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I was playing some old sheet music from the 70's and saw something I had not previously noticed.
"Sad Lisa" by Cat Stevens is in 4/4 time but changes to 2/4 for one measure. If you look at the attached photo, you will see it in the middle measure at the bottom of the page.

The piece then goes on at 4/4 until at the bottom of page two it reverts to 2/4 time for two lines, then back to 4/4 time .

Why would there be a change like this for just one measure? I can't recall seeing anything like this before.

It just seemed odd, and made me curious.

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The composer likes it, the timing, rhythm, song, poem, lyric, aesthetic, that way?! Or it makes it fit on a old style vinyl 45 single.

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trooplewis - While it doesn't happen every day, it happens from time to time. Some reasons for temporary meter change: To fit lyrics better. To create interest, flavor, anticipation, surprise, or to break up the business as usual feel of a song.

A mid-song cadence can serve the same purpose.

Anything that temporarily introduces something different to spice up a song in that sort of way - a sudden ff, brief change in tempo, a quick crescendo or diminuendo, gong, large bell, loud snare crack, a rest, a brief rubato.

Hope that helps,

Stormbringer


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Spanish, I chuckled at the 45rpm idea, might have something there.

Originally Posted by Stormbringer
trooplewis - While it doesn't happen every day, it happens from time to time. Some reasons for temporary meter change: To fit lyrics better. To create interest, flavor, anticipation, surprise, or to break up the business as usual feel of a song.

A mid-song cadence can serve the same purpose.

Anything that temporarily introduces something different to spice up a song in that sort of way - a sudden ff, brief change in tempo, a quick crescendo or diminuendo, gong, large bell, loud snare crack, a rest, a brief rubato.

Hope that helps,

Stormbringer

Stormbringer, I thought that at first but it doesn't really change the speed or cadence of the piece at all, it just makes for a short measure in the notation. Maybe you were correct in that it made the lyrics fit.


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Hey Guy's - Another example of 2/4 change is towards the end of 'Bridge over trouble water' - to me a simple dodge to hold up the suspense in the piece - and very effective smile


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trooplewis - Yep, I can see that it didn't change the speed or cadence. I was just saying that those things - among the other things I listed - could have an impact on the feel of a song. However, it definitely changed the meter (temporary change in time signature).

Yes, to fit the lyrics would be a prime candidate for sure.

As an aside, I'm a fan of Cat Stevens. The other day I was rockin' out to Wild World, Morning Has Broken, and Peace Train.

Killomiter - Simon and Garfunkel have some great tunes.

Stormbringer


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Originally Posted by Stormbringer
As an aside, I'm a fan of Cat Stevens. The other day I was rockin' out to Wild World, Morning Has Broken, and Peace Train.

Killomiter - Simon and Garfunkel have some great tunes.

Stormbringer

Morning has Broken is a nice piano piece, but for some strange reason the little-known Sad Lisa is still my favorite.
I also enjoy playing Simon & Garfunkel's "So Long Frank Lloyd Wright" on the piano, as well as American Tune. Who else but Paul Simon could fit the phrase "bon vivant" into a song?


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BTW, even though the piece is written in common time, the rythm is actually more of a cut time. The 2/4 works really like an upbeat and accomodates the lyrics. He could have written it in common time with a slightly longer gap between the end of the last phrase and the new paragraph. I guess he chose to reduce the time span by shortening the bar. You can see that the end of the phrase that ends by badly goes already over a full bar.

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@StormBringer - yeah so true but also your comment about Cat Steven is a good one too - Wild World by him was so epic and so of his day in 70/71. Incidentally, I had the cover sheet music to Morning has broken back in the day and by chance, at a gathering, found my self in the company of a lady who was pro piano player. I had the sheet music to her and asked if she could possibly play it. She had a go but failed as the intricacies on his take were so complicated that it was without many hours practice impossible to play off the bat.
@all

I have always found measures an issue on all of my instruments. Not surprising I suppose we all do to some degree. But as the years roll on I am even more convinced it has everything to do with feel. I think of Elon John playing all those 12/8's. Pink Floyd classic 'Money' 7/8 - once into it - all produce a feel and type of bounce. Just saying ... What about Sergio Mendes and all the 5/4 songs etc = All I can say is music in any form can have so much depth.


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It hasn't been mentioned yet that Rick Wakeman was the pianist on some Cat Stevens recordings. His style is particularly evident on Morning has Broken.

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Listen to folksinger Woody Guthrie, who people like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens come from; there's hardly an even 4/4 bar anywhere! Anything goes to accommodate the lyrics.

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trooplewis - Sad Lisa is plenty cool : )

Killomiter - Cool story about the pro piano player. She tested the sheet music. Then the sheet music turned around and tested her back. Sometimes pieces are harder than they first appear.

Sir Lurksalot - Hey, I lurk a lot on forums too. Great name! Guess we're both Yes fans. Cool that you know Rick Wakeman well enough to pick out his signature chops. Well done. I never got to see a Yes concert, but I did go to a Rick Wakeman show.


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Seen a similar Key change in 2 pieces: the Abba hit "Take a Chance on Me" from the 1970s. The piece was recorded but not notated on paper until later with the 4/4 to 2/4 change. Another is an orchestral piece played as a medley from Leonard Bernstein "West Side Story". In the first section there are are few bars labelled "Leap Frog" tempo with the 4/4 to 2/4 and back to 4/4 type of thing.

A Classical piece that came off my head is the Beethoven Symphony #3 "Eroica" 3rd movement in 2/2. Near the end there are several measures in 4/4 and then back to 2/4.

Can a piece in 2/4 be written as 4/4 or vice versa? A piece in 4/4 can be subdivided but the stress is on beat 1 of every 4 beats. The 3rd beat is also emphasized but not as much. A piece written as 2/2 you'd stress every other beat.

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@Stormbringer - ha ha - I did it was DeMontort Hall, in Leicester Uk. back in Seventies. Outstanding gig and clearly rememeber saying to my friends after that although I had not heard much about YES before, by the time the Concert was over I thought I had known them forever.
@Lurkeralot
I had no idea that Rick W played on that song really interesting, but he was on the box the other night playing a tribute to David Bowie and played his part in 'Life on Mars' brilliant I say.

But back to the topic of the thread guy's - back in traditional way most music was accompaniment to singers so it is no surprise that beat came second and had to follow. I recall seeing a guy called Labby Siffrie at a venue and he played a piece on the Piano no vocal but asked if anyone could keep time to it as he played - great piece and so fast but hu hmmm no was the answer constantly changed timing throughout, still hung together which was great smile


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What is the general question about? In my arrangements I use meter change very often; however, not in the same way as indicated in the OP, but by combining both bars into one 6/4 bar. Note that bar 2/4 is the sixth, even, i.e, weak bar. This means that it will be the weakest part of the bar inside 6/4 as well.


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