I can't get my head around 7/4 timing

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axisusaxisus Frets: 18104
I decided to bash out some chords on the piano last night and play along to a bunch of songs. Always fun.

I stuck up the chords to Pink Floyd's Money, but it completely threw me, I couldn't get in time with it at all! I'm a total dunce with theory, how does one get the feel for a 7/4 rhythm. I thought it might come to me if I faffed around with it for a while but nope, it just wasn't happening.

Confused of Luton.


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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 28991
    edited December 2020
    Count it as 1234,123 (or sometimes 123,1234 can work).
    Tap your foot.
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 5414
    When you get the 7, shout "NO FUCKING 8 FOR YOU!" and go back to 1.

    Eventually, you can internalise this hatred and then it becomes second nature.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • For Pink Floyd's Money I would suggest counting 12345 12 or 12 123 12
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 1561
    Seven is a very good time (Se-ven is a very good time - 1-2,3,4,5,6,7)
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 3640
    edited December 2020
    Gina Lollobrigida makes my heart beat in seven.

    Although 7/8 rather than 7/4
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  • jhumberjhumber Frets: 109
    Similar to the above, breaking 7 into 4+3 often helps.

    In the specific case of Money, can you hum the riff / rhythm without a guitar in your hands? If you can walk around the house with it in your head, there’s a much higher chance it’ll come out your hands when it comes to playing. (I’ve consistently used the phrase “if you can’t hum it, you’re unlikely to be able to play it” in lessons over the years).
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  • vizviz Frets: 7037
    I’d count 12 12 123 for Money
    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • octatonic said:
    Count it as 1234,123 (or sometimes 123,1234 can work).
    Tap your foot.
    This. Count it in your head and tap your foot at the same time. Try this first without playing, just so that you can hear where the bars and accents are.  
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  • JotaJota Frets: 301
    The verse on this song is probably the easiest I know in 7/4. If you simplify the drum part it's pretty easy to get into it.



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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 3470
    Sometimes use a one syllable "sev" 
    For some reason Foos, Times like These" was always this.
    Oh, and the end of Biffy Clyro, Bubbles
    More usually count it into 4 and 3 or 3 and 4 as others have said.


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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2270
    edited December 2020
    In my head, Money goes...

    ONE 2 3 FOUR 5 6 7 for the "money, get away" bits. The bass dictates the emphasis. But it's not all in 7/4. The "new car, caviar" bit, for instance... That's (Edit: two) bars of 4/4 followed by a bar of 6/4. 


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  • HaychHaych Frets: 1706
    I know it's wrong, but when I listen to Money, mentally I split the 7/4 timing into one bar of 4/4 and one bar of 3/4.

    In a round about way I thus count it 1-2-3-4 1-2-3

    Hey, Doubtfire, say hello to the Queen for us.

    Bit of trading feedback here.

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 28991
    Haych said:
    I know it's wrong, but when I listen to Money, mentally I split the 7/4 timing into one bar of 4/4 and one bar of 3/4.

    In a round about way I thus count it 1-2-3-4 1-2-3
    It is a perfectly valid way to count.
    FWIW many drummers break everything down to groups of 2's and 3's.

    There is a system borrowed from Indian music where you could groups of two as 'Taka' and groups of three as 'Takata'
    Say them out loud- Taka is two beats, Takata is three beats.
    So you could in theory make any odd time by just adding a 'Takata' to any number of Taka's.

    5/4: Taka-Takata
    7/4: Taka-Taka-Takata
    9/8: Taka-Taka-Taka-Takata

    and so on.

    Also check out the Takadimi system, also borrowed from Indian classic music for teaching rhythms to children.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takadimi
    http://uptheoctave.com
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 8234
    It's a boring song anyway
    so,I'd move onto something else and not worry about it !
    solved.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5780
    edited January 8
    I think the only weird thing about 7/4 and 5/4 is that it reverses the polarity if you're head banging. 
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  • jdgmjdgm Frets: 494
    "Great Expectations" - Miles Davis

    Count the bass as 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 and you'll get it




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  • JotaJota Frets: 301
    jdgm said:
    "Great Expectations" - Miles Davis

    Count the bass as 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 and you'll get it





    Wow!
    I had never seen that cover. Ever. and I had my Jazz phase. 
    Today it's the second time I see it on different locations! 
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 505
    I find that learning things like this by ear and just motoring through works.  Take a look at the guitar riff in the Foo Fighters song "Times Like These" that starts about 10 seconds in.  If learning by ear is too difficult memorize from tab, whatever you have to do then just play along with it.  A few minutes of doing that and it starts feeling comfortable.  I learned the 7/4 bass intro to "Money" by ear before I found out it was in 7/4 and didn't find out(or figure out) that it was in 7/4 until someone told me.  I am an avid note reader with grade 5 RCM in classical guitar but I played by ear for several years before I opened a theory text.

    “Theory is something that is written down after the music has been made so we can explain it to others”– Levi Clay


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  • I think the only weird thing about 7/4 and 5/4 is that it reverses the polarity if you're head banging. 
    There's a great video of Harry Connick Jr casually throwing in a bar of five to get an audience clapping on 2 and 4 instead of the just-plain-wrong 1 and 3. 

