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#3190912 02/02/22 07:54 PM
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Are down beats naturally stronger? For example, if metronome is set to 4/4 at 60 bpm and I’m clapping 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & it seems I naturally clap little harder on 1,2,3,4 while the &s seem lighter then if I try to clap them all equal it seems unnatural.

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Theoretically, and it depends upon context, in 4/4 time, beat 1 is the strongest beat and beat 3 is slightly less strong, while beats 2 and 4 are the weakest beats.

The differences can be quite subtle, however, and should not be exaggerated although, again, it depends upon context.

Regards,


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Downbeats are naturally stronger. Humans evolved by pattern-matching, there are good patterns - mother, and bad patterns - wolf. Strong downbeats are a pattern.

That said, great composers foil the 'natural' pattern. Brahms is a master of beat-shifting. Many other composers' works have stronger beats elsewhere in the bar.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
Theoretically, and it depends upon context, in 4/4 time, beat 1 is the strongest beat and beat 3 is slightly less strong, while beats 2 and 4 are the weakest beats.

The differences can be quite subtle, however, and should not be exaggerated although, again, it depends upon context.

Regards,

Is it best to try and clap them with equal force and not over emphasize down beats or should one be able to clap and any level force at will? Such as being able to clap stronger on up beats and vice-versa?


Originally Posted by prout
Downbeats are naturally stronger. Humans evolved by pattern-matching, there are good patterns - mother, and bad patterns - wolf. Strong downbeats are a pattern.

That said, great composers foil the 'natural' pattern. Brahms is a master of beat-shifting. Many other composers' works have stronger beats elsewhere in the bar.

Sounds like it is natural and then if the click is on the down beat that i clap harder with it? Not sure I follow the mother/wolf part... I'm also curious as to how we naturally have stronger emphasize on down beat. #mindblown hahah

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Are down beats naturally stronger? For example, if metronome is set to 4/4 at 60 bpm and I’m clapping 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & it seems I naturally clap little harder on 1,2,3,4 while the &s seem lighter then if I try to clap them all equal it seems unnatural.

Technically speaking there is only one downbeat per measure, which is the first beat. In measured music, the downbeat is usually accentuated, naturally by the music itself or by the musician. But there are plenty of exceptions. The composer can go against the meter and change the rythmic pattern, accentuate the offbeat, certain melodic mouvement go across the bar line thus accentuation must follow the melodic logic, see Bach suite for solo violin or many vocal pieces. Vocal compositions of early baroque have an accentuation that follows the text.


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We often find 'one-two-THREE | one-two-THREE'. Emphasis on the 3rd beat pf the measure.

Re: Mother/Wolf

Natural selection means that, if you can't recognize your mother's face from a wolf's face, you are likely to get eaten and not procreate.

The ability to recognize patterns is inherent in nature. Plants easily pattern-match. Single-celled amoeba pattern-match.

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Although there really are some exceptions, but by default the downbeats are stronger, yes, and this is the idea behind 4/4 meter. Think about the difference between 3/4 and 6/8.

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Originally Posted by prout
The ability to recognize patterns is inherent in nature. Plants easily pattern-match. Single-celled amoeba pattern-match.
The history of the occurrence of space began with a big bang - the strongest down beat , which is a model for all existing processes. Everything after that (until the next big bang) carries a weaker accent, to varying degrees.

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Actually, Sebs, since you play a lot of pop you should be aware that pop music very often emphasizes the offbeats 2 and 4 (as opposed to classical music where 1 and 3 have more emphasis) and it has lots of syncopated rhythms that don't fall neatly into this pattern.

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While we are on the subject, what about this song?


I have the impression she changes the time signature and tempo ( smile ) but according to a friend who is a pro musician, the signature is 4/8 and what changes is exactly how she changes the regular accentuation.

There were some other songs I had similar impression, e.g., Do you hear what I hear[/i] among them, and my former teacher said the same, what changed were where the accentuation was placed in some measures; in the case of Do you here what I hear is easier to follow to me, but not on Tempo.

I hope this is not (too) off-topic.


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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Although there really are some exceptions, but by default the downbeats are stronger, yes, and this is the idea behind 4/4 meter. Think about the difference between 3/4 and 6/8.

