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#1034912 - 01/03/05 06:56 AM 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
Aren't 2/2 time and 4/4 time basically the same thing? For example, 2/2 time can have 4 quarter notes in a measure, or 1 half note and 2 quarter notes in a measure. 4/4 time can also have 4 quarter notes in a measure, or 1 half note and 2 quarter notes in a measure. Looking at the measures themselves, it's not possible to tell what time signature the piece is in. Also, wouldn't the beat fall on the same notes?

So what's the difference between the 2 times, how do they sound different, and what makes them sound that way?
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#1034913 - 01/03/05 07:02 AM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
seebechstein Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 1085
Loc: houston
Not the same. 2/2 is a two-step, like a dance two-step. 4/4 is a rock beat, like BOOM-bah-bah-bah, BOOM-bah-bah-bah.

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#1034914 - 01/03/05 07:15 AM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
It's really difficult to tell the difference in method pieces because they've been simplified so much. while 2/2 time accents two beats per measure and 4/4 also accents two beats per measure, in original music, a 4/4 piece will have definite sub-beats while 2/2 will not.

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#1034915 - 01/03/05 12:44 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
yup.. it's all in the accents.. think of a "march" in 2 : BOOM BOOM / BOOM BOOM

vs. something (like a rock song) in 4/4 - "BOOM boom boom boom BOOM boom boom boom"

kinda like how 6/8 and 3/4 aren't the same either.. accents.
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"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
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#1034916 - 01/03/05 12:49 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
It's interesting that people describe a 4/4 rock time signature with an accent on 1 (BOOM boom boom boom from the above examples). As a drummer, I would describe it as accented on 2 and 4 (boom BOOM boom BOOM), as almost all rock/pop songs have this backbeat. Most swing, too.
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#1034917 - 01/03/05 08:58 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
markb-- have you noticed that crowds tend to clap on the beat, like BOOM boom BOOM boom

But most rock music is actually set as you say, boom BOOM boom BOOM?

Drives me nuts when I'm at a concert and the performer gets the crowd to slap and they're doing it the wrong way! \:\)

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#1034918 - 01/03/05 09:14 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Luckychwee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Singapore
 Quote:
while 2/2 time accents two beats per measure and 4/4 also accents two beats per measure, in original music, a 4/4 piece will have definite sub-beats while 2/2 will not.
Hi Bob, I dont really understand what you've said as you stated that 2/2 will not have sub-beat but there is one piece I am learning have 4 quavers in some bars. Like Da-di (2 beats) and Da-di-di-di (4 quavers)

Am I saying something confusing ?
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A chat a day drive all loneliness away,
And a prayer a day never keep our Jesus away
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#1034919 - 01/03/05 09:47 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
2/2 pieces can have extra notes in some measures, but overall it still generally only has two beats per measure. It won't regularly have four notes in a measure.

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#1034920 - 01/03/05 09:52 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Luckychwee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Singapore
Yes precisely so is Jerry actually asking why 4/4 can have 4 beats whereas 2/2 also can have 2 beats (but 4 quavers)? Doesnt it sound almost the same between 2/2 or 4/4 if the tempo of 2/2 is faster than 4/4.

Jerry u there, am I mistaken about what you asked ?
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An apple a day keep the doctor away,
A smile a day chase your sadness away,
A chat a day drive all loneliness away,
And a prayer a day never keep our Jesus away
And let's praise our Lord, our King, our God all the way ....

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#1034921 - 01/04/05 04:07 AM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Prophetic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/02/04
Posts: 98
I would think a good way to describe it is a conductor's wand, it goes with speed. For 2/2 it would almost only be neccesary for the conductor to give one beat if I'm not mistaken. So it has a different feel.

What would be the difference of going from 6/4 to 3/4? The same thing? Where would the accents be in 6/4? I'm just wondering because I play organ for the church and they want to do 'City of God' at the next funeral but I'm not sure where the accents are.

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#1034922 - 01/04/05 05:54 AM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Nina wrote: "markb-- have you noticed that crowds tend to clap on the beat, like BOOM boom BOOM boom

But most rock music is actually set as you say, boom BOOM boom BOOM?"

When I took group guitar lessons last year, the teacher told us to strum accenting on 1 and 3. I didn't bring up the 2 and 4 backbeat. I don't know, maybe we drummers just, uhhhh, march to the beat of a different drum.

Prophetic wrote: "I would think a good way to describe it is a conductor's wand, it goes with speed. For 2/2 it would almost only be neccesary for the conductor to give one beat if I'm not mistaken. So it has a different feel."

Conducting in 2/2, the wand goes down for beat one and up for beat two.
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#1034923 - 01/04/05 07:41 AM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Lucky, 2/2 can go Dum dum / Dum be de dum ba de / Dum dum

While 4/4 would normally go Dum be dum be / Dum de dum da / Dum dum

I don't if that makes sense, but that's my understanding of it.

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#1034924 - 01/04/05 12:32 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
This is kind of interesting/coincidental: I just received a copy of the book Lead Lines and Chord Changes. I'm looking at the first few pages. Page 7 discusses rhythm patterns in classical and popular music. When showing which beats are stressed in classical music (in 4/4), it says beats 1 and 3 are stressed. Popular music in 4/4, it says beats 2 and 4 are stressed. This sort of falls in line with our "boom boom" discussion above.
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#1034925 - 01/04/05 12:47 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Standards also stress 1 and 3.

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#1034926 - 01/04/05 12:51 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Excuse my ignorance, Bob, but I hear the word "standards" a lot--what is a standard?
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#1034927 - 01/04/05 01:44 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
"jazz standards" - those tunes fake books are filled with, that every jazz band in the world knows how to play \:\)

like
Summertime
Autumn Leaves
Blue Bossa
etc.

check this out:
http://amadeus.siba.fi/~eonttone/standard.html
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1034928 - 01/04/05 01:48 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
So, is "standard" a subclassification of popular music, or is it its own classification? I'm pretty sure I understand classical music (in the general sense), but I'm just trying to figure out how the other broad categories relate to each other.
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#1034929 - 01/04/05 03:49 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Most of the songs from the 30's and 40's are considered standards. You know, "Body and Soul", "As Time Goes By", "Over the Rainbow", "April in Paris", etc. etc.

You'll find lots of definitions of a "standard". But basically it's a song or piece that's been covered by several artists.

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#1034930 - 01/05/05 07:17 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
Spin Doctor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Muir:
Standards also stress 1 and 3. [/b]
I strongly disagree that jazz standards have the accents there. If I heard any jazz played on the 1 and 3, I'd have to leave the room, or shoot the piano player. My teacher would definitely ask me what the hell I thought I was doing playing Body and Soul like that

Actually, it reminds me of the time a friend was trying to teach jazz to a classically trained guy and he said later that the poor sod couldn't swing if he tied him to chandalier...


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#1034931 - 01/05/05 08:53 PM Re: 2/2 vs. 4/4 Time
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21827
Loc: Oakland
An interesting fact that you may not know is that the first page of the manuscript for the Moonlight Sonata is missing. No one is certain whether the first movement is in common (4/4) time or alla breve (2/2). It makes a real difference. It tends to be rather lugubrious in common time, and more anxious in alla breve. The difference is that you would tend to accent the first note of each triplet in common time (with a strong accent on the first, and a lesser one on the third), while in alla breve, only the first note of first and third triplets would have any accent. Also, alla breve, as you might guess, tends to go a bit faster.

It's a good piece to experiment on. Once you have gotten the difference between the two in that piece, you won't have any trouble distinguishing between them again.
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