    About 40s in here:


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  • vizviz Frets: 7037
    Love the bassist's celebration :)
    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • vizviz Frets: 7037
    I love the beginning of The Mirror by Dream Theater:



    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • KDSKDS Frets: 142
    I get 7/4 no problem, I count it 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 for Money.... but what does the 4 mean?  I realise it is something to do with the rhythm but I can never get my head round what it actually means  
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  • vizviz Frets: 7037
    edited January 12
    KDS said:
    I get 7/4 no problem, I count it 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 for Money.... but what does the 4 mean?  I realise it is something to do with the rhythm but I can never get my head round what it actually means  
    4 means crotchets, which are originally a quarter of a bar (also called quarter beats) if the bar were to contain 4 of them. In 3/4, 7/4, etc, the 4 at the bottom still refers to crotchets, even though there are 3 or 7 of them or whatever.
    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • KDSKDS Frets: 142
    viz said:
    KDS said:
    I get 7/4 no problem, I count it 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 for Money.... but what does the 4 mean?  I realise it is something to do with the rhythm but I can never get my head round what it actually means  
    4 means crotchets, which are originally a quarter of a bar (also called quarter beats) if the bar were to contain 4 of them. In 3/4, 7/4, etc, the 4 at the bottom still refers to crotchets, even though there are 3 or 7 of them or whatever.
    ok I feel stupid for asking this, if the number and n is a crotchet, 4/4 it would be 1 n n n 2 n n n 3 n n n 4 n n n? And say 4/3 (in theory for my understanding) 1 n n 2 n n 3 n n 4 n n...... which is describing shuffle such as dust my broom?
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 1561
    Think of a drummer and a hi-hat, or a pencil on a table if you prefer.

    1,2,3,4 = 4/4
    1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and = 4/8
    1 ee-and-uh, 2 ee-and-uh etc.... = 4/16 (usual to double stick for this one)

    So, these are quarter, eighth & sixteenth notes.

    The bottom number tells you quarter, eighth or sixteenth and the top number tells you how many of the selected type of note are in the bar.

    So, 19/16 would be 1 ee-and-uh, 2 ee-and uh ....... 19 ee-and-uh, 1ee-and-uh, 2ee-and-uh ............
    3/4 is 1,2,3,1,2,3.....
    5/8 is 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 1 and 2 and 3 and......

    For the above song, 7/4, would be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Count it as you hum the riff. You can break the seven count up into easier to handle sections so 1234,123, 2234,223, 3234,323,4234,423.......


    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • vizviz Frets: 7037
    edited January 12
    KDS said:
    viz said:
    KDS said:
    I get 7/4 no problem, I count it 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 for Money.... but what does the 4 mean?  I realise it is something to do with the rhythm but I can never get my head round what it actually means  
    4 means crotchets, which are originally a quarter of a bar (also called quarter beats) if the bar were to contain 4 of them. In 3/4, 7/4, etc, the 4 at the bottom still refers to crotchets, even though there are 3 or 7 of them or whatever.
    ok I feel stupid for asking this, if the number and n is a crotchet, 4/4 it would be 1 n n n 2 n n n 3 n n n 4 n n n? And say 4/3 (in theory for my understanding) 1 n n 2 n n 3 n n 4 n n...... which is describing shuffle such as dust my broom?

    Yes to the first bit, but no to the bit about shuffle. There’s not ever a 3 on the bottom, because there’s no note duration described by a 3. 

    Note durations for time signatures are either minims, crotchets, quavers (half-notes, quarter-notes or eighth-notes). 

    They don’t actually have to be a quarter of something, which is why I just call them minims, crotchets and quavers. But they denote the 2, 4 or 8 at the bottom of the signature. 

    Back in black is 4/4 because it has 4 crotchets in a bar. 

    A shuffle is 4/4 or 2/4 (depending on whether you hear the main beat starting every two beats or 4 beats). But the rhythm inside each bar (the dum-di, or dum-di-dum-di) is actually “dotted”, so in 2/4 the 2 is made up of 1.5 + 0.5.   One-and-a-half crotchets, plus a quaver. 

    And in 4/4 shuffle the 4 is made up of 1.5 + 0.5 + 1.5 + 0.5. 

    A shuffle could basically just about be scored as 6/8, which would sound very much like dum-di-dum-di, but would be 2+1+2+1 quavers. Which is almost the same as 1.5 + 0.5 + 1.5 + 0.5 crotchets. The ratios aren’t quite the same but they sound similar. 

    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 14197
    The easiest solution by far is to not play Pink Floyd tunes because they are all awful.



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  • HootsmonHootsmon Frets: 13821
    On a piece of paper draw a pyramid shape with just 3 dots

    now draw a square with just 4 dots

    Put PF money on  and when the song starts touch the pyramid dots (3x) in time with the music  then start touching the square dots (4x) in time, and one at a time of course, and it will all fall into place...try it!
    tae be or not tae be
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 2270
    The easiest solution by far is to not play Pink Floyd tunes because they are all awful.
    Well it's a reason, but it's not true! :-) 
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 6613
    edited January 16
    Hootsmon said:
    On a piece of paper draw a pyramid shape with just 3 dots

    now draw a square with just 4 dots

    Put PF money on  and when the song starts touch the pyramid dots (3x) in time with the music  then start touching the square dots (4x) in time, and one at a time of course, and it will all fall into place...try it!
    I'm impressed. Very effective. I've always been able to play the riff but was an abject failure if I tried to sing over it. However if I picture myself pointing at the square and pyramid as you describe then the singing falls into place. Thanks.
    I play guitar because I enjoy it rather than because I’m any good at it
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