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4/4 vs 2/4 vs 2/2
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ABitRusty
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March 10, 2024 - 10:44 pm
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Trying to demonstrate the differences in feel between 4/4 2/4 and cut time or 2/2.

Reels are generally notated in 4/4 but have a cut time feel.  meaning theres two beats per measure not 4.  4/4 means 4 beats a measure quarter note gets a beat.  thats the first measure in this video.  To NOTATE the same number of notes in a measure in 2/4 youd have to switch to 16th notes.  Since the tempo is the same youll see the music is faster, BUT the beats are in the correct place for a reel.  you cant use eighth notes to notate the measure because it will carry to another measure.  4/4 makes notation simpler but the beats are wrong.  thats why cut time is either understood or notated with a C and a line down the middle.   Youll see it demonstrated and the beats are in the correct place, correct number of notes for the measure, and tempo stays the same.

its basically a notation choice from the beginning.. 

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ABitRusty
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March 11, 2024 - 12:34 am
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I think choice of seeing 4/4 is easier on the eyes and easier to count. Theres no ONE-E-AND-AH... just One-and...etc

You just have to remember the pulse is on 1 & 3 and not every hard beat.  thinking in cut time or tapping foot every other beat

probably confused the matter..

 

EDIT ON 3/19/2024

This is a really good write up for reels.  Its centered on bodhran but has some useful info...

https://www.billtroxler.com/up.....tterns.pdf

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ABitRusty
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March 11, 2024 - 6:48 am
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how you group with beams has nithing to do with anything except display conventions...or whats commonly accepted practice.  thats another subject.  i could break all the beams and display them as single notes.

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ELCBK
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Okay, you really made me think.  From the examples you give I feel there is NO difference in feel using 8th notes, but I'm pretty sure the feel of accents IS supposed to be different for 2/2 vs 4/4 - and some reels have the feeling of both, e.g. "Cooley's Reel", "The Smokey Lum", etc...

Missed it at first, but see now you added accents.  Not all reels have the same heavy accents or groove, so I think adding accent marks would be a brilliant idea to help show syncopation!

Beaming is supposed to help show rhythmic grouping.

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK said
Okay, you really made me think.  From the examples you give I feel there is NO difference in feel using 8th notes, but I'm pretty sure the feel of accents IS supposed to be different for 2/2 vs 4/4 - and some reels have the feeling of both, e.g. "Cooley's Reel", "The Smokey Lum", etc...

Missed it at first, but see now you added accents.  Not all reels have the same heavy accents or groove, so I think adding accent marks would be a brilliant idea to help show syncopation!

Beaming is supposed to help show rhythmic grouping.

  

Totally agree with beaming and grouping how the notes are displayed.   looking at individual notes is a pain.  

As far as cut vs common feel... and whats right for a reel seems to depend on who you ask.   Peter coopers book has everything in cut time but notes written as 4/4 like this.  What makes this book a must have is the BOWING and SLURS and ORNAMENTS are written out on a lot of popular tunes.   If a person had this book and followed it and got the slurring and bowing down.. it would help.

Screenshot_20240311_141647_Kindle.jpgImage Enlarger

 

You can see from the suggested dance tempos he is talking in cut time.  notice the half note?  If he was talking about 2/4 idk.. with him listing a half note and having the cut time symbol..think he is talking about 2/2.

Screenshot_20240311_141910_Kindle.jpgImage Enlarger

this is one thing that always confused me starting out.   id read some tempo suggestion being 112 and im playing at 120 and theres no comparison in tempos.   others are flying and obviously NOT at my 112

Brian Conways fiddle method suggest cut time.  Matt Cranitch book 4/4 and also places emphasis different I think.  Believe he teaches 2&4.  

So more than one way.   

My thing with this is showing the differences and how they relate and how you can work some things out with notion..or any notation software.

in the end its up to the fiddler to put the emphasis.. play with dynamics.. use of slurs.. all that.  other instruments playing along with a fiddle can mask what the fiddle is doing.  the whole recording has its own life thats made up of everything playing.   

