New User Time Signature question

Is it possible to create a time signature change within a song? More specifically, Uncle John’s Band by the Grateful Dead has this issue which is why it is so difficult to find the right beat. When the singing starts, it is 4/4 for 3 measures and 3/4 in the last measure.

Thanks, be prepared for a whole lot of questions coming😉

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Is that consistent throughout the song?

Yes, it seems the first two lines of each verse is that structure. And then it looks llike the jam goes between 3/4 and 4/4

If you’re working in song sections (not one press) you can create different sections in different time signatures. I have some that do this (Jealous guy as an example). Just remember if you have only one bar of 3/4 you need to be prepared to transition quicker to go back to 4/4.


Further to this, this would be a great feature to have in the new BB Manager software currently being developed. The ability to add time signature changes in a single song part. :+1:


That’s too bad, having to hit the foot switch for one bar is a bit much. And I’m not interested in the one press stuff.

But is it possible to have a “one press” section within a song?

Getting complicated, but if you had a song section that had, for example, mainly all bars of 4/4 but in amongst them it had 2 bars of 2/4 you could compose it all to come full circle back in time.

What I mean is , say there’s 2 bars of 4/4, then a bar of 2/4. When you compose the bar of 2/4 you would be using the first 2 beats of that bar and then beats 3 and 4 would be beats 1 and 2 of the 4/4 bar (hope that makes sense!). So the song section would continue in that way until the next 2/4 song part which would come in on beats 3 and 4, which in turn would then set any continuing bars of 4/4 back in time on the correct beats.

Complicated but couldn’t work for every scenario.

Thanks for your reply! That might work, I’m going to have to get familiar with the editor part and see if I can massage it to make it work. And yes it would be nice if Singular could make that a new feature within the software.

If that’s a consistent theme, you could build a section of 15/4. The BB plays 1/4 notes at a consistent speed – something I took advantage of to build the intro to Jerry Doucette’s Mamma Let Him Play, which drops one beat at the end of each phrase (that one is 31/4).

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The 3/4 measures are somewhat interspersed throughout Uncle John’s Band. Just going by the studio version for this answer and by the Garcia/Hunter Songbook. There is an 8 measure 4/4 intro. Then the verse starts, The verse has two measures of 4/4, followed by 1 of 3/4 and then another 4/4, i.e Joe’s suggestion of 15/4. This repeats 1x, followed by 10 measures of 4/4. A verse has 2 - 15/4 sections, followed by the 10 measures of 4/4. This could be accomplished with 2 BB Main parts. That whole thing repeats, so 2 more B main parts, Then you are into the prechorus and chorus, 16 measures of 4/4, followed by an 8 measures interlude. That whole big section repeats, 2 verses, chorus and prechorus, but the interlude then changes to, first 12 bars of alternating 4/4 and 3/4, a possibility for 7/4 section. But, on the 4th time through, the final 3/4 bar is another 4/4 bar then followed by a 3/4 bar and 7 bars of 4/4. So that whole bit could be a 7/4 section, followed by one 11/4 section and then 7 bars of 4/4. This takes you to the outro chorus, which is 8 bars of 4/4 twice, and then the ending, alternating 4/4 and 3/4 (another 7/4 bit) until the hold on the end.

So, can it be done with BB parts? Sure. The key thing is to figure out where you would want your jam section to fall. You could, in effect, have a single long one press like part leading up to your open jam part, followed by another single long one press part to wrap the song up. you might need to play around with time signatures to get something to fit. There do seem to by an even number of 3/4 measures in sections, so this could lead to a possibility of writing the whole thing in 2/4.

I’m positive a have a version posted that could be torn apart and cut up into sections, if anyone wants to give it a try.


Hi Phil,

Thanks for responding, you guys are giving me great hope! I knew there was a way to skin this cat, Thank you for the time signature break downs that’s really going to help.

I just got my BB yesterday so I’ll dive in with the tips y’all are giving, and I’ll post my results.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!

The same goes for Woman Across the River by Freddie King (a great song for live performances). It changes back and forth between tempos with every chorus.

So I’ve been turning this round and round in my head, and I’m not sure how I would make this work.

For the 15/4 section of each verse, would it be one long bar of 15/4 or would it be 4 bars of 15/4.

And if it was one bar am I “tricking” it by slowing down the tempo?

I’m a little confused on how to make this happen


The One long bar of 15/4 thar you play twice or two bar of 15/4 played once.

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Thank you!!

sorry to new so dense, but how do I get the bar to last long enough? Do I slow the tempo all the way down, and then split the notes to 32nd notes so that I can get all the beats in?

And then do I have to do that with all the 4/4 beats too? and the possible 7/4 section?

thank you again Phil_flood for being so helpful

Your tempo and bar length are independent functions. Tempo is beats per minute, and that stays consistent regardless of bar length. It’s beat per minute, not bars per minutes. You set the beat per bar in your DAW or in the BB midi editor. Set it as 15/4, fifteen beats per bar, with a quarter note getting one beat. I don’t know how the 15/4 measure will appear in the BBM midi editor, as the Mac an PC versions look different depending upon the version you use. I use a DAW to create parts, Logic Pro X.

See my example in post 5 of the above thread, where I have 4/4, 5/4 and 7/4 in one song.

The link in your post doesn’t work, thank you again for taking the time!

I just tried it twice and it worked. Search the forum for Time Signature. It should pop up.