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Piano for dummies - Neely B.

Neely B. Piano for dummies - IDG Books , 1991. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Common time (mb meter)
The most common meter in music is 4/4. It is so common that its other name is common time. Did I mention how common it is? It’s so common that the two numbers in the time signature are often replaced by the letter “C.” You know, for “common.” (See Figure 5-13.)
Figure 5-13:
Another common way to write 4/4 meter.
J.. —« m
In 4/4, the stacked numbers tell you that each measure contains four quarter note beats. So, to count 4/4 meter, each time you tap the beat, you are tapping the equivalent of one quarter note. To hear an example of 4/4 meter, play Track 9. Notice how the 4/4 meter creates an emphasis on beat 1 of each measure, as I explain earlier in the section, “Breaking things up with vertical lines.”
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
Track 9
A Hot Time in the Otd ToiOn Tonight
4* r r =?= ^
When you hear them old bells go ding ling ling.
All join 'round and how sweet- ly you must sing. And when the
through, in the cho- ms all join in: "There'll be a
hot time in the old town to
Waltz time (3/h meter)
In the second most common meter, 3/4, each measure has three quarter note beats. Of course, this doesn’t mean that only quarter notes exist in this meter. You may have one half note and one quarter note or you may have six eighth notes, but either way, the combinations equal three quarter note beats.
In 3/4 meter, the first beat of each measure is usually the emphasized beat, though it is also quite common to hear emphasis on the second or third beats instead, like in many country music songs.
Another name for 3/4 meter is waltz time, because emphasizing every third beat is the rhythm used for waltzing. Listen to Track 10 and play “The Beautiful Blue Danube.” Notice the emphasis on beat 1 of each measure. You could say that 3/4 was probably composer Johann Strauss’s favorite meter, because he is known as the “Waltz King.”
Chapter 5: Joining the Rhythm Nation
The Beautiful Blue Danube
J u t r
i t r iF-j
a < r ^
i i II
March time
Chop a 4/4 meter in half and you’re left with only two quarter note beats per measure. Not to worry, though, two beats per measure is perfectly acceptable. In fact, you find 2/4 meter in most famous marches. The rhythm is similar to the rhythm of your feet when you march: “Left-Right, Left-Right, 1-2, 1-2.”
Track 11 is a good example of 2/4 meter. It’s a famous dance by Jacques Offenbach, called “Can Can,” but played on a synthesizer for a more modern sound. Play along, or just dance to the CD.
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
Track 11
Can Can
Time keeps on slipping
No rule says that a song has to remain in one meter all the way through. Nothing is carved in stone when it comes to the rules of music. Heck, music really has no rules.
A song that begins in 4/4 might shift to 3/4 later on down the road. This change in meter can really liven up the song and keep the listener attentive. Call it music’s “element of surprise.”
Any time the meter changes in a song, the composer alerts you to the change by placing the new meter just to the right of the barline where the change takes place.
Chapter 5: Joining the Rhythm Nation
Track 12 on the CD gives an example of changing meter in a little song called “Changing It Up.” Notice how the change in measure 9 shifts the emphasis on beat 1 (in 4/4 meter) to an emphasis on beat 2 (in 3/4 meter).
This type of meter change is considered abrupt, because the entire rhythmic pulse suddenly changes. A more subtle change in meter is simply to extend a musical phrase by one or two beats to accommodate a new lyric or added melodic tones.
“Add-ons” (Track 13) illustrates this subtle approach. The first time you hear the melody, it’s in 4/4. The next time you hear it, you expect the same ending, but this time the melody is extended by the addition of one beat in measure 15. The new meter of 5/4 (five quarter note beats per measure) then returns to 4/4 to end the song. The effect makes the ending more dynamic.
Track 12
Changing It Up
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j J j ij-j j j-ij j in —i 1 ) 1 1 i 1 1—
* J .•. - -4 J—J ? J—J—4 J—J— j—J—J—Lj—j—j—Lj 1—e!
Part II: Getting Sound Down on Paper
y iii» J j i j J-- ?? J "^Y~Y
r T r r
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No notes, just rhythm
Some songs are so well-known that you can recognize them by their rhythm alone. For example, the holiday favorite "Jingle Bells" has a unique rhythmic pattern. After hearing it in every shopping mall and grocery store from November to January each year, you can't help knowing that quarter-quarter-half, means "Jingle Bells." On the other hand, many songs with memorable melodies use fairly generic rhythms.
Rhythm is a vital component of a song, sometimes even the defining characteristic of that song. Too often, you are tempted to take rhythm for granted and rely solely on the melody. Melody and rhythm rely on one another. Melody without rhythm is just a nondescript series of musical tones. Rhythm without melody is, well, a drum solo.
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