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Nerdington Willoughby
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any tips for playing this tune? I took a look at the sheet music for the first time last night. I've gotten used to some of the easier Petrucci/Dream Theater time sig changes, but this one is over the top.
 

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^:agreed: That's all there is to it. Odd time signatures are just something that you get used to. But once you're used to them, they become second nature. :yesway: (My band doesn't have anything as extreme as The Dance of Eternity, but we do have a 4 minute song that changes time signature 16 times and another song that has the time signature change 13 times in under 40 seconds ;)).
 

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NSLALP
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My guitarist slid a 7/4 intro into one of our songs without telling anyone what the time sig was. It took me a minute to figure out where the hell the "1" was. :lol:

Also, I don't know this song off the top of my head, but does anyone know how the time sig is broken up and what it is? It'll be more helpful to demonstrate how to count the pattern, i.e. if it's 7/4 is it really a 7-bar phrase or is the measure broken up more like 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 vs. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7... etc.
 

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Nerdington Willoughby
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also, I don't know this song off the top of my head, but does anyone know how the time sig is broken up and what it is? It'll be more helpful to demonstrate how to count the pattern, i.e. if it's 7/4 is it really a 7-bar phrase or is the measure broken up more like 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 vs. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7... etc.
That's just the point. It's all over the place. Here's the first few bars:

quarter note=108
4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 4/4

quarter note=124
4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 3/4
4/4, 7/8, 3/4, 3/4
|: 4/4, 7/8, 4/4, 5/8 :|
3/8, 7/16, 2/4, 7/16
5/8, 7/16, 2/4, 3/8

Shannon's right, though. There's no shortcut. It just takes practice.
 

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Lots and lots of memorization. Fuck counting :lol:
 

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If you know the song well enough, regardless of the time signature changes you'll know what is coming next.

I've never learned DoE in full, but I've learnt bits, and the time signature changes never gave me any issues. I was picturing the full band in my head playing it, so I knew what was coming next and how long each bit lasts for.
 

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I've never learned DoE in full, but I've learnt bits, and the time signature changes never gave me any issues. I was picturing the full band in my head playing it, so I knew what was coming next and how long each bit lasts for.
+1

When playing extended odd time signature sections, most musicians tend to just 'know how it goes'. Understanding how to count the section is important when you first learn the piece as it's an essential way of checking you're correct, but once you're performing it up to tempo its all about feeling the pulse and knowing the parts - if you were trying to count like that in your head you'd be screwed. It should feel as natural as playing 4/4 time.
 

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+1

When playing extended odd time signature sections, most musicians tend to just 'know how it goes'. Understanding how to count the section is important when you first learn the piece as it's an essential way of checking you're correct, but once you're performing it up to tempo its all about feeling the pulse and knowing the parts - if you were trying to count like that in your head you'd be screwed. It should feel as natural as playing 4/4 time.
:agreed: Exactly. Just like most guitarists aren't going "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4" through a 4/4 song they know well, once you know a song well, you just play it and don't count it.

Counting is very useful for learning a song, but once you know it, you can throw counting out the window. I'm sure Portnoy counted Dance of Eternity when they were first writing it and practicing it, but never counted it on tour.
 

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Mattias Eklundh told me a funny story about when he was playing in India with Jonas Hellborg. They were playing with traditional Indian musicans, doing a fusion song based on an Indian rhythm.

The main theme was in 23/16 timing, and he said that he and Jonas were on the gig sweating it, concentrating so hard to get it as it was just so awkward. While they were on stage struggling through this piece, an old Indian couple in the audience got up and started dancing as though it was the most natural thing in the world! Afterwards, Mattias went over to the old lady and asked what she was doing, like "Are you crazy, this is 23/16?!" and she replied "What are you talking about? It's 5 and a bit!". As in counting five quarter notes and then 3 16th notes - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 123, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 123
 
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