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Polymeter within a single time signature? Why am I feeling that?

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So, I am composing a nocturne for a piano sextet, but just so that you can hear what I mean by polymeter within a single time signature, I will use solo piano for my examples here. In my nocturne, I have it at quite a slow tempo, that I would describe as being Largo. But, what I am hearing is polymeter within a single time signature and I don't know if this slow tempo has anything to do with it or if it is just the way things are notated making me feel this. I might as well start with what is going on in the bass. In the bass, I have this subdominant emphasis going on and a lot of plagal motion, only really reaching the dominant at the end of the phrase. And this is what I feel metrically:

Quote

1 2 3 &, 1 2 3 &, 1 2 3 &

The third beat feels twice as long as both the first and second beats. The way the bass slowly builds also emphasizes this triple meter feel. Here is the bass by itself:

1306550990_BassProgressionNocturne-1.thumb.png.6e527a81221de16e0cab14d58792a5ab.png

The half notes feel like longer beats in the bass. Now, with the melody alone, I feel a quadruple meter, still slow obviously, but it feels like the melody is in quadruple meter, like this:

Quote

1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4

All the beats feel equal in length and it feels like there are 4 beats. Here is the melody by itself:

1668436828_MelodyNocturne-1.thumb.png.0297825088720887bdfc844e347056c4.png

Clearly a melody in 4/4 time as you can see. Now this is what happens when I combine the melody and bass:

1770892329_MelodyandBass-1.thumb.png.39729ff2fbb8be487d0f422632381290.png

Combining the bass, which feels like triple meter and the melody, which feels like quadruple meter, gives me something that feels like a polymeter. On the one hand, those quarter note non-chord tones can be viewed as being on the fourth beat. But on the other hand, they can also be viewed as being on the second half of the third beat. I have MP3 files of everything I have mentioned so that you can hear what I mean by the bass feeling like an unsteady triple meter and the melody and bass combined feeling like a polymeter. But why do I feel this polymeter of a triple meter bass and a quadruple meter melody when everything is in a 4/4 time signature? Does it have to do with the slow tempo? Or does it just have to do with how I have notated it?

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I'm not seeing your premise that the bass feels like triple meter. If the meter is isochronous (for simplicity's sake, the pulse is steady), then the "&" you mention should just feel like an absent beat 4. My guess is that it's the tempo for you. 

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I can hear what you're talking about - though I can hear it both ways (as polymeter and not).

Does it bug you? If so, sometimes taking some time away from the piece gives me clarity about what to fix. If not, why worry? ­čÖé

Gustav

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2 minutes ago, Gustav Johnson said:

I can hear what you're talking about - though I can hear it both ways (as polymeter and not).

Does it bug you? If so, sometimes taking some time away from the piece gives me clarity about what to fix. If not, why worry? ­čÖé

Gustav

 

It doesn't bug me that I have this polymeter within a single time signature. I was just wondering why I am hearing such a polymeter in a single time signature, since most instances of polymeter also have more than 1 time signature at once.

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Doesn't feel like polymeter for me, because the bass and the melody together play all the 4 beats of a 4/4. Just the 3rd beat accent is syncopated in almost all the melody, but it plays in the bass so, there is not any problem.

but also, those rythms aren't common in a 4/4, so maybe it should be written as a 8/8. The melody would be a 6+2 most of the time and the bass a 2+2+4 which would be a irregular time signature which isn't ternary and isnt binary.

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8 hours ago, caters said:

It doesn't bug me that I have this polymeter within a single time signature. I was just wondering why I am hearing such a polymeter in a single time signature, since most instances of polymeter also have more than 1 time signature at once.

The fact that there is an actual polymeter doesn't depende on the time signature/s you write. Time signatures help to read and interpret (and are logical) but are not necessary to write and interpret polymeter.

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Just now, Luis Hernández said:

The fact that there is an actual polymeter doesn't depende on the time signature/s you write. Time signatures help to read and interpret (and are logical) but are not necessary to write and interpret polymeter.

 

actually you are right, you can write polymeter using irregular time signatures like, 5/8, 5/4. 7/8, 8/8, 9/8, 11/16, and even some compound time signatures like 3+3+2/8 which is very common in a lot of dances.

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