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Translations in time

Let's do something really radical.

Let's translate a melody from one idiom to another.

We have a tune in 3 - 4. We want to convert it to 4 - 4 swing.

We retain the natural accent.

We transcribe one measure of 3 - 4 (with careful massaging) to one measure of 4/4.

We retain the pulse of the song. eg An 8 measure verse in 3/4 transcribes to an 8 measure verse in 4/4.

We ensure the melody's natural accents fall in 4 - 4 roughly the same as they did in 3 - 4. So even when the melody is transcribed into a new time signature, the natural pulse is retained.

The melody is underneath.

Quavers swing, so we want plenty of quavers in our transcription.

From 3 - 4 to 4 - 4 we have an extra beat to make room for. We can greater emphasise the 5th note by anticipating it (playing it before the beat). Notes 3 and 4 can be played crotchet - quaver or quaver - crotchet. Using the first approach the relative upbeat / downbeat importance is retained.


Music Theory


"Become an arranger first, then an orchestrator, and then a composer." - Joe Paparone

Joe Paparone is an Australian music arranger of the highest international calibre. Allow him to share 35 years of real world experiences with you.