Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno Mars

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Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno Mars

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:10 am

I found a great pair in terms of synchronicity with Billy Joel's Piano Man, and Bruno Mars' When I Was Your Man that I think would make a really nice video mashup, and I was happy to hear that they're even in the same key, so it looked like this was going to be easy.

But when I laid the instrumental of Billy Joel's Piano Man, and the vocal track of Bruno Mars' When I Was Your Man into Ableton, and tried to decide where exactly to start Mars' vocals, I was having a lot of trouble getting any kind of sense of cohesion. I listened to where Piano Man started the vocals, and tried putting Bruno there, but it wasn't working no matter how much I altered the vocal speed.

Everything felt off, and it sounded like it was a weird time signature for Piano Man causing the problem. I searched the time signature, and like the title says, it's in a 3/4 Waltz progression. I know 3/4 means 3 quarter notes per measure, which is sounding like this might be very hard to make work with a typical 4/4 (four quarter notes per measure).

And the way Bruno Mars' song is nothing but him singing with a piano (most importantly for me, no drum beat) is making things even harder, as it's hard to get a feel for how his vocals flow.

Does anyone have any general tips on how it might be possible to make a 3/4 instrumental work with a 4/4 vocal track, or should I just move on?

I can provide sources if anyone would like to try and take a stab at figuring something out here. I just grabbed sources from YouTube myself.

Any help appreciated, is possible. :s
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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:12 am

Well with Melodyne I can change time signatures, So say for example if something is 3/4 or 2/4 I can change it to 4/4, Might not be the best bet but I can try it if you send me the instrumental and when I get some time to myself I can try it out.

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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:42 pm

I would suggest stretching Mars so that one 4/4 bar of the vocals is the same length as two of Joel's 3/4 bars. Piano Man has a very quick 3/4 beat (in fact it's more like 6/8), so this may work.

If that fails, you could try cutting one beat of Mars' vocals out every bar; beats such as long held notes or silences.

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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:30 pm

Ditto on Drazile's advice. 6 beats of Joel = 4 beats of Mars.

The hard part, like you mentioned, is figuring out where the beats fall on the Mars track. Since there is no beat you could try temporarily adding a generic beat or click track (YouTube will probably prove helpful there too), matching things up in that 6:4 ratio, and then deleting the beat track.

You still might end up with some phrasing issues from the "triplet swing" vs straight phrasing of 4/4, which you still may be able to shore up on a case-by-case basis.

I can attempt it myself later tonight if you're still having trouble.

EDIT: Been singing it in my head since I posted and I feel like Bruno has to be sped up significantly to make this work. Again I'll take a stab at it later.

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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:36 am

Here’s a pretty quick & dirty attempt at this. There is still lots of timing that could be tidied up, but I didn’t bother with the click track myself, and I didn’t want to spend hours at this getting all the phrasing just right.

No Flash Installed



Don’t mind the intro…I was just having some fun there, but the first verse I had to loop once, then re-pitch part of the “oooooh”s, and overlap the next line there.

The chorus works out nicely, if you ask me, but I also did have to loop a few bars in there too to make it long enough.

Then, for the second verse I tried the other idea. (It’s actually the first verse’s vocals because it’s just easier for this experiment.) I lined up the beats 2:1 and just removed 1 beat from the end of each Bruno Mars line. This seemed like a worse option than the first, but again it all comes down to your artistic preference.

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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:57 am

I tried messing with it like you did, and I had nowhere near as nice results. I could use your mix as a template to time mine, but honestly, if you all have to do is tidy some stuff up, I think you should finish this one. It satisfies that idea in my head, and I didn't have to do any work! I could still make a music video, though.

If you want to finish this, I think it'd be great. If not, no big deal - I could try messing with this again in the near future.
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Re: Help! Combining 3/4 waltz time signature with 4/4 Bruno

Post Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:23 pm

YITT wrote:If you want to finish this, I think it'd be great. If not, no big deal - I could try messing with this again in the near future.

Unfortunately I didn’t save any kind of project file of what I did…it was just supposed to be a quick experiment/demo.

But, if you download the mp3 of what I made, you could drag that into Ableton and try to sync up the vocals while muting the instrumental, and even use it as a template for the second verse. Hopefully you’re able to make it work, because it has some excellent moments and I’d love to see what kind of a video you come up with for it!

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