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Thread: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

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    Default Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    The weather continues to be sunny in Germany, and so I thought to practice alternating tremolo and non-tremolo a bit by playing "O sole mio" in the verison printed in Terence Pender's Italian Mandolin would be a good idea.
    What astounded me was, that the tune was announced as a waltz. So, my question to those in the know: Apart from your typical 3/4 waltz, are there other types of waltzes and what are the characteristics?
    I for my part wouldn't call this a waltz

  2. #2

    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    I thought that maybe the eighth notes were supposed to be played in a swing fashion resulting in a 6/8 but neither Enrico Caruso
    nor Elvis Presley did it that way
    Their basic rhythm isn't too far from my version. Elvis' sounds even a bit more like rumba.

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    totally amateur k0k0peli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    I'd have said, "A waltz in 2/4 is like a march in 3/4, a contradiction in terms," but then I hit Wikipedia and found 1) "The waltz (from Austrian: "Walzer") is a smooth, progressive ballroom and folk dance, normally in triple time, performed primarily in closed position" , so if one danced whirlingly to O Sole Mio, it *could* be called a waltz, and 2) "In the 19th and early 20th century, numerous different waltz forms existed, including versions performed in 3/4 or 6/8 (sauteuse), and 5/4 time (5/4 waltz, half and half)" and while this cut doesn't qualify, we see that triple-time isn't *required* for a waltz tune.

    But no, that don't sound like no damn waltz to me! I hate misleading labeling.
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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Waltzes are 3/4 otherwise everyone would be tripping all over the place
    Maiden's Prayer kind of sounds like a waltz in 4/4. When I play this with a friend and we have not done it in a while, he always starts it off as in 3/4 until I tell him. Country Gentlemen once introduced it as a waltz on a CD I have from Campsprings '71

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7mhgOHq_pOg

    You can dance three-steps against 2/4 (a la Chopin) or 6/8
    ....and from my failed attempts to learn how not to crush delicate toes I recall that you dance slow waltzes in 4/4
    Eoin



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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    In practical terms a waltz is in 3/4. I'd just say that statement was in need of proper editing.

    Of course there are other waltzes, technically....like the 5/4 French Valse Irregliere

    Or they meant this version which is a waltz:

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    [QUOTE=k0k0peli;1413952]I'd have said, "A waltz in 2/4 is like a march in 3/4, a contradiction in terms,"


    There are in fact 3/4 marches in Scottish Military music.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Would a 3/4 march be easier with three legs?

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot63 View Post
    Would a 3/4 march be easier with three legs?
    Well, the best-know traditional march from the Isle of Man is Mylecharaine's March and that's in 3/4 time. No doubt related to the Isle of Man national flag...

    Regarding waltzes in other than 3/4, sometimes certain tunes in 5/4 are described as waltzes but they're hardly typical. The biggest group of such tunes are in fact German and are properly called "Zwiefacher". However, in any German folk dance collection I've seen (and I have seen quite a few as my mother collects them), these are noted in interspersed measures of 3/4 and 2/4 (sometimes alternating, sometimes irregular). Makes for very confusing notation. Not really what one would call a waltz proper although the associated dances do have some similarity to the waltz.

    Martin

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by k0k0peli View Post
    I'd have said, "A waltz in 2/4 is like a march in 3/4, a contradiction in terms,"
    There are in fact 3/4 marches in Scottish Military music.
    Well 3/4 would be the day (in US) to March 4th.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Ouch! Was that necessary? Probably not, but so what?

    My understanding - which is cheerfully unencumbered by formal music theory - is that "waltz time" and "3/4 time" are virtually synonymous. So much so that if one musician says to another that a song or tune is a waltz, this may simply mean it is in 3/4 time. (There are other formulaic considerations for formal compositions to be considered a waltz.) I'm not sure, but even tunes in 6/8 are not considered true waltzes, though it may well be posible to dance a waltz to them. I assume the example DavidKOS provided is a waltz arrangement of "O Sole Mio," a composition in 4/4.

    I would like to see the sheet music for the Terence Pender version. Regardless of how it is announced, what is the time signature?
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Contrary to the version David shows, the one in the book by Terence Pender is a pure 2/4. There are lots of real waltzes in the book like " Come to Sorrento" or "Santa Lucia" so I guess out of habit "O sole mio" was also announced as a waltz though it isn't a waltz. This mistake must have slipped the proof reader's attention.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Gotcha. That arrangement is an anomaly. All the sheet music versions I've found online are in 2/4 or 4/4. I'm impressed with David's search skills in this matter.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    All that happens in a waltz in 2/4 or 6/8 time is there is a heavy triplet set followed by the lighter triplet set. (6/8 often gets counted as 1,2). It affects the pulse of the waltz so rather than Step, light, light you get Step, Step,Step, Light, Light Light.
    I tried to cite the Chopin above, it's Ab maj op.42
    Eoin



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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    All that happens in a waltz in 2/4 or 6/8 time is there is a heavy triplet set followed by the lighter triplet set. (6/8 often gets counted as 1,2). It affects the pulse of the waltz so rather than Step, light, light you get Step, Step,Step, Light, Light Light.
    Interesting...this topic hasn't been finished yet!

