0389: "Keeping Time"

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0389: "Keeping Time"

Postby BrianZ » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:06 am UTC

http://xkcd.com/389/
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Alt text: You can identify them ahead-of-time by how they lead with their left foot when the music starts.


It took me about 4 years to lose the left foot first thing. I still sync with people on the sidewalk, though.
Last edited by BrianZ on Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:08 am UTC

I laughed, no way that this one will get as much controversy going for it as the fruit one.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:10 am UTC

Heh, I thought the music was notationally incorrect, but I can see the little tiny dots near the notes now -_-
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Sartorius » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:10 am UTC

I squealed. I do this all the time!

Ah, band.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Hexadecimator » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:11 am UTC

Not enough ex marching band kids out there to make this one effective. Sadly :twisted:.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby anaxerzia » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:11 am UTC

I laughed, no way that this one will get as much controversy going for it as the fruit one.


I disagree! Injuring break-dancers is far more fun in such a manner...! ;)
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:11 am UTC

HAHAHAHAHA!!! I've tripped when my iPod runs out of batteries, and I wasn't even in marching band! Win!
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Masily box » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:12 am UTC

Doesn't look like it'd be the easiest piece to march to, to begin with.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:12 am UTC

What do band kids do to stuff that is in 5/4?

That should be enough to break their hearts if not their legs.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:12 am UTC

anaxerzia wrote:
I laughed, no way that this one will get as much controversy going for it as the fruit one.


I disagree! Injuring break-dancers is far more fun in such a manner...! ;)

Bwahuh?
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby whitneyk » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:13 am UTC

oooh, I have to try this on my friend, who happens to be a former marching band geek

edit: to the above, that makes me wish I had a break-dancer friends to try it on, ha!
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby benjhuey » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:15 am UTC

I'm not in band, but I have a lot of friends who are. I purposefully clap off beat just to watch them cringe.

I would definitely give this a try.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby tpcooper » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:16 am UTC

As a former member of a marching band, that sort of thing happens all the time without me even realizing it. Even when jogging I will somehow manage to do it in time to whatever song is playing on my iPod (trust me, its not fun when the guitar solo from Free Bird kicks in) and I often find myself walking in sync with my friends. I haven't even been in a band for eight years and that still happens, but I have managed to break myself of the left foot habit...most of the time.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Patashu » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:17 am UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:What do band kids do to stuff that is in 5/4?

That should be enough to break their hearts if not their legs.


Why stop there? Break out the math rock.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby 4=5 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:17 am UTC

I drum arrhythmically
it annoys egalitarianly

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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby uberfubar » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:18 am UTC

Cruel.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby nyeguy » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:18 am UTC

This happens to me all the time. Without trying, I always get in step, leading with the left foot. It annoys me when the music on my iPod isn't fast enough to walk to, but isn't slow enough to walk double-time to.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby danb » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:18 am UTC

Hahahaha. Did anyone else notice what song that is?
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby hezekiah » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:22 am UTC

danb wrote:Hahahaha. Did anyone else notice what song that is?


Damn it, just beat me to it. For those who are wondering, I've attached the song to this post.
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XKCD_389.zip
The song from the comic, turned into a midi file by me. In a .zip 'cause the forum doesn't like the .mid extension.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Chacor » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC

Apparently the alt text is wrong. A friend tells me "the best way is if they hesitate when walking because they realize their step isn't on the beat."
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:27 am UTC

Patashu wrote:
GodShapedBullet wrote:What do band kids do to stuff that is in 5/4?

That should be enough to break their hearts if not their legs.


Why stop there? Break out the math rock.


That's a great idea.

Though band kids, I really want to know. Also, what do you do for 3/4? Just alternate which foot is on the downbeat?

I was in the pit, so the only marching I ever did was to and from my gong.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby VTenginerd » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:30 am UTC

I registered specifically because of this comic. Looks like I'm going to get sucked into the fora now.

At any rate, I used to be in marching band for several years and find that this comic is so true! I walk in step to songs without even realizing it! I probably look goofy when jogging, too, because I'll change my jogging pace depending on the tempo of the song.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby BrianZ » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:31 am UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:
Patashu wrote:
GodShapedBullet wrote:What do band kids do to stuff that is in 5/4?

That should be enough to break their hearts if not their legs.


Why stop there? Break out the math rock.


That's a great idea.

Though band kids, I really want to know. Also, what do you do for 3/4? Just alternate which foot is on the downbeat?

I was in the pit, so the only marching I ever did was to and from my gong.


If I remember correctly, the left foot only counted when stepping off from a break, from there you just kept alternating. I think it was up to the set writers to, for example in 3/4, not start a group of people moving on an even numbered measure.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby phlip » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:32 am UTC

I was never in a marching band, but I definitely do tend to subconsciously step in time with any music that happens to be playing (or even a tune stuck in my head, though there tempo changes can carry both ways)...

