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You may be a professional drummer, but you are of some sort of mindset that has you in denial of the concept of convention. You also certainly feel rhythm but do not intellectually understand it.

Rhythm is a cognitive/perceptual/psychological process whereby we relate events to one another. It is not mere timing. When you impose in your mind a structure on a timing by giving extra attention to certain events, then you are experiencing rhythm. taDA and TAda are different rhythms even if the timing is the same and the sounds even are the same but you treat them as having those accent patterns (either at-will or through other things that draw your attention such as a their timing in relation to a meter that has gotten set in your mind or even visual cues as to which should be accented).

The 3/4 vs 6/8 distinction is a historic convention, not something in the math. By convention, 6/8 is divided into 2 sets of 3. And yes, these get fuzzy in various real-world concepts like the whole idea of hemiola which is the overlaying of these two meters.




(1) 2 3 | (1) 2 3

and

(1) 2 3 (4) 5 6

are rhythmically identical. You're only conceptualizing them differently.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write this myopic and extremely condescending explanation of my area of study. I will be sure to return the favor someday.


They have different hierarchies. In typical 3/4, the first beat of each measure is given equal weight. In typical 6/8, the first beat is given a bit more weight than the fourth beat.

Same reason why we treat 2/4 and 4/4 differently.


Who's we?

Your decision to give certain beats more or less emphasis is a subjective one. You can glean absolutely no information about a piece from the way the rhythm is subdivided, except maybe the intended tempo.


Perhaps you work in an idiom that has no connection to the conventions of the notation system…?

So, for example, lots of pop/rock music gets notated rather arbitrarily in practice because it's mostly about the feel from recordings anyway. It's common in that world to see what classical convention would call incorrect notation. And since the core notes all work still and you can go by the feel from the sound you know, it doesn't really matter.

But the classical conventions include ideas that the subjective accents you describe are in fact implied by certain time-signatures.


2/4 v. 4/4 is more about the number of quarter notes (beats) per measure (2 v. 4, respectively).

Similar deal with 3/4 v. 6/8. In 3/4, you have 3 beats per measure, subdivided into halves (duplets). In 6/8, you have 2 beats per measure, subdivided into thirds (triplets).


The whole point of the original post and of the lesson describing 3/4 vs 6/8 was not to compare those two notations that indeed are effectively interchangeable.

The point was to compare (1) & (2) & (3) & to the different accent pattern of (1) 2 3 (4) 5 6.

Anyway, even in the case where you are instead counting the 8ths of 6/8 with the same timing as the quarters of 3/4, the 3/4 more readily allows the possibility of odd-numbers of measures in phrases.

That's like how 2/4 and 4/4 are truly identical if the notes are the same (the same son in either time signature is unchanged), but only in 2/4 can you readily have 5-measure sections (i.e. 10 quarter notes) as phrases.

Anyway, there's obviously some miscommunication between us. I assume you actually would agree with everything I'm saying if we were discussing in person. But your original post here will read to many people here as making the claim that there's no distinction between:

3/4 A E C E C E (all 8ths)

and

6/8 A E C E C E (all 8ths)

whereas the whole point of the original article was to describe that these identical timings have different feel because of the different accent structure.


You write, I'm not sure why, as if you are an imposing genius addressing someone with grave intellectual disabilities. It's unfathomable to me by what process you decided our drummer friend is in denial of, has no intellectual understanding of, the bleeding obvious. What you say is mostly the exceedingly basic needlessly expressed in a long-winded way. But perhaps I don't 'intellectually understand' it either.


> addressing someone with grave intellectual disabilities.

Well, I did say I was a drummer!


Haha! I originally in fact had the sentence "Drummer jokes are just jokes!" but edited it out. (disclosure: musician/composer)


I was not intending to come across condescendingly, but I'll totally accept guilt for being not careful enough in that regard.

I was replying to:

> There is no difference between 3/4 and 6/8

Which is simply wrong. There's no difference in the number of 8th notes. And the same music can be written and felt when written as two bars of 3/4 with quarter notes versus one half-speed bar of 6/8. But that's a much more qualified point.

There is a distinction, and it's not in the notation itself but in what the notation means.

To say there's no difference is like saying present tense and past tense of "read" has no difference in pronunciation. Of course, the plain letters fail to capture the difference, and the difference can be confused at times, and is just a matter of convention. In the case of 3/4 and 6/8, they have a different accent structure, and thus a different musical feeling by convention, and discussing that difference was the only point of the article that this comment was relating to.


> You may be a professional drummer, but you are of some sort of mindset that has you in denial of the concept of convention.

Huh, maybe you are violently agreeing with @nerflad? I read the parent comment to mean that convention is the only thing that matters.

> You also certainly feel rhythm but do not intellectually understand it.

Why the snark and personal attack? You have no idea what @nerflad understands intellectually. I’m always surprised when someone with your level of HN karma hasn’t learned to avoid insults and condescension in comments like yours. Are you threatened by the idea that there’s more that one right way to write a tempo?

> Rhythm is a cognitive/perceptual/psychological process whereby we relate events to one another.

I think that definition of rhythm is very bad. Rhythm can exist without a human perceiving it. Google dictionary’s definition sounds better: “a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound”. So does Wikipedia’s: “Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός, rhythmos, "any regular recurring motion, symmetry") generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds (as with the riff in a rock music song); to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.”

So, in summary, the meaning of the word pretty much is mere timing. Your treatise on perceptual psychology is talking about something else.

> The 3/4 vs 6/8 distinction is a historic convention, not something in the math.

Isn’t that exactly what @nerflad was saying??


Apparently, there was mostly miscommunication and the two of us probably agree entirely at the end of the day. The ad hominem aspects of my post weren't warranted really, and I don't care to explain why I fell into it in this case. I didn't mean to be snarky or violent or anything.

Anyway, the post I was replying to didn't say that the difference is due to convention, it asserted the difference didn't exist.

And I stand by my points about rhythm (which I think @nerflad would agree with in the end incidentally).

The "strong and weak" part from Wikipedia only exists in music in the mind of a person. It's not musically strong or weak based on physics of sound waves. Whether something is loud or quiet can be relevant to describing rhythm generically, but music is 100% subjective.

Human beings predictably experience certain musical things in certain ways, especially those from the same music cultures. But a full 100% of everything in music is only music when there are listeners (or just imaginers) having a subjective experience. Otherwise, there is no music. Pressure waves in air or dots on paper are not music.

I don't care what Google's dictionary says. Describing a trite, pithy one-sentence thing for a complex concept is necessarily going to be simplistic.




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