Time Signature question

General discussion about Playground Sessions Bootcamps
jones082
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Time Signature question

Post by jones082 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:03 pm

I'm at level 7, rookie and I'm curious as to why everything so far is in 4/2 time? Wouldn't it be easier in 4/4?

davidsides
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by davidsides » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:11 am

Good question.

At the Rookie level material we avoided using 4/4 and went with 4/2 instead, giving the half note the beat, so that we could make the music look less scary. Playing music that's full of whole notes, half notes and quarter notes looks a lot friendlier than playing music full of half notes, quarter notes and 8th notes.

purpose58
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by purpose58 » Wed May 04, 2016 8:10 am

I was wondering about this as well - but you still count in 4/4. That was confusing at first.

davidsides
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by davidsides » Wed May 04, 2016 10:28 am

I understand.

The big goal there was to get users used to hearing a count to 4, since that's what they'll be hearing/using in most music. We figured, why potentially complicate things by counting to 2 in Rookie lessons, then counting to 4 everywhere else?

oldnewguy
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by oldnewguy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:00 pm

I hust happened to run across this thread. There were things I liked about playground, but the reason I am no longer a member was the 4/2 time and the way the cursor moved. I could not get the quarter note not one beat to work for an old guy like me.

Riff Raff
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by Riff Raff » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:48 pm

Just wanted to chime in and agree with the above. I gave Playground Sessions a good runthrough, but there were just two many factors actively working against me doing well with it. The constant 4/2 time signature was one. The accompaniment not seeming to match much of anything in the Bootcamp music was another. The way the cursor moved and the way it transitioned from line to line also seemed to cause issues. Overall, this meant that playing pieces of music that should have been easy and simple instead became difficult and frustrating while requiring multiple attempts. I stuck with it for awhile to see if it was just a matter of me getting used to it, but it just wasn't improving and there's no reason that learning software should be working against me to that extent.

Swampfox
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by Swampfox » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:19 pm

OK, I'm a novice and I started the piano to learn to read in addition to other reasons; so you can take what I say with a grain of salt. :D I think that at the very beginning it helps if the score only contains quarter notes and most novices don't get tripped up by the 4/2 time. Yet, it sure seems to go on forever. In my opinion, eight notes could be introduced in lesson 49 the "Lean on Me" lesson. "Lean on Me" is easy, there are harder lessons that proceed it, and David Sides goes through how to count. Then the "Game of Thrones Theme" (52) could be scored in 3/4 time instead of 3/2. Personally, I think 'G.O.T' would be easier to read and count if it were in a conventional time signature. Then again, maybe its me. Either way, GOT is a bear. :lol:

sw1tch73ch
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by sw1tch73ch » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:57 pm

Swampfox,

Game Of Thrones Rookie is a Bear no matter how you count it!

The Facebook community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/playgroundsessions/) starting calling completing the lesson "The GoT Challenge" because it is difficult. There are actually harder lessons after, but after doing GoT, you get the sense you can do them too.

The counting shouldn't trip people up too much. There are real time signatures where the top number is larger (just look at Frank Zappa music). I do agree we could start doing 4/4 and 3/4 during Rookie, but I don't find it any more difficult playing with 4/2 or 3/2 times. It does throw off the emphasis implied by the numbers, but the accompaniments usually sound right, despite what an earlier poster implies - I think they were having severe technical issues in their system. The real point of the time signature is to tell you how many beats in a measure and what notes get the beat. You could have 4/1 time if you wanted - 4 whole notes (then you'd also have 3 dashed measure bars and one solid!), but that would be getting carried away! I didn't think the Time Signatures made the songs more difficult than if they'd been written in 4/4 because then we'd have been reading even more complex notation having to count flags on the note to see if they are eighth notes or sixteenths or heaven forbid, thirty-second notes. We'll get to those soon enough.

Perhaps we need a more in depth discussion about time signatures early in the lessons and discuss how the 4/4 and 4/2 relate. I thought there was already a discussion in the lessons about that, but maybe I'm remembering wrong.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

Judex
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by Judex » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:13 pm

The 4/2 time is a real hassle if you've been reading music long enough to have strong associations with the symbols as used in 4/4 etc. music. Someday I'll tell people I learned to play the Can-Can in 4/2 - I expect it'll seem hysterically funny. At the time, I got so frustrated trying to remember whether we were dividing by 2 or multiplying that I looked up the music for Can-Can online - it was written in 1/4, which explains how they get the steady, insistent beat. I tried to find an online discussion of where 4/2 is used rather than 4/4, but nothing useful popped up - does anybody know?

What I wonder is how people who go on to the Intermediate course find it the switch. Anybody care to comment? Personally, I'm looking forward to it.

sw1tch73ch
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Re: Time Signature question

Post by sw1tch73ch » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:53 pm

David Sides did respond at the beginning of the thread why Playground Sessions thought it was the way to go.

Look at it this way, If you can learn it at 4/2 and understand it, then 4/4 will be a breeze. And when you run into something like "Prelude no. 15" from ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ by Johann Sebastian Bach you'll be ready for 24/16 time. There is "Lilliputsche Chaconne" (the so-called ‘Gulliver Suite’) by Georg Philipp Telemann which has 3/32. Of course no matter what, "No. 41a" from ‘Study for Player Piano’ by Conlon Nancarrow is going to mess with you with its Time Signature of 1/√π/√⅔ (and no, I don't have a clue how that works either).

Then you also have to deal with the composers throwing time signature changes at you as in "Klavierstück IX" by Karlheinz Stockhausen which has 34/8, 42/8, 87/8, 142/8.

Something not so esoteric might be "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles. The bridge can be transcribed as 11/8 + 4/4 + 7/8

These examples are extreme of course and come from https://www.cmuse.org/14-musical-works- ... ignatures/

But they're out there.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

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