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Top 20 Songs in Odd Meters of All Time


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Way too complicated for me! I thought a meter was something you fed coins into ..... like a parking meter!

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Busted out some obscure Zappa.

 

Everyone Wants to Rule the World feels odd, even though it's in 6/4 (12/8).  Turn It On and All You Need Is Love were the surprises from this list for me, both are great tracks and flow so well.

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Here's an example of 7/4 done masterfully well, it would have been near the top of any such list I would create.

 

 

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5 hours ago, stoopid said:

Everyone Wants to Rule the World feels odd, even though it's in 6/4 (12/8).

 

In that song and many others like it, 12/8 feels more like 4/4 with triplets. The song starts with that and stays with it for the whole song, so you find yourself counting it 1-2-3-4. Then you have Freewill, where you hear it slam into that 12/8 solo section coming out of the 5/4 and 4/4 measures before it, and it has a completely different feel.

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5 hours ago, 1-0-0-1-0-0-1 said:

 

In that song and many others like it, 12/8 feels more like 4/4 with triplets. The song starts with that and stays with it for the whole song, so you find yourself counting it 1-2-3-4. Then you have Freewill, where you hear it slam into that 12/8 solo section coming out of the 5/4 and 4/4 measures before it, and it has a completely different feel.

I love all this studying of the maths behind the language of Music 👍😎

it’s a big reason I love our beloved 

:rush:

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5 hours ago, stoopid said:

Here's an example of 7/4 done masterfully well, it would have been near the top of any such list I would create.

 

 

This sounds like 3/4 or 9/4 to me.

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Four Sticks by Zep is another. Bonzo's part was so tricky they nearly gave up on recording it.

 

Learning new songs by ear, I rarely try to figure out time signatures; just practice until the 'timing' is down. The nerdy mathematical part of music has been gone for some while. In a Soundgarden interview, they never charted out their tracks with time signatures. At some point when it was pointed out what time signature a song was, they would just say 'oh well...yeah I guess it is 7/8 or whatever.'

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5 hours ago, stoopid said:

Here's an example of 7/4 done masterfully well, it would have been near the top of any such list I would create.

 

 

 

27 minutes ago, Charlotte7598 said:

This sounds like 3/4 or 9/4 to me.

 

Yes, it's in 9/4 with the  4/4 instrumental break in the middle. But as stoopid said, it's very well done and easy to follow.

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One of my favorite songs with odd times is one I still can't figure out because Gavin is insane with his polyrhythms and trickery. I think it's in 4/4 in the verses but the drum groove makes it impossible for me to really know for sure. The heavy refrain is definitely in 5/8.

 

 

Edited by The Analog Cub
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17 hours ago, HemiBeers said:

Learning new songs by ear, I rarely try to figure out time signatures; just practice until the 'timing' is down. The nerdy mathematical part of music has been gone for some while. In a Soundgarden interview, they never charted out their tracks with time signatures. At some point when it was pointed out what time signature a song was, they would just say 'oh well...yeah I guess it is 7/8 or whatever.'

As much as I tend to gravitate towards music in odd (non 4/4) signatures, I don't find myself counting along or doing a lot of these in my own music.  I think it's just how these songs can sometimes 'feel'  creative in a way it's more challenging to accomplish through pure riff mastery in 4/4.  Adds an element of depth that can carry even otherwise ordinary compositions (All You Need is Love a good example from the video -- simple riff to play but the odd time signature injects some very enjoyable/unique feel to the song).

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1 hour ago, The Analog Cub said:

One of my favorite songs with odd times is one I still can't figure out because Gavin is insane with his polyrhythms and trickery. I think it's in 4/4 in the verses but the drum groove makes it impossible for me to really know for sure. The heavy refrain is definitely in 5/8.

 

 

 

The verses are in 7/8. Gavin's kick and snare pattern give the illusion of 4/4, but the hi hat pattern gives away the true time sig, which is 7/8.

 

The solo section is also in 7/8, and Gavin doesn't try to hide that, but he does smooth out the odd-time with steady quarter notes on the ride cymbal. He actually makes 7/8 groove -- you're bopping your head to it.

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5 hours ago, invisible airwave said:

One of the best top 40 hits in a unique signature at least in the verses.

 

 

Touch and Go!  A great song, and a great one to pick for this topic.  Not only does it feature an odd time signature (5/4), but also polymeter.  At points, the rhythm section plays in 5/4, while the guitar and keys play in 4/4 atop that.  So funky and cool.

 

Any fan of Alex Lifeson would surely appreciate those two shimmering chords Elliot Easton plays (for instance, at the 2:00 mark).  Those suckers took me a few minutes to figure out properly.

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4 hours ago, 1-0-0-1-0-0-1 said:

 

The verses are in 7/8. Gavin's kick and snare pattern give the illusion of 4/4, but the hi hat pattern gives away the true time sig, which is 7/8.

 

The solo section is also in 7/8, and Gavin doesn't try to hide that, but he does smooth out the odd-time with steady quarter notes on the ride cymbal. He actually makes 7/8 groove -- you're bopping your head to it.

You've got it. Those verses are definitely 7/8 after I gave it another listen. Gavin is a real trickster. Any Gavin-era Porcupine Tree or Pineapple Thief song I'm just constantly gravitating towards his drum parts and having my mind blown.

 

Barbieri's keyboards are the icing on the cake, too.

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Regarding Gavin Harrison and a slight side note, apparently Neil P and he got together sometime for a meal and friendly chat - not sure how it came about or whether they'd just met via drumming circles - but there was some discussion about a 'drum battle'/concert that Gavin and Neil were invited to in order to 'compete' against each other. 

It was mentioned by Gavin in a 'tube discussion forum about prog music that Gavin was on. 

He said that Neil had politely declined taking part in it feeling that he would be 'too anxious' to do something like that.

Maybe he was scared of Gavin's chops!

 

NB:- I've no idea how to rank and compare drummers. I'm getting to know the names of drummers who have good reputations like Neil and Gavin but wouldn't know how you compare them.

 

 

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On 6/22/2022 at 3:15 PM, zepphead said:

Way too complicated for me! I thought a meter was something you fed coins into ..... like a parking meter!

Lovely Rita!

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I was skeptical because there are so so so many great odd time songs out there and I was afraid he might gravitate to the most cliche choices, but with Animals by Muse starting off the vid I was proven wrong. Great tune, and great video. He may need to do a jazz one for all the people mentioning Dave Brubeck in the comments though.

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