# Re: Theory (Time Signature) Question

"Oci-One Kanubi" <rhopley@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
news:1173387199.907346.264210@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I recently looked at a lead sheet for Queen's "Crazy Little Thing
Called Love". I am curious about the way John Deacon's little
Rockabilly fill was noted (this is a 3-note chromatic descent, pause,
3-note chromatic descent, pause, turnaround in 1/4 note triplets).

The notation was:
One bar at 7/8 of straight-8s as: rest, rest, note, note, note, rest,
rest.
One bar at 5/8 of straight-8s as: rest, note, note, note, rest
One bar of 4/4 of 1/4-note triplets as: root-8-8 8-8-8

Why would this be transcribed in three different time signatures when
it could be written 4/4, 2/4, 4/4? I mean, the first two bars total
12 8th notes, so why write them in less-usual signatures when you
could easily put 8 in one measure and 4 in the next?

I guess I could see writing the first two bars as 8/8 and 4/8, since
the 8th note is the basic unit of that phrase, but, when the rest of
the song is written in 4/4, why the change out of 4s, which looks, to
me, arbitrary?

Is this from a published lead sheet? I worked the song out with
a band recently, and I just listened to it to try to figure how the
timing would be notated (rather than just doing it from "feel") and
what you report doesn't make sense in several ways:

1) The fill is exactly 3 measures long, not 2 1/2 (not counting
the one-measure lead-in back to the song).
2) The song really has a swing or shuffle feel so it is
technically closer to 12/8 than 4/4, though such songs
are often written in 4/4. If it seems confusing that 12/8
is the "same" as 4/4, it is because 12/8 breaks down the
four beats into 4 8th-note triplets, which is really the
underlying "feel" of swing or shuffle. 12/8 doesn *not*
mean 6 quarter notes.
3) The 7/5 split really makes no sense at all, since the first two
three note segments occur at the exact same place in the
measure. The quarter-note triplet notation of the end of
the lick is correct, though.

If I were notating it I do something like this:

(using 4/4 time)
1st measure - 8th rest, quarter note triplet, three 8th rests
2nd measure - same as first
3rd measure - two quarter note triplets

(using 12/8 time)
1st measure - 8th rest, three "quarter notes" (or tied 8th notes),
five 8th note rests
2nd measure - same as first
3rd measure - six "quarter notes" or tied 8th notes

The reason for using tied 8th notes instead of quarter notes
is to show the boundary between the underlying 4 "major" beats.

- Gary Rosen

.

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