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Have you recorded any original music in a time signature other than 4/4 or 3/4?

  • Yes

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  • No

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Epiphone Les Paul Muse/Boss Katana 50, Gretsch Electromatic bass/Behringer BXL3000
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems that odd time signatures are still a very uncommon practice.
5/4, 7/8, 9/8, 11/8, 3/3, 6.5/8 (13), 4/5...
I use these a lot in my music. I'm curious if there's many others that use odd time signatures regularly, or at all.
I've heard some prog rock bands do them occasionally; I heard a song by Yes in 5/4, but it was very forced. It was a 4/4 beat with +1 just forced in really awkwardly. There's an Alice In Chains song in 7/8 (Them Bones), and a Grateful Dead song in 7/8. I know it happens more in jazz, yet I still don't hear it often. It's very common in Middle Eastern music.
TOOL is the only band I'm aware of that uses them regularly. Probably 90% of their work is in something other than 4/4. They do it well, too. It never sounds forced, the rhytms flow so well, until I started counting, I hadn't even noticed. Within a year of Lateralus coming out, I realized that most of the songs are in 5/4, one 7/8, one 6.5/8, two in 4/4, and one 3/4. This blasted open a whole new realm of dimension in music for me. Being naturally gifted in math (calculus in high school, 5/5 on AP exam in 30 mins), and particularly fond of geometry, being introduced to odd time signatures was mind blowing. There are shapes and movement to music, and odd time signatures have that extra beat that make it not a square, and it balances out the shape and movement, like a 5/4, to put it reductively, is right, left, right, left, center (but more a 3D pentagram, interacting with all the other shapes of the various polyrhythms). With that odd beat, the movement always resolves in the center. This makes dancing much more interesting, and makes more sense. A lot of 4/4 I can't even dance to, even when the dance floor is full, because it gets so monotonous very quick, just left, right, left, right... Ok, I'm bored! I dance in spirals and complex geometric shapes, not in a box.
It's Sacred Geometry, and it really brings out the Creative, even magical, power of the Art. I would really love to see music as a whole evolve beyond the confining square of 4/4, it's a literal cage.
And I would appreciate any help exposing me to any music you may know of that I don't that has odd time signatures.
with Gratitude,

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