It’s about Time Signature!
So I was trying to decide what to talk about in this week’s blog and then inspiration hit and I wrote a song in 6/4 time called “ the seventies show “ which you can listen to here:
So today’s blog is all about time.
Non-musicians and musicians still get stymied by the concept of time signature and when you stray from the basics it’s easy to see why, as counting beats becomes more difficult.
But first the basics:
Most popular music is in 4/4 or 3/4 time and it’s easy to figure out the time signature of your favorite song by just counting along. The most obvious instrument to listen to is the drums or the bass line. In 4/4 it’s one and two and three and four and think of the bass line in Billy Jean.
But what about odd time signatures or songs with multiple time signatures? The bands that immediately some to mind for me are the 70’s prog rock musicians like ELP, King Crimson and Yes. But you might be surprised at some of the bands that I’ve selected today and I hope you find today’s journey interesting.
I’ll start with an easy one and it’s a song we all know by Pink Floyd. When the song was first released and David Gilmour and Roger Waters were still being civil to one another, they both stated in an interview that the song started in 7/8. Then in 1993, Gilmour was adamant that the time signature was 7/4. The reason I included this song is that just before the guitar solo the time signature changes to 4/4. Why don’t you count along?
Such a classic album that in my mind withstands the test of time.
Next up is Radiohead’s 2+2=5 which starts in 7/4, moves to 5/2 for a few bars near the middle and then the last half is in 4/4. Great song and makes reference to one of my favorite books – do you know it?
As usual, I’m just going to show 3 videos because of your attention span! Lol
This one is wacky! You may know it as the theme from “ The Exorcist “ but it’s really entitled “ Tubular Bells, Part 1 “. Composed by Mike Oldfield, this song has numerous time signatures and in some sections they overlap, one instrument playing one time signature over another instrument playing in a different time signature. The piece starts in 15/8 which is the piano and this case the glue that holds it all together. At various times instruments play over the piano in 4/4 and 7/8. I am the first to admit that this piece is beyond me and I get lost quickly but man is it a great piece of music!!!
And a one and a two and a three and a…