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Full Version: Fun Times (aka The Odd Meter Appreciation Thread)
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There's been some talk about time signatures here lately, so I figured I should post some songs that might be useful for either practicing your ear or just fun examples of odd meters in a melodic context (as opposed to, say, djent/math metal type "weird for the sake of weird"). I have only included songs with passages in mixed meters, since a single time signature throughout is IMO a little too easy, though feel free to add your own examples to the thread. Now, since odd time signatures is a staple of prog rock, it should come as no surprise that most of these are from that genre. Aside from Subdivisions, I have linked to the time codes of certain parts I wanted to highlight, but by all means, listen to the entire songs!

I learned that Kansas violinist Robby Steinhardt passed away just recently, so it feels fitting to start off with one of the band's most well-known tunes:

Kansas - Song for America

Here's one from the boys in Rush that's maybe a little easier:

Rush - Subdivisions

Moving across the pond, here's a track from Genesis' fantastic Selling England by the Pound album:

Genesis - Firth of Fifth

And finally something that's not prog rock, and fairly tricky:

Riverdance - Firedance

There's tons and tons of examples in the prog genre (if you're feeling particularly masochistic, give The Dance of Eternity or Death of Balance a shot), I just felt these are a little easier to grasp due to the time signatures being so closely tied to the melodies.
Hey, good idea! I only had a chance to check out the Kansas song so far, but I'm getting a seven beat measure out of at least that first phrase. Am I close? Big Grin
(07-21-2021, 03:54 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Hey, good idea! I only had a chance to check out the Kansas song so far, but I'm getting a seven beat measure out of at least that first phrase. Am I close? Big Grin

No. xD
(07-21-2021, 04:03 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-21-2021, 03:54 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Hey, good idea! I only had a chance to check out the Kansas song so far, but I'm getting a seven beat measure out of at least that first phrase. Am I close? Big Grin

No. xD

A measure of four and then a measure of three doing triplet, or a measure of 9/8?

[ONE-ee-and-a-TWO-ee-and-a-THREE-ee-and-a-FOUR-ee-and-a-ONE-and-a-TWO-and-a-THREE-and-a]


Coincidentally, they're playing nearby on Saturday. Big Grin
(07-22-2021, 02:13 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]A measure of four and then a measure of three doing triplet, or a measure of 9/8?

[ONE-ee-and-a-TWO-ee-and-a-THREE-ee-and-a-FOUR-ee-and-a-ONE-and-a-TWO-and-a-THREE-and-a]

Close. I like to think of it as 8/8 and then 5/8.

(07-22-2021, 02:13 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Coincidentally, they're playing nearby on Saturday. Big Grin

Yeah, I know they're still around and releasing new albums. But without Steve Walsh and now Robby Steinhardt, it's not Kansas anymore.
(07-22-2021, 09:15 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Close. I like to think of it as 8/8 and then 5/8.

Yeah, I can hear 8/8 and 5/8 now, with the hi-hat audibly keeping the beat at the beginning. I should listen to the rest of the song. Maybe the surrounding context would make that more apparent.

Thanks for posting this! I was not really aware of how proggy Kansas could get. I never really got into them because all I ever heard was that Wayward Son song. Which isn't a bad song by any means, but it isn't really a proggy tune.
(07-22-2021, 01:43 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Thanks for posting this! I was not really aware of how proggy Kansas could get. I never really got into them because all I ever heard was that Wayward Son song. Which isn't a bad song by any means, but it isn't really a proggy tune.

Kansas are a weird band. Their mid-to-late seventies albums had tons of super-proggy stuff, though mixed with bouts of Southern boogie(!), straight up hard rock like Carry on Wayward Son, and folky stuff like Dust in the Wind, which I'm sure you've also heard.

If you want to check out some of their albums, I can heartily recommend Song for America, Masque, Leftoverture and Point of Know Return (my favorite). Sadly [guitarist and main songwriter] Kerry Livgren went and got himself religious in the early eighties so Kansas turned into a Christian radio rock band after that.
Maybe a bit cheating to share one's own music, but this is the wildest I ever got with time signatures:
https://samulis.bandcamp.com/track/octo-nova

I think it uses 5 or 6 different time signature in total, at one point using a different time signature each measure or so.

The best part is that it was remixed by SilvaGunner/Half Pixel into a Space Jam mashup which is absolutely hysterical. The amount of patience and time-stretching that must have been required is truly astounding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Bl0dupq-U
(comments will give away the initial time signature)
(07-24-2021, 04:17 AM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe a bit cheating to share one's own music, but this is the wildest I ever got with time signatures:
https://samulis.bandcamp.com/track/octo-nova

I think it uses 5 or 6 different time signature in total, at one point using a different time signature each measure or so.

The best part is that it was remixed by SilvaGunner/Half Pixel into a Space Jam mashup which is absolutely hysterical. The amount of patience and time-stretching that must have been required is truly astounding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Bl0dupq-U
(comments will give away the initial time signature)

Ha! That's pretty great! 11/8 starts the track off, then?
(07-25-2021, 01:32 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-24-2021, 04:17 AM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]Maybe a bit cheating to share one's own music, but this is the wildest I ever got with time signatures:
https://samulis.bandcamp.com/track/octo-nova

I think it uses 5 or 6 different time signature in total, at one point using a different time signature each measure or so.

The best part is that it was remixed by SilvaGunner/Half Pixel into a Space Jam mashup which is absolutely hysterical. The amount of patience and time-stretching that must have been required is truly astounding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Bl0dupq-U
(comments will give away the initial time signature)

Ha! That's pretty great! 11/8 starts the track off, then?

Yep! It changes again at the middle section with the marimba and alternates through a few time signatures. (click for spoilers, starts around 0:34)
[attachment=104]

You could re-measure that section quite a number of ways actually. I just did it this way because that's how it turned out at the time. I honestly have no idea why or how I wrote this because I usually don't play with time signatures that much.
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