B E G IN N E R 'S THEORY
TUITION
APP EXTRA
C lic k to v ie w extra
v id eo co n te n t here
ELLEN
O
'REILLY
trying to gauge the tempo of a song you are listening to. You'll know it when a song is played in the wrong tempo as it
changes the whole feel of the song. On a written piece of music, the tempo is usually given at the top of the piece.
The time signature 6/8 is also fairly common, and can be heard in ballads such as 'Nothing Else Matters' by
Metallica or 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley. 6/8 has six quaver notes per bar with the downbeat on the first and fourth,
meaning that it is heard as two groups of three rather than three groups of two, as it would be in 3/4. It therefore
has a more flowing feel to it. Compare the sound of a waltz in 3/4 to a ballad in 6/8 and you will hear the difference.
12/8 is a less commonly used meter, but can still be found in contemporary music, especially the blues. You would
count it like this: 1 & a, 2 & a, 3 & a, 4 & a. So it's still four beats per bar but each beat is counted like a triplet: 1 & a. Time
signatures are split up into two groups, simple time and compound time. Simple time signatures can be broken down
into two-part rhythms; they are easier to count as they have a one-two pulse, for example 4/4 and 3/4. Compound
time signatures are broken down into three-part rhythms: these have a one-two-three pulse, such as 6/8 and 12/8.
The best way of figuring out a song's time signature is by identifying the 'downbeat' or strongest beat. In 4/4 time
the first beat is the strongest with the third being slightly weaker, the second and fourth beats are weak. Tap out the
beats as you listen to a song, counting one, two, three.
.. as you go. The off-beats are the &s, so count one & two & three
and so on.
Try this each time you listen to a song, and see if you can figure out the time signature. Good luck!
WHAT TIME IS IT? ELLEN
UPS THE TEMPO
ey bass buddies! In this
column I would like to
discuss time signatures and
tempo. As bass players we
need to be aware of time
keeping and tempos, as we
are part of the rhythm section with
the drums. After all, we bass players
provide the foundation to the song
and hold the melody to the rhythm:
we act like musical glue!
Most contemporary songs tend to
be in either 4/4 or 3/4 time, you will
see this given as the time signature
at the beginning of a written piece
of music. The number on top (or to
the left) represents how many beats
there are in a bar, and the number
on the bottom (or to the right)
indicates what kind of note it is. So
4/4 has four beats in a bar, and each
note is a quarter note or crotchet,
hence the use of the number four
to represent it. For 3/4 time, there
are three beats in a bar and these
notes are quarter notes. This time
signature is commonly found in the
waltz style of music.
Every song has a particular
tempo or pulse, known as 'beats per
minute' or BPM for short. A good
way of figuring out the BPM of a
song is by referring to a clock. A
clock's second hand ticks at 60BPM,
as there are 60 seconds in a minute:
double this and you get 120BPM.
Use this as a rough guide when
EXAMPLE
1
EXAMPLE
2
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Strong
Weak
Weak
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&
2
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3
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J3____
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_________________________________
EXAMPLE
3
J. = 60
Strong
Weak
Weak
Meidlum
Vtank
Weak
sim.
A
3________ 2
S
3
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3
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EXAMPLE
3
E l i x i r
Strings for Bass
D r i v e n b y P e r f e c t i o n .
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