Odd number of measures........

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    I like to compose even though I'm limited in my music theory. One of the bands I'm in plays Klezmer. I'm starting to feed them a few of my original tunes, and the response is positive. I've received a criticism however from a lady friend (piano/degree in music) about the way I'm laying out these simple tunes. I have a tendancy to finish a section with an odd number of measures: 9 instead of 8, 11 instead of 12. She said, "theoretically" that's incorrect. Although I've changed some of those "imperfections," I have found some tunes to be "THE ONLY WAY I HEAR IT". I won't be seeing my teacher for a while so I put this before you all. All constructive comments welcomed.

    crow
     
  2. ska

    ska Pianissimo User

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    Sep 12, 2009
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    I have musical education, but I am rarely applying it. I just hum music in my mind. I've been listening to different kinds of music, and I memorise them in time and then I'm just using similar sounds from there.
    I just make music up as I go and I look for sound in it, I'm not gonna refer to some solfeggio theory book that states this and that. Just sound. Remember that music is a creation, there is no right or wrong way in creating something. There are only opinions. The only way you improve it is doing it your own way, based on your fantasy. You can ofcourse listen to people's suggestions, but you just can't deduce that when some number doesn't match with the one in the solfeggio-book it's all wrong. As you pointed out, some tunes can only be like that, cause that's the only way you hear it. That's sufficient enough.
     
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    Crow,

    Big part of the classical repertoire as many folk songs are structured in even numbers structure very much like jazz tunes - 4-8-12-16 etc bar phrases and structures. I suggest that you spend some time on musical analysis. I don't know very well Jewish folk music, but I assume that it behaves quite alike any other folk music.
     
  4. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    Crow, why "incorrect" ? Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman", which is (for me !) one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, is based upon a theme of 15 measures (not 16 !). Many folk musics in the balkan area have an odd number of measures. Maybe also klezmer music ? I don't know... However YOU are the composer and YOU write YOUR music as YOU feel it !
     
  5. tutin_trumpeta

    tutin_trumpeta Pianissimo User

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    Apr 10, 2008
    Hertfordshire, UK
    This is very true but, at the risk of being controversial, it is your music. If you want it to have an odd number of bars then have an odd number of bars.

    My only advice is learn the rules before breaking them. I majored in composition at uni so I know not to use parallel fifths or octaves but I also write compositions which have nothing but consecutive fifths and octaves...

    It's your music.

    Nick
     
  6. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    When it comes to Jazz/Blues improvisation I know uniformity is important. Most improvisors learn how to feel 4, 8, 12, 34. But when your reading, I would think any configuration of measures would be acceptable, as long as there's a sensible and appealing melody line. I think it was Miles that said, "there are no wrong notes". Well I embellished upon that by saying, "there are no wrong notes, only acculturated ears". And because of that fact the Western World is more familiar with 4, 8, 12, and 34. American audiences and dancers are familiar with that, and I guess it's expected of musicians to deliver. Klezmer is primarily a music to dance to, and I doubt that dancers will be hindered by 5, 9, 11, or 33 bars. There's a lot of improvising in Klezmer......I'll have to find out if that becomes a problem for the improvisor.

    crow
     
  7. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    IMHO, there is no right or wrong. It is a matter of taste. Insisting that there be only even multiples of the number of measures is like insisting that music should only be in 3 or 4 meters is correct and that extreme odd meters (7/8 or 33/16 - thank you Mr. Ellis!) are incorrect.

    Freddie Hubbard's tune Intrepid Fox has blowage over 7 bar phrases. That's part of the challenge.

    Now, certainly music history and tune history tends to support the idea of 4, 8 and 16 bar phrases, so heavily that when one gets a tune with an extension, the whole band is likely to fall over it! So, my only quibble with your teacher is her saying that it was INCORRECT to write an odd number of bars. It might not be IN VOGUE or the way it is usually done, but I wouldn't call it wropng.

    Peace!

    Nick
     
  8. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    I'll go along with those who say there is no absolute "right or wrong."

    And Klezmer music is a very specialized sound and if you're going to play it you need to investigate it and listen to and talk to the musicians who are recognized as masters of the style and see what others are doing, and make your arrangements and tunes fit the style, odd number of measures or not.

    Klezmer is dance music, though, so it may require an even number of measures when used in dances and yet concert klezmer music might be just fine with odd numbers of measures in phrases.
     
  9. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    Is there more "dance music" than cuban salsa ? So hear some of those songs, for instance "Ahora Si" (Recordando el Ayer, Celia Cruz and friends) :
    intro 12 bars / first part 9 bars (not 8 !) / secund part 9 bars / third part 16 bars / fourth part 8 bars / and so on.
    Odd numbers of measures are used "para cambiar la clave", to change the rhythm.
     
  10. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    Cuban salsa is terrific "dance music" but one can't lump all dance music in the same category. Lots of dances require even numbers of measures (much Celtic music, most of the stylized dances of the Renaissance and Baroque in Western Europe) so it's not quite fair to say that just because a particular type of music is dance music that it's alright to be as irregular as you wish.

    Learning the kind of dance steps and what the dancers expect to hear is a great first step whenever arranging or composing music for those dancers to dance to.
     

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