Timing has been the hardest thing for me to understand. Most of the music I play is complicated and is played freely. I listen and I play, or I improvise. I rarely have any idea of the timing I am playing in. I don’t understand 12/8 timing, or 12 bar blues as it is also referred to, though a great deal of the music I play is in said pattern.
Timing is actually a mathematical problem, or equation. The learning of which is not easy, but sensible and mandatory. Beats have to be defined as either weak or strong in order to gain value and seperate themselves. Otherwise there is no difference in beat, tension and release involved.
Every beat pattern has to have stressed areas to show emotion and differences in how the notes are presented. Different people have different reactions to the same patterns.
Music is broken down into patterns of beats we call stress patterns. These stress patterns are called meters. A meter is a group of stressed beats. There are 4 separate stress patterns, or meters.
1. Duple Meter. Which is one pattern containing two beats. The first of which is a strong beat >, the second is a weak beat U. Example: > U [> = strong beat, U = weak beat]
2. Triple Meter. 3 total beats. 1 strong beat and 2 weak beats. Example: > U U
3. Quadruple Meter. 4 total beats. 2 strong beats and two weak beats, or 2 duple meters. Example: > U > U
4. Quintuple Meter. 5 total beats. 2 strong and 3 weak beats. One triple meter and 1 duple meter combined in any order. Example: > U > U U or> U U > U.The first beat of any meter is the strongest stressed beat. Regardless of which type or arrangement of the meter. If there are two strong beats per meter, the first strong beat is the strongest.Meters can be combined in any manner. We call the stress patterns, either in combination or alone, a Measure of music. Measures of music often have different numbers of beats in them. Which means there is either an even number, or odd number of beats in every meter and measure of music.
Time classifications are a division of the amount of beats per measure. If you can divide the number of beats in a measure by 2, an even number, we call that a Duple-Simple time classification. If a measure can only be divided by 3, an odd number,, it is referred to as a Duple Compound time classification.
To be referred to as simple time and compound time.
Even though it will take lots of practice with a metronome to master. A time classification such as 3/4 means this. The top number is the actual amount of beats/notes played in a measure. The bottom number is the total amount of beats in a measure.
A time classification such as 3/4 looks like this: 4 total beats occur during the measure, but only three notes are played, so one of the notes counts as 2 beats. In effect, only three beats are played out of 4 total beats. One beat is not played.
Where beats are normally divided into 2 or 3 parts for relatively simple music, more complex classifications subdivide the beat into 4 or 6 parts.