    Perhaps a dance expert would be a good one to ask?

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
    There are in fact 3/4 marches in Scottish Military music.
    Do you mean 6/8 marches? It is easy to march to that, stepping on 1 and 4, and it even gives you a certain irresistible pulse. One of the best examples I know is "Dr Ross' 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering" (that's why we never can't remember the names), here played by The Tannahill Weavers right after a song at 2:12:



    The guys who march to that are those you don't want to meet in battle...
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    No such thing as a topic being finished around here! Even if there's nothing more to be gained by it, we'll flog any dead horse.

    What the heck is "Step, Step, Step, Light, Light, Light?" 6/8 time would be step, light, light,step, light, light, wouldn't it? I often think of waltzes as 6/8 anyway - "1-2-3, 2-2-3" - not only while playing but while dancing, particularly while dancing. Then you lead the first with the left foot, the second with the right foot. But perhaps this helps to explain why I play much more often than dance.

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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    What the heck is "Step, Step, Step, Light, Light, Light?"
    That's for albatros taking off: StepStepStepStepStep Ligggghhhhhhhtt....
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    I often think of waltzes as 6/8 anyway - "1-2-3, 2-2-3" - not only while playing but while dancing, particularly while dancing. ]
    You have a point - when 3/4 waltzes are fast enough to be felt almost in one, 1 23, etc., then they do feel like 6/8.

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    totally amateur k0k0peli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    As evidenced on the classic TIME OUT album, a piece may be written in 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 7/8, whatever, but Paul Desmond plays it in 4/4.
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    hi Journeybear I should have made it clearer that those were steps not beats I was writing out, so in the 2/4 it's just 1, 2 but you take 3 strong steps or big stride and then three little or light steps but the swing of the beat is very strongly 1,2 or as I think of it push-pull. The 6/8 would only really mark beat one with a slight emphasis on 4, it shouldn't be like a 3/4 waltz.
    Eoin



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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    I am befuddled by these last two comments. They seem to indicate a lack of understanding of one of the basic elements of music - time - and how it is indicated. The notation "3/4" means there are three notes to a measure, and the quarter note gets one beat. 3/4 is not a fraction, nor is that how it is written on sheet music. There it is written with a horizontal line, with a three above it and a four beneath it. The "3/4" one sees in the typing community is an alteration of that, necessitated by the nature of typing and what symbology is available, but its resemblance to the notation of a fraction may confuse some.

    While 3/4 is a common time signature, and 7/8 is a possible but unlikely one, 4/5 and 5/6 are not. There is no such thing as a fifth note or a sixth note in music, as far as I know. Note lengths start with a whole note, then get divided by halves.

    The purpose of sheet music notation is to translate music from its auditory form into a two-dimensional representation, so that a musician can reproduce the music by reading the notation, and translating the symbols back into music. While there is room for interpretation, apart from the many options available to composers to indicate how to play a piece in addition to what is to be played, broad interpretations on the order of what beanzy says are better stated through writing the sheet music that way than expecting people to interpret it that way. The best approach is to write music in such a way that it is as clear as possible how it is to be played. A waltz typically is danced in a 1-2-3 fashion, and the music should be written in concordance with this rhythm, using a 3/4 or 6/8 time signature.
    Last edited by journeybear; Aug-09-2015 at 6:47am. Reason: trying to be as clear as possible
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot63 View Post
    Would a 3/4 march be easier with three legs?
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    Well, the best-know traditional march from the Isle of Man is Mylecharaine's March and that's in 3/4 time. No doubt related to the Isle of Man national flag....Martin

    .................................
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?



    First mention of Strictly Come Dancing on the Mandolin Cafe?

    A waltz in 13/4 time

    from Wikipaedia :

    [I]
    The main body of the song has a 3/4 feel and is pitched halfway between the keys of E minor and E-flat minor, possibly to accommodate the tuning of the harpsichord. The instrumental introduction, in (a very flat) B minor, is unconventional. The keyboard vamps in 3/4 while the harpsichord overlays that in 6/8 and every fourth bar is in 4/4. The music was largely written by keyboardist Dave Greenfield and drummer Jet Black, with lyrics by singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell.[5]
    The BBC newsreader Bill Turnbull attempted to waltz to the song in the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing. In February 2012, when interviewing Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel on BBC Breakfast, Turnbull described the attempted dance as "a disaster", Burnel responded that the alternating time signatures made "Golden Brown" impossible to dance to; in contrast, a song written entirely in 6/8 is not unusual in waltzing.
    Last edited by des; Aug-09-2015 at 9:41am.

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    totally amateur k0k0peli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Waltzes in 2/4 time ?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    While 3/4 is a common time signature, and 7/8 is a possible but unlikely one, 4/5 and 5/6 are not. There is no such thing as a fifth note or a sixth note in music, as far as I know.
    Guess I should have put a snarky emoticon in my comment. I'd hoped the mention of Desmond would be a tip-off. But have you ever heard that album? Time sigs include 9/8, 5/4, and 6/4 but that smooth sax always seems to be treading common time. BTW I've written stuff in 7/8, 11/8, 13/8, and other improbable meters. Computer music, of course, but also wordplay.
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