Though it is often the case, it is probably more accurate to say that It really depends on the type of music and the specific context. Most vocal music of the early 17th century has an accentuation that follows the text. Also Arioso and recitatives. Many pop songs are syncopated and use backbeat accentuation. Even classical composers like Beethoven often break the rythm and go against the meter. The sense of meter implies a downbeat presence, but the meter can be loose and so is the downbeat acentuation and not necessarily on every measure.



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Originally Posted by EVC2017
While we are on the subject, what about this song?


I have the impression she changes the time signature and tempo ( smile ) but according to a friend who is a pro musician, the signature is 4/8 and what changes is exactly how she changes the regular accentuation.

There were some other songs I had similar impression, e.g., Do you hear what I hear[/i] among them, and my former teacher said the same, what changed were where the accentuation was placed in some measures; in the case of Do you here what I hear is easier to follow to me, but not on Tempo.

I hope this is not (too) off-topic.
I hear this as a very regular 4/4 (it might be 4/8 but you won't really be able to hear the difference) and what she does with vocals is all syncopation. Actually, this song is a good example of what I was talking about earlier. The offbeats are accented. The loud drum beat you hear once per bar is actually on beat 4. I could be wrong of course, but this is how I hear it.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by prout
The ability to recognize patterns is inherent in nature. Plants easily pattern-match. Single-celled amoeba pattern-match.
The history of the occurrence of space began with a big bang - the strongest down beat , which is a model for all existing processes. Everything after that (until the next big bang) carries a weaker accent, to varying degrees.
I stand corrected. smile

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Thanks for all the replies, all!

Outside of genre I was referring to if I just turn and click and say “clap and count out loud 1&2&3&4&” I was just naturally clapping harder on down beats and it made it easier to stay in time. So now from reading this thread it sounds like beat emphasis can vary based on styles. When working with a metronome and counting and clapping should I be able to do strong/weak in any manner? Or better to not focus on that until I’m further along in my journey?

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, all!

Outside of genre I was referring to if I just turn and click and say “clap and count out loud 1&2&3&4&” I was just naturally clapping harder on down beats and it made it easier to stay in time. So now from reading this thread it sounds like beat emphasis can vary based on styles. When working with a metronome and counting and clapping should I be able to do strong/weak in any manner? Or better to not focus on that until I’m further along in my journey?
Yes, I think it's a good idea to emphasize the stronger beats and the stronger parts of a beat any time you count or clap the beat. Even if you don't actually clap louder just thinking about and feeling that stronger beat makes a difference when you play. And I don't think it's ever too early to do that. A small anecdote - on one of my first piano lessons, I think it was lesson 3 or 4, my teacher asked me to "feel the pulse" and emphasize the downbeat more. Even a complete beginner can benefit from such advice.

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, all!

Outside of genre I was referring to if I just turn and click and say “clap and count out loud 1&2&3&4&” I was just naturally clapping harder on down beats and it made it easier to stay in time. So now from reading this thread it sounds like beat emphasis can vary based on styles. When working with a metronome and counting and clapping should I be able to do strong/weak in any manner? Or better to not focus on that until I’m further along in my journey?

Yes you can of course. That would be the basis for standard measures that are not subject to any particular case. As you get more experienced, you will learn how to deal with more complex situations, how to accomodate melodic lines with meter and so on. I assume your teacher will guide you in cases where you need to adjust the accentuation.


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Thanks @qazsedcft and @sidokar

What I also notice that even though it’s only clapping simply from feeling the pulse and clapping string and weak sounded and felt more “musical” I then tried without any emphasis and it was so robotic. I’m just happy I’m picking up on these nuances and some things are clicking more now. It may have been years later I noticed small things but that’s ok it’s a journey slow and steady.

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Yes. The essence of ragtime is that it places stress on notes that are NOT your standard downbeats.

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Originally Posted by Whizbang
Yes. The essence of ragtime is that it places stress on notes that are NOT your standard downbeats.
In Oompa, Oompa feel does not refer to the left hand.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Yes. The essence of ragtime is that it places stress on notes that are NOT your standard downbeats.
In Oompa, Oompa feel does not refer to the left hand.

Exactly. The left hand's march beat gives needed structure to all the rule-breaking of the right hand.

Ragtime is not as mind-blowing to us today as it was in the time because modern pop music adopted its tricks (and pushed them further)


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