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What is the time signature of this song
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author What is the time signature of this song
I am playing around with doing an synthed version of the song Evening on the Ground by Iron and Wine. I was looking at the tablature for the little repetitive guitar note run. The tablature indicates that the song is in 3/4 time. I am not so sure. I can count out the rhythm either way, but if it is 3/4 time it seems like a really fast tempo. Even at 4/4 the BPM is something like 130. Can I get some opinions. 4/4 or 3/4.

Had a brief listen to the track on my phone, and it does sound like it is in a 9/8 time signature.
Well at least it is not 3/4, I knew it was not 3/4...I wonder now how to better capture using the Octatrack as my primary keeper of the beat...
Maybe wrong choice of words, what I meant was I think the guitar part sounds like a 9/8 rhythm to me. Lol, probably not helping with the confusion. Apologies! Mr. Green
Try 3/4 time at around 95 bpm.
dubonaire wrote:
Try 3/4 time at around 95 bpm.

So would that guitar riff be occurring over one or two measures?
The Grump
You can count it either as a fast 6/8, or as a 4/4 with a triplet shuffle.

My first instinct is to count it as:


Hope this helps.
it's 4/4 shuffle or 12/8, I think

guitar riff one measure

Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
I'd call it 12/8.


The basic pulse (and the vocal line) is 4/4, but every beat is subdivided into triplets by the acoustic guitar. This most naturally falls into 12/8.

The 6/8 and 12/8 time signatures are interesting beasts. 6/8 time basically has a duple-meter feel -- two beats to the bar, with each beat subdivided into triplets. This is why it is the most common time signature for marches. Think of just about any march by John Philip Sousa -- "The Liberty Bell" is a good one, since most of you will know it as the theme from Monty Python's Flying Circus -- hear that in your head -- hear how it is basically two triplets per bar? Hence, 6/8. Imagine marching to it. Left, right, left, right -- that's the duple pulse, but on each footfall there is a triplet -- 123 123 123 123.

This song is basically four triplets to the bar; hence, 12/8.
Yes, it's 12/8 with a tempo of 128BPM.

The shuffle feel is a dead giveaway that it's not 3/4, which has a waltz feel (1 - 2 - 3, 1 - 2 - 3, with the accent on the 1). Shuffles are always 6/8 or 12/8.

Cool song, BTW.
Yes! That was it. Thanks for all of your inputs. I reduced the sequence steps from 16 to 12. It sounds superb. Bangs right along with the actual song. I may not ultimately leave it in that exact format, but the right percussion from the Octa and a track from A4 and Rings playing that guitar riff, it sounds great. Spot on.

Thanks again.
This thread.. REBOOT! Mr. Green

Okay. I have a track which has quite a few inertia points. That is to say, places where the measure is truncated or extended to create a sense of hurry or relaxation.

The way I like to count it is in a long 2/4 or half time. My question is whether this is apropos to the piece or if just sticking with the usual 4/4 is a better tact. You know... 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 2/4 instead of 7/2. There are many places where counting 2 beats to the bar will produce better phrasing. 14/4 is no help here as the phrasing is not compatible.

BPM is 126 which is not helpful for the discussion. Really it's 127 which is even more silly, but... If you count it in ~68 bpm it will work with the following structure.


The count in half time (68 bpm) is roughly as follows...

7/4 (x4) Intro (after the swell).
7/4, 7/4, 8/4 (I know 8/4 , right?) Main Part "A"
7/4, 7/4, 6/4 Main "A" with melody
6/4 Bridge over (part "C")
4/4 x6 + 2/4 (here is where you could easily argue for a straight 4/4 in 127 bpm) Part "B"
7/4, 7/4, 8/4 Main "A" again with new melodic idea.
7/4, 7/4 6/4 repeat with old melodic idea and truncated ending.
4/4, 4/4, 5/4 Outro.
4/4 End

My aim its to ask whether counting (as I suggest in 2/4) is worth the effort over counting in the obvious 126 bpm (4/4) and adding 2/4 measures all over the place? I get that 4/4 126 bmp is the "real" time but if it is easier to count in half time then why not?
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Wow, kindredlost, you're a regular Messiaen with all those added beats.
Or maybe a regular mess.

Well, is the half time counting a good idea or not? I think it helps to keep me aware of where I am at in the structure, but that's just me.
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