I suspect that this is just another mannerism that'd go well in the discussion thread from "What xkcd means"...
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby hezekiah » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:32 am UTC

Yeah, prolly shoulda mentioned that I totally do this, too. Even worse, though, is when you're walking behind someone without any music playing. I've gotta try really damn hard to not fall into step with them. Sometimes, though, I just don't care (most of the time).
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby The Ivy » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:34 am UTC

Oh man, I'm four years out of band and I still do this. It affects my life in more subtle ways too, like not being able to lead with my right foot while bowling.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby benjhuey » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:35 am UTC

hezekiah wrote:
danb wrote:Hahahaha. Did anyone else notice what song that is?


Damn it, just beat me to it. For those who are wondering, I've attached the song to this post.


Spoiler:
Rick Rolled without me consciously realizing it. Randall's getting way too good at this stuff.
Last edited by benjhuey on Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:36 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby VTenginerd » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:35 am UTC

GodShapedBullet wrote:What do band kids do to stuff that is in 5/4?

That should be enough to break their hearts if not their legs.


Funny you mention this. When I was at FSU, we marched a piece that alternated between 4/4, 3/4, and 9/8 time. Yes, 9/8. We pulled this off by stepping with the left foot on beats 1-3, then alternating between right and left for beats 4-5, 6-7, and 8-9. So, long, short, short, short, long, short...etc.

My guess is that you could march 5/4 in a similar way, but I've never done it before so I can't really say from experience.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby 5theye » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:37 am UTC

oh man rick rolled, amazing
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Dostoevsky » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:38 am UTC

i could be wrong, but i do believe that this song is a . . . . .

Rickroll!
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Gyvulys624 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:38 am UTC

I'm a wee bit busy now a days so I don't have time to check myself... what piece/song is in the notation?
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby ocarina_21 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:38 am UTC

Walking in time with music is all well and good, but people look at you strangely. Particularly when you're listening to "First Circle" by Pat Metheny. Alternating bars of 12/8 and 10/8 (Counted 1-2-3 1-2 1-2-3 1-2 1-2 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2 1-2) with some bursts of 8/8 and steady 12/8 have a tendency to turn heads as you walk.
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Primatelord » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:39 am UTC

Just like VTenginerd, I have registered because of this comic.

Honestly, I never thought I'd ever see a comic with a marching band nod in it, and I can't recall any other XKCD that hit home quite this well. This makes the ex-Drumliner in me weep in rhythm
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby adlaiff6 » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:40 am UTC

-1 for parallel octaves
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby XanthosDeia » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:42 am UTC

Heh, was never in a marching band, but I was in ROTC in high school. Took me a while to stop marching in step with people.

Also, have to shamelessly pug the scatter band I *was* in in college (http://mob.rice.edu). Even though I'm utterly tone-deaf and rythm-deprived (which drove my percussionist girlfriend at the time crazy), I still got to be in the band and build huge and elaborate props and make a total ass of myself on the field at halftime. Good times, good times... :D
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby benjhuey » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:42 am UTC

Gyvulys624 wrote:I'm a wee bit busy now a days so I don't have time to check myself... what piece/song is in the notation?


I put it as a spoiler earlier in the hope that people would find out themselves, but if you must know, it is:
Spoiler:
Never Gonna Give You Up - you've been Rick Rolled


Maybe I should stop doing that...
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Kalos » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:42 am UTC

It's been over a year since I've had to march and I still absolutely, no matter how hard I try, can NOT walk in any other rhythm than one that matches up with the music. I'll think I've beat it for a second, only to realize that I'm now just stepping in triplets or on the off-beats.

6 years of band, what have you done to me?
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby niteice » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:43 am UTC

I thought the chord progression was familiar :D
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby thebandit » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:51 am UTC

Damnit. Rickrolled.

;_;
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Re: "Keeping Time" Discussion

Postby Jerf » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:51 am UTC

To the people wondering "Hey, how do marching bands handle non-even time signitures?", the answer is, mostly they don't. Most stuff I've ever played, or heard played, is generally metrically simple.

After that, how it is handled is up to the choreographer, of course. The easiest solution, if you insist on playing something funky, is to be standing still at the time. But beyond that, you really can do anything you want with training and practice, it's just that you don't have an infinite amount of training and practice time. Nothing stops you from marching around to a 7/4 song, except that you'd have a lot of learning and training and practicing and possibly the odd collision resulting from fighting years of habit...

... and ultimately, the crowd probably wouldn't care in the slightest, so why bother? Crowds like sticks being tossed around and fancy maneuvers and dance steps and a bit of shouting and cheerleaders (if at all possible), not musical complications like non-standard harmonies and metric complications.

(Edit: Someone will probably make some sort of comment about "collision", and I'm about to go to bed local time, so: My personal best is trombone-on-trombone, full-on bell contact with a full-speed 180 contact... while wearing braces. I'm not sure how you can beat that, for sheer concentrated impact with a band instrument. I was out of commission for two days, which, all things considered, probably wasn't that bad. Braces + trombone was already a bit masochistic...)
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