Thats another great thing about peter coopers book.  the included audio is him playing the examples.

but yeah.. need to notate out proper beaming of notes to make it readable.  But that act is not the biggest thing.. I think slur placement and emphsis is.. and that will be fluid between players and even days with indi idual players. 

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ELCBK
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March 11, 2024 - 8:57 pm
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I don't have Matt Cranitch's book, but I have thoroughly enjoyed ALL of his workshops at Fiddle Hell! 

Yeah, the tempo thing still drives me nuts. 

Jeez, I'm still trying to just focus on where strong beats are.  The more I run across different grooves in reels, the more interested I get in how these can be notated.  

Thanks for Peter Cooper's book info.

Never even thought about showing the slurs (or bowing), because I don't usually see them used for the tunes I look up - glad you brought that up!

I've never had too much trouble figuring out where to slur - more like it's easy for me to tell where NOT to slur, cause it will sound terrible if some notes don't get 'their space'. 😄 

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK said
I don't have Matt Cranitch's book, but I have thoroughly enjoyed ALL of his workshops at Fiddle Hell! 

Yeah, the tempo thing still drives me nuts. 

Jeez, I'm still trying to just focus on where strong beats are.  The more I run across different grooves in reels, the more interested I get in how these can be notated.  

Thanks for Peter Cooper's book info.

Never even thought about showing the slurs (or bowing), because I don't usually see them used for the tunes I look up - glad you brought that up!

I've never had too much trouble figuring out where to slur - more like it's easy for me to tell where NOT to slur, cause it will sound terrible if some notes don't get 'their space'. 😄 

  

Yeah where to slur really has to be thought out and sorta practiced that way.  almost like a scale.  but once down it starts becoming more muscle memory.   Another thing thats important is how to get some emphasis into the slur...lean into it.its not just a slur.  you eeaww it 🙂    .Once thats down it helps to play it straight swung or syncopated as you want. kinda the key to most of it.  notation is just a roadmap to the tune at that point. 

To me The Cooper book is not a tunebook..its a how to fiddle Irish music textbook and he uses well know n tunes to demonstrate.

theres 2 strong beats.  1 not so much compared to the other.  its in the book somewhere. 😉

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ELCBK
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March 12, 2024 - 12:27 am
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So, you don't believe there can more than 2 strong beats in a melody bar of a 4/4 Reel? 

My favorite reels have syncopation.  They can have anywhere from 2 to 4 strong beats in some measures - it's because I've heard/seen others do it & I love the groove.   Any place strong emphasis is unexpected it will cause syncopation, doesn't have to be in between the beats - just not normally accented ones.

Cooleys Reel is a common trad example - starts right off, after the pickup, I can play 3 equally strong beats (1st, 2nd & 3rd) in the 1st measure & definitely all 4 beats in the 3rd measure... 

...all I'm suggesting is keep an eye out - but no one needs to agree with me. 

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ABitRusty
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@ELCBK said
So, you don't believe there can more than 2 strong beats in a melody bar of a 4/4 Reel? 

My favorite reels have syncopation.  They can have anywhere from 2 to 4 strong beats in some measures - it's because I've heard/seen others do it & I love the groove.   Any place strong emphasis is unexpected it will cause syncopation, doesn't have to be in between the beats - just not normally accented ones.

Cooleys Reel is a common trad example - starts right off, after the pickup, I can play 3 equally strong beats (1st, 2nd & 3rd) in the 1st measure & definitely all 4 beats in the 3rd measure... 

...all I'm suggesting is keep an eye out - but no one needs to agree with me. 

