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Timing related question


Mooz0r
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I have a question relating to time signatures :P

OK, I was looking at a copy of the E.T. Flying Theme orchestral score today... And noticed it was written in 2/2 ...

My question is (and it's probably a stupid one)... Why would one decide to write a piece in 2/2 rather than 4/4 ?

Jack- Confused.com

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Maybe he just didn't want to expend too much arm energy when conducting it. But we should definitely find out why.

Could you list all the time signatures used and tell me where they change in the music?

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2/2 is the same as cut-common time.

Maybe he just didn't want to expend too much arm energy when conducting it.

That's actually true - it's for fast orchestral music, which is better "thought through" in larger chunks, without having to use hemi-demi-semi-quavers or whatever.

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2/2 is the same as cut-common time.

Wow, I've been out of the game for a while. I forgot about that. :P

Tim, who hasn't read music for over a year when he did a production of 'Pippin' :P

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In simpler terms its the same as 4/4 but everything is twice as fast.

So you would see a quarter note but it would be played as an eighth.

But it's not a tempo change; it's the time signature. I thought it just meant that there are two minims in a bar - i.e. the eqivalent of 4 crotchets. It'd make sense to have 2/2 with a fast tempo; it just means less work for the conductor (and only two clicks/minims per bar for the metronome). That was me, though.

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Time signatures work like this - the bottom number tells you what the base note value is and the top number tells you how many of those note-values there are per measure. So 4/4 means 4 quarter notes per measure. 6/8 means 6 eight-notes per measure. 2/2 means 2 half notes per measure. A practical effect of this is manifested in the way the conductor conveys the beat to the orchestra and the way the music is written rhytmically. For instance, the opening fanfare of the Star Wars main title is written in 4/4 so the brass are playing triplets and sixteenth notes. Once the theme starts (in measure 3, I think) the pulse changes to 2/2 so that the first two notes of the theme are whole notes. The upshot of this is that the brass and low strings, which are playing those militaristic rhythmic fills, are reading them as eighth-notes instead of sixteenths, making easier for them get it down (and quickly, which is a consideration when recording film music). The downside of this is that you essentially go through twice as many measures of written music, so you are turning pages faster and creating bigger documents for the musicians to have to wrangle on their stands during a performance.

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Williams could have written it in 3, but when I conduct it in 2/2, it gives it a certain weightless feel with things that would be downbeats coming on upbeats. He did this in the tennis scene of Eastwick, with what you'd think of as upbeats coming on downbeats, for a weightless performance.

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How about to you, plebian?

I've already admitted my folly in an earlier post, I've been playing the guitar for 15 years and don't need cut time explained to me. :) . It's just been a while since I've seen the signature.

Tim

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Williams could have written it in 3, but when I conduct it in 2/2, it gives it a certain weightless feel with things that would be downbeats coming on upbeats. He did this in the tennis scene of Eastwick, with what you'd think of as upbeats coming on downbeats, for a weightless performance.

Obviously this isn't a consideration for fans who just like to conduct along with the cd, but when leading an orchestra one must obviously conduct in the same meter (time signature) as the music is written. Otherwise, the orchestra will have no idea where you think they should be.

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