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Thread: Time signature

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    Default Time signature

    Hello, Can anyone help clear up this time signature problem?

    I am going to be in the orchestra for West Side Story the musical and at the beginning of the Overture the time signature reads 4/4 + 2/4

    In the part there is the occasional bar of 2/4 but also some 3/8 so I'm wondering why put the 2/4 signature in the beginning time signature.

    Can anyone please tell me what this means?

    Any help appreciated.

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    Can you show the score including the time signature and relevant passages?

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    It sounds as though the basic pulse will be quavers/eighth notes, but the rhythms will shift around. The 3/8 bars will be conducted in 1. 4/4 + 2/4 sounds a bit unusual, but even then 4/4 might note be a 4-crotchet pattern.
    We're rehearsing El Salon Mexico at the moment, and Copland has bars marked common time C, but then (6/8 + 2/4) afterwards. It's actually conducted as though it was 4 crotchets, but in (1st violin) parts we're playing groupings of 3 quavers, 3 quavers, 2 quavers.
    Follow your part and listen to a recording. All will be clear.
    Graeme

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    Gazza, I have the full score for the complete musical and the Prologue to Act 1 starts in 6/8 so not sure what you are referring to.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Feb-06-2019 at 16:19.

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    The score of West Side Story is copyrighted material. The Terms and Conditions of use do not permit display of the score.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    The score of West Side Story is copyrighted material. The Terms and Conditions of use do not permit display of the score.
    Nice to see this mmsbls. As a pro composer I am appalled at the seeming right of the internet to trash copyright without a care. I wonder if the Bernstein estate is aware of that pdf?
    Thanks again for caring.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Feb-06-2019 at 17:10.

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    Are you playing the Maurice Peress overture? It's been a while since I've played it, but I think the 4/4 + 2/4 is how it starts out - a bar of 4 then a bar of 2, then a 4 bar followed by a 2 and so on until he breaks the chain and then the regular time sig notation kicks in. Now you may wonder why not just write 6/4? Because Bernstein felt it as 4-2, 4-2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Nice to see this mmsbls. As a pro composer I am appalled at the seeming right of the internet to trash copyright without a care. I wonder if the Bernstein estate is aware of that pdf?
    Thanks again for caring.
    They probably don't care, to be honest. They can't afford to chase down things like this unless someone starts making money off of it. I know of orchestras that have scanned their entire libraries, including a LOT of copyrighted music, and make the pdfs available to players online. This has been going on a long time and no lawyers have shown up...yet.

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    Apologies to all for the link to the West Side Story score. It’s indeed copyrighted. Best wishes.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    They probably don't care, to be honest. They can't afford to chase down things like this unless someone starts making money off of it. I know of orchestras that have scanned their entire libraries, including a LOT of copyrighted music, and make the pdfs available to players online. This has been going on a long time and no lawyers have shown up...yet.
    True enough, but at least that is most likely for performances and not just random spreading and abuse of copyright, free of charge.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Feb-10-2019 at 11:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Gazza, I have the full score for the complete musical and the Prologue to Act 1 starts in 6/8 so not sure what you are referring to.
    Thank you, yes you are right the Prologue is in 6/8 but the 4/4 + 2/4 time signature is at the beginning of the Overture which is before the Prologue.
    Last edited by guitargazza; Feb-12-2019 at 02:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Are you playing the Maurice Peress overture? It's been a while since I've played it, but I think the 4/4 + 2/4 is how it starts out - a bar of 4 then a bar of 2, then a 4 bar followed by a 2 and so on until he breaks the chain and then the regular time sig notation kicks in. Now you may wonder why not just write 6/4? Because Bernstein felt it as 4-2, 4-2.
    Thank you for your reply. It is hard to follow the part as on my part (guitar) there is only one chord in the first bar and then just rests for many bars with changing time signatures in the rest bars. I'll try counting it as you suggested, you may be onto something there. Many thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitargazza View Post
    Thank you for your reply. It is hard to follow the part as on my part (guitar) there is only one chord in the first bar and then just rests for many bars with changing time signatures in the rest bars. I'll try counting it as you suggested, you may be onto something there. Many thanks.
    Update: You are dead right, it is alternate bars of 4 and 2 then all the 3/8 bars line up. I never thought of that as I thought if he wanted that why not just write it in 6/4. Problem solved!! Difficult to follow though as there are multiple areas with 3 bars rest, 8 bars rest etc, I guess I can just count them in 6 but trying to remember where I'm up to by counting each second bar as 2/4 is a little confusing. Thank you

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