charts being referenced here. Again, speaking strictly to the transcribing process.

    GuitOp81 touched on this earlier within the thread.
     
  19. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    My *general* distinction between 12/8 and 6/8 is that in 12/8 I usually feel it as a 4/4 with triplets, because the 1/4 notes come pretty quickly, making it easy to count as 4. With 6/8, counting 4 seems ssssssllllllooooowww, and the song usually *wants* to be counted as 123, 456 instead.

    Doesn't work 100% of the time but well enough for me.
     
  20. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    LOL - so OP is a moron?

    Sounds like this is a typical band situation...can't we all just get along? If you guys are already to the point of calling each other names over something so petty, imagine being out on the road together, sharing tiny spaces for weeks on end...

    Oh, and BTW, 12/8 or 6/8 are not feels. They are time signatures.

    Personally I'd write this one out in 12/8 since the back beat is on 2 & 4. I'd call it a old school soul ballad with 12/8 feel and count it off "1 uh uh 2 ding a ding 3 uh uh 4 uh uh" LOL.

    Differences in notation and nomenclature are normal in chart writing and you have to be flexible enough to deal with it. People who get miffed about these things need to CHILLAX
     
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