  

I think theres 2 strong beats in reels.  obviously things in 4/4 have 4 beats.. thinking in that line the strong beats could be 1 & 3 or 2& 4.  Seems like Liz Carrol has fun with that discussion in an episode of The Blarney Pilgram Podcast.  There was a question about how she taps the beat with her foot that got it started

But its more free flowing and the tune sorta floats on top of a 2 beat pulse. counting 1 2 1 2 alot easier than trying to count 1 2 3 4.

I appreciate the discussion and your to what seems to me like searching for answers on the syncopated front.  i really think alot of your answers are with bowing.  Page 74 in Coopers book covers Cooleys and why the bowing is important.  Alot has to do with some consecutive up bows crossing over to beat 1 from end of previous and how a strong down bow needed to get back towards frog... it also has cut time listed.. 

But one thing as far as why things arent notated better on sites... theres more than fiddle.   do slur markings mean anything to a concertina player?   breath marks for a flute player mean anything to a banjo player?  i think we as fiddle players can pick up stuff from other instruments playing the same tune though...and i think its revealing to play to other instruments.  theres recordings like mary mcnamars tunes from county clare.  john whealans taking time recordings on the web are good for an accordian.   Hataos irish and shannon heatons youtube for flute.... But learning some base things probably better sticking with a method of sorts like is in one of the previous posts.  itll help with your searching i think.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

REALLY appreciate this thread - gave me a lot to think about! 

Thank you for your patience! 

Sorry, just realized you used some great marcato symbols in the OP, not accents.

I think knowing about multiple/different time signatures used for a type of trad tune (like the Reel) gives me the opportunity see that maybe all of them could be used, creatively - for one tune! 

Not so sure I'm searching for new answers to questions, but maybe more about sorting out some aspects of my own 'music journey'.

You made a great point about slur markings vs other instruments, 🤔... got me wondering why some aspects of notation, like that, DON'T bother me (at all) - but things like some types of beaming might!  

It's probably mostly about my learning by ear & feeling bowing effects. 

 

Maybe I should be thankful for watching Shirley Temple tap dancing in her films when I was a kid.  To me, the accented beats seemed to come from ANYWHERE, unexpected - exciting... but they still started a pattern, a groove I could feel!  This anticipating of beats 'coming from anywhere' is one reason I first listen for (or look for in notation) the strongly accented beats. 

Bowing - because I learn mostly learn by ear, it just feels natural for me to fill in my bowing around the strong beats, and in the smoothest & most efficient way I can.  I don't really 'think' about it - but I'm always working on new ways to use my bow.  Since I have no cause to coordinate bowing with anyone, I use bowing as a tool just for MY OWN expression. 

Hearing 'melody' & rhythm - growing up, singing seemed the base for music I heard.  To me it was what harmony was built around, so I assumed I could always use ANY kind of sheet music that had the melody notes - it's why I offer up accordion, piano & some other instrumental notation to learn on violin.  ...but this thinking didn't help me see that chords & chord progressions can set up the base for creating melody & that there can be an EXTREMELY important relationship in music between a 'rhythm part' set against a 'melody part' - which I now understand. 

 

Btw, there's a bit of info about 'Scottish Reels' being in 2/4 or 4/4 time & how they are sometimes 'spiced up'!  Scottish Fiddle Styles at biteyourownelbow.com

Interesting that Hornpipes were said to be originally in 3/2 time, but now 4/4 (I LOVE Three-Twos). 😊  

xNQYV.png

Anyway, it all reminds me that musicians learn to play music in different ways, with different approaches.  I LOVE learning what helps others here & I've gained so much that makes my playing more enjoyable! 

🤣  ...back to practice. 

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ELCBK said
@ABitRusty -

REALLY appreciate this thread - gave me a lot to think about! 

Thank you for your patience! 

Sorry, just realized you used some great marcato symbols in the OP, not accents.

I think knowing about multiple/different time signatures used for a type of trad tune (like the Reel) gives me the opportunity see that maybe all of them could be used, creatively - for one tune! 

