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Old 09-08-2014, 07:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 6/8 in World Music

I've noticed a lot of 6/8s across Africa and Cuba, what other world genres share this time signature?
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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early music employs quick triplets which can be notated as 6/8. irish traditional songs like morrisons, cornelius curtin, and folk classics greensleeves and Scarborough fair also employ it. happy hunting
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You've got to be careful there. Pretty much it's only contemporary popular music and classical Western European Music that uses the concept of a time signature, as such.

Much of North African Drumming has a 6/8 feel, but much of it is actually closer to a simultaneous 6/8 and 3/4 hemiola. Sometimes many of the different parts are in "time signatures" that don't even match up. Say, a "4/4" and a "6/8" that only meet up every 3 "measures" of "4/4," or 4 measures of ".6/8." This rhythm is common to much Andalusian and Arabic music as well, but none of them think of it as a time signature, in the same western sense.

Indian Classical music of the North and South also has 6/8 type tala, and related rhythms as well, but again, these rhythmic cylces are not 6/8 in the same sense. The pertain to a strict series of accented and non-accented beats.

With Afro-Cuban music, there is a nearly constant 6/8 feel in the clave, even in the much more common 4/4 tunes, though the rhythmic cylce is really more like 8/4, to be fair.

I think you'll find that any culture that employs repeating rhythmic cycles will have something comparable to 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8, and frequently 12/8. It's really only common practice era Western Classical and Blues-Derived forms that tend to be so restricted in their time signature.

But again, many cultures view rhythmic cycles as more of a flow with accents, rather than the Western idea of a pulse, or the more modern concept of a beat.

For example, a common rhythmic cycle, or compas in Flamenco, is arranged as follows:
(Underlined are the accented beats. Underlined Bold is a very accented beat.)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

But it's confusingly counted like this(For valid reasons, pertaining to other song forms' rhythms.)

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 1 2

If you look, the pattern is the same, but it makes sense to the Gitano, because of their surrounding musical culture, to feel that first beat as a "three" rather than a "one."

The way this frequently sounds to a westerner is a syncopated 3/4, like so (It's also frequently approximated in transcription like this, somewhat erroneously):

1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 [B]1[/B 2 3

Strictly Speaking, that's the same sequence of stressed/unstressed, but if you're feeling it as 3/4, or in other words, a dancey waltz, you are completely missing the stomping, fiery, fiesty, yet flowing, unending pulse that is intended and understood by the Gitano.

When it's spread up, and especially in dances, this rhythm is often put forth in its older form, of:

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 1 2

Which sounds even more like 3/4 or 6/8, depending on the speed and song form, to westerners. But again, the feel is a flow of 12 stressed and unstressed beats, not two measures of a lilting, swing 6/8.


Soooo, that long-winded post was meant to say, pretty much any culture you look at will likely have a "6/8" rhythmic cycle, probably prominently displayed in it's musical heritage, but it very likely will not be intended to have to same sort of feel as the steady pulse of Western Music, necessitated by our love of huge ensembles, and later intensified by the melding of African percussion and Western pulse.

Sorry. I have a personal pet peeve against trying to understand non-Western-Classical musical cultures through the viewpoint of Western theory. What usually happens, is that the analyzed musical culture seems to have music that is extremely complex and well nigh un-intelligible, when in fact, most musics have very easy to understand premises. Western classical included, but we do get a bit caught up in our math problems, at times...
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Old 11-24-2014, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Also very common in Norwegian gangar - though better understood in 3/8, but with motifs covering 2, 3, 4 or 5 units of 3/8. Most common notation is in 6/8. A new tune sounding quite authentic is Vetle-Nils on the album Lamslatt - you can find it on Spotify!
HERE: spotify:track:03inkn8qYQUW2rvObLxA65

Last edited by Niallo23; 11-30-2014 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack View Post
For example, a common rhythmic cycle, or compas in Flamenco, is arranged as follows:
(Underlined are the accented beats. Underlined Bold is a very accented beat.)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

But it's confusingly counted like this(For valid reasons, pertaining to other song forms' rhythms.)

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 1 2
To make things even more confusing, it would often start on 12 BTW - Yaay, a fellow flamenco player? Cool! Cheers
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