It's' been 5 and 1/2 months since my previous post in this series, (sorry) so I'll need some time to get back on track. Okay....
What is Time?
In 9th grade, my physics teacher told me that time is something that could never be clearly defined. Wikipedia defines it as a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them.....perhaps a bit confusing.
In music, time refers to the time signature, or meter of a song. Despite the large number of time signatures in existence, there are only 2 meters: duple and triple.
Duple: DOWN, up, DOWN, up
Triple: DOWN, up, up, DOWN, up up
All time signatures are derived from, or variations of, these 2 meters.
Time signatures define how many beats are in a measure (or taala), and the notational duration of each beat. In western music, it's represented as a fraction:
This time signature signifies that there are 3 beats per measure, where each beat has the duration of a quarter note. This is an example of triple meter.
Why do we need it?
Time signatures do more than just indicate the structure of the song. Each time signature has certain rhythms associated with it. For example, 3/4 indicates waltz time. 6/8 is commonly used for faster dance music. My point is, time and rhythm go hand in hand.
Listening to music and trying to identify the meter, time signature, and the rhythms are excellent ways of improving your sense of music. Later, think back and try to group certain rhythms with certain meters. You'll soon find patterns emerge, correlating these 3 elements. Unfortunately, this is something you need to experience for yourself. Listening to uncommon time signatures helps a lot. My personal favorite signature is 7/8
How does this help compose?
Any rhythm that you play has to finally fit in your meter. Understanding how rhythm intertwines with time signatures can help you make "intelligent choices" in your music. For example, if you want your song to be interesting, the first thing you need is a catchy rhythm. Okay.........how do you get compose a catchy rhythm? Force yourself to use a catchy time signature, of course!
For example, 5/4, 7/8, 11/8, 13/8, 15/16
I think you get the picture. Any signature with an odd number of beats, will easily churn out an interesting rhythm. Unfortunately, 3/4 can't make this category, because it's pretty much over used, and, a bit slow to form an intriguing rhythm.
I realize that this has been a rather ambiguous blog. There's really nothing here about how to come up with a complex rhythm. I'll delve into that a later time......hopefully. Until then, keep analyzing.