Time Signature on Section

There are situations where the time signature needs to change on a per section basis instead of being set against the whole song. Blue Moon of Kentucky is often performed where it starts in 3/4, but switches to 2/4 later in the song. Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice did the song “A far cry from Lester and Earl” which has a short 3/4 section after the first solo, before jumping backing into 2/4 for the next part of the verse. So my thought is that the time signature could be applied as a setting to a section instead of the whole song. I could even see there being an override for a single measure. This may be a more advanced use of the application than originally intended, but in using it as a rehearsal tool, these sort of situations do come up and it would be nice to have discreet options on sections to override the time signature if needed.


This is even more common in Old Time music where we deal with a whole lot of crooked tunes. You’re playing along in 2/4 and all of a sudden in the middle there’s a 3/4 or a 1/8. You’re fine for a spell and then out of no where there’s another 1/8. A lot of Old Time fiddlers play tunes like that. StumMachine forces me to straighten those tunes out. When I play with StrumMachine I play straight versions and when I play without it I play crooked ones. Oh hum.

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@DaveMueller Per-measure or per-section time signatures are on my list. It’s a bit tricky to implement, as you might imagine, but I’ve been laying the groundwork with my more recent refactorings so I’m most of the way there already.

@RobertBiggs Are you familiar with the “half-measure” command under the “Chart” menu? The “H” key does the same thing – makes the current “boom-chuck” a standalone measure. That covers most all of the crookedness in old-time music, I think, e.g.: Farewell Trion, Jeff Sturgeon, Wild Rose of the Mountain, etc. What Strum Machine can’t (yet) do is break up a “boom chuck” unit, but I have not heard that done in old-time. I think Ken Torke (of Tater Joe’s) said that as he was transcribing his massive tune lists that there was only one song that had crookedness that Strum Machine couldn’t replicate properly.

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Yeah, but a lot of Old Time fiddle tunes have a 1/4 measure tossed in here and there of even just an extra 1/8. Here’s some discussions about how players of other instruments deal with crooked tunes: https://www.talkbass.com/threads/“crooked”-old-time-fiddle-tunes.1514736/page-2 https://www.talkbass.com/threads/“crooked”-old-time-fiddle-tunes.1514736/

Here’s and example of an nicely crooked tune: https://www.hangoutstorage.com/banjohangout.org/storage/tabs/d/tab-danville-girl-s-24721-133162622021.pdf

Dock Boggs’s Danville Girl doesn’t break up the “boom chuck” anywhere, so Strum Machine can handle it. The way it’s written in that PDF, they’ve put four of these boom-chucks into each 4/4 measure, whereas Strum Machine only puts two boom-chucks between barlines. It gets confusing with all these multiple (valid!) ways of notating tunes, so I usually recommend focusing on “boom-chuck” units, or bass downbeats, and counting those when transcribing a tune. If that bass beat is disrupted, then we’d have something Strum Machine couldn’t handle (yet), but as I said I have yet to hear that in old-time music, probably because you would be unable to tap your foot to it anymore! :slightly_smiling_face:

It is possible to use the medley feature to deal with a song or tune that changes meter for a section. As Luke said about boom chuck, as long as that is a unit you can use the “half measure” feature to deal with song/tunes that change meter.

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Hey there, thanks for that! I was able to do that to join the waltz and straight versions of Blue Moon of Kentucky into a medley.

How can I change the time signature for one section. I need to go from 4/4 to 3/4.

I was able to do it by setting up 2 separate songs with different time signatures and then create a medley to join them together. It’s not very practical for general use and I know Luke (developer) responded that the ability to switch time signatures within a song is something he expects to add in the future.


Thanks Dave. I’ll try that out.