Not so sure I'm searching for new answers to questions, but maybe more about sorting out some aspects of my own 'music journey'.

You made a great point about slur markings vs other instruments, 🤔... got me wondering why some aspects of notation, like that, DON'T bother me (at all) - but things like some types of beaming might!  

It's probably mostly about my learning by ear & feeling bowing effects. 

 

Maybe I should be thankful for watching Shirley Temple tap dancing in her films when I was a kid.  To me, the accented beats seemed to come from ANYWHERE, unexpected - exciting... but they still started a pattern, a groove I could feel!  This anticipating of beats 'coming from anywhere' is one reason I first listen for (or look for in notation) the strongly accented beats. 

Bowing - because I learn mostly learn by ear, it just feels natural for me to fill in my bowing around the strong beats, and in the smoothest & most efficient way I can.  I don't really 'think' about it - but I'm always working on new ways to use my bow.  Since I have no cause to coordinate bowing with anyone, I use bowing as a tool just for MY OWN expression. 

Hearing 'melody' & rhythm - growing up, singing seemed the base for music I heard.  To me it was what harmony was built around, so I assumed I could always use ANY kind of sheet music that had the melody notes - it's why I offer up accordion, piano & some other instrumental notation to learn on violin.  ...but this thinking didn't help me see that chords & chord progressions can set up the base for creating melody & that there can be an EXTREMELY important relationship in music between a 'rhythm part' set against a 'melody part' - which I now understand. 

 

Btw, there's a bit of info about 'Scottish Reels' being in 2/4 or 4/4 time & how they are sometimes 'spiced up'!  Scottish Fiddle Styles at biteyourownelbow.com

Interesting that Hornpipes were said to be originally in 3/2 time, but now 4/4 (I LOVE Three-Twos). 😊  

xNQYV.png

Anyway, it all reminds me that musicians learn to play music in different ways, with different approaches.  I LOVE learning what helps others here & I've gained so much that makes my playing more enjoyable! 

🤣  ...back to practice. 

  

 

 

@elcbk said

"Sorry, just realized you used some great marcato symbols in the OP, not accents."

What is the significance to you for you to point that?  Those beats will be accented or pulsed in reality.  Its a midi instruction for the purposes of my OP.  This can also be done in the sequencer view inside of notion on a computer but it was quicker to do what i did in the mobile version and also shows the beat.  so serving as a visual placeholder.  That would be similar to changing velocities in presonus on the midi piano roll.. Its NOT meant to imply anything about how to play.. substitue an accent if its confusing.

it doesnt change the meaning of the op.  just a method to get software to do what i needed at a moment.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

The Marcato symbol was just new for me - thought it was brilliant, that's all! 

 

...hoped you'd get a kick out of the image with the 'upside-down-bow' symbol - from an 1899 copy of Salut d'amour, Op.12 by Edward Elgar. 

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ABitRusty
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Heres the interview from a 2019 episode of The Blarney Pilgram podcast that I mentioned in post 9 above.  Ice tried to share with a timestamp but failing.  go to 42:15

t=2541

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Thanks!

...love how Liz analyzes!  

I like Johnny McGreevy's bowing. 

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@ELCBK said
Thanks!

...love how Liz analyzes!  

I like Johnny McGreevy's bowing. 

  

I guess i missed it..or wasnt liatening as close on that part.. do you know about where she talks about it?

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ELCBK
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The analyzing?  I started listening where you suggested.  She analyzes everything about how people bow & the rhythm... I went back to the beginning for a few minutes because this was all sounding familiar & realized I had listened to this when you 1st recommended the podcasts (couple years ago?) - but I still hear more NOW, that's relevant to me!

She starts talking about being influence by Johnny McGreevy's 'Sligo Style' - about 53:14.  A little farther along, she talks about the swing & bowing.

Handed Down YT Channel has a little 3-part doc on Johnny - interviewed by Paddy Glackin (where I got to see how he was playing).

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