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Jun 13, 2021 - 7:53:45 PM
57 posts since 7/30/2013

I think tempo is the right word, but when playing a song say in 4/4 time and then it moves to the bridge which is different, I think 3/4 time, I get lost. Then the song returns to 4/4 and I'm okay again. "When fall comes to New England" is an example for me... Any advice?

Jun 14, 2021 - 3:44:27 AM



9675 posts since 7/1/2006

Moving from 4/4 to 3/4 is a change in time signature, not tempo. Tempo refers to the beats per minute (think foot tapping -- that would be tempo).

Could you please post a link directly the the version of the tune you're having this hiccup? I found a version here--

but this version is in 2/4 time beginning to end and never changes time signatures, or tempo.

Jun 14, 2021 - 6:26:30 AM

8713 posts since 8/28/2013

I think you are confused in your definition of "tempo." Tempo deals with the speed at which a tune is played and has nothing to do with a change from 4/4 to 3/4. That would be a change in the time, or meter.  Think of the different feel of a march as compared to a waltz.

That said, the song you mention, at least in the version l watched, does not change in either tempo or time, but is a steady 2/4 throughout.

The only things I can suggest here are One: read a bit more about time signatures and listen to examples of each, 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4, until you notice the differences, and Two: play this particular song accompanied by the steady pulse of a metronome.

Edited by - G Edward Porgie on 06/14/2021 06:28:30

Jun 14, 2021 - 7:49:34 AM

57 posts since 7/30/2013

Thank you for your help, maybe I have trouble 'hearing' the beat during the bridge.... I was referring more to the Stringworks cover version with banjo done by Kristin Scott Benson, a nice piece of banjo work.

Jun 14, 2021 - 8:09:33 AM
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9675 posts since 7/1/2006

Cool, thanks for that clarification, here's a link to it on YouTube

And I hear what you're asking about.

This version of the tune seems to be in 4/4 time and seems to fit the phrasing better, and the bridge they added seems to also be in 4/4 time. There never is a change to 3/4.

The tune remains in 4/4 time throughout, and the tempo remains constant. What you're hearing in the bridge is a dotted note duration (a note that gets 1.5 its normal duration) which divides the beat such that the changes or movements occur on an upbeat instead of a downbeat. Two of 'em together and you end back on a downbeat. It's what gives that driving syncopation. You can count a steady 1-2-3-4 through the bridge and you'll hear that it's constant as the melody/chordal movement happens between beats (upbeat) then lands back on the (down) beat.

This all can also be explained in terms of 2/4 time and it would not be wrong. But to me this version is phrased in groups of 4 so 4/4 feels more natural to me. Either way, the time and tempo are constant.

Edited by - banjoy on 06/14/2021 08:13:18

Jun 14, 2021 - 8:12:48 AM



1008 posts since 4/12/2004

Below is a link to the Kristin Scott Benson version of the song.  At what point in time in that recording do you perceive a change in the time signature?

When Fall Comes To New England - Kristin Scott Benson

Edited by - RB3 on 06/14/2021 08:27:20

Jun 14, 2021 - 2:57:29 PM

8713 posts since 8/28/2013

What I am hearing is that she is playing three notes (called a triplet) against the steady two note pulse of the piece. This can indeed be confusing, and has to be listened to over and over in order to get the feel, then practiced extensively. It's not really necessary, as other renditions of this piece clearly show, but it is a nice effect.

One can sometimes get the feel of this three-over-two by taking that one section (and only that one section) and playing it slowly over and over as six beats. The two beat portion will fall on beats 1 and 4; the three note part falls on beats i, 3, and 5. You have to play it for what might seem like forever, but once you get the feel of it and can play it faster, you can drop the six count and easily play the three notes over the two beats. It's kind of like finding the common denominator when doing math.

Jun 14, 2021 - 3:59:42 PM

57 posts since 7/30/2013

Thanks, I knew the notes were getting held longer, something was different, the 1.5 makes sense to me, thanks Frank for the clear clarification and all who contributed to the answer.... bookem

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