Odd-time songs that sound natural

J

Jammin' Jamin 2112

Guest
Pink Floyd - Money:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpbbuaIA3Ds

Yes - Long Distance Runaround:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqKMqssbLtk

Rush - Jacob's Ladder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d09-oSVY9iw

Tool - Lateralus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDlC7oG_2W4

Unlike the examples above, I feel like some bands (*cough* Dream Theater *cough*) try to use odd-time signatures just for the sake of using them. The measures come out sounding unnaturally abbreviated or prolonged. It just sounds like forced prog jamming.

Hopefully that makes sense. Thoughts?
 

porter

Platinum Member
Unlike the examples above, I feel like some bands (*cough* Dream Theater *cough*) try to use odd-time signatures just for the sake of using them. The measures come out sounding unnaturally abbreviated or prolonged. It just sounds like forced prog jamming.
Perhaps that stiltedness is part of the experience they are trying convey? After listening to those sections a few times, I often find myself appreciating their complexity and perhaps even grooving to them (Sacrificed Sons is a good example of one that I believe sounds 'abbreviated', yet it has become one of my favorite DT songs).
 

poika

Silver Member
Almost any song by Soundgarden!
Matt Cameron is a beast when it comes to this, he just floats over these complex time arrangements, making it seem like the most natural thing.
It doesn't even sound like odd-time, it just sounds like music
 
Almost any song by Soundgarden!
Matt Cameron is a beast when it comes to this, he just floats over these complex time arrangements, making it seem like the most natural thing.
It doesn't even sound like odd-time, it just sounds like music
You can say that again brother
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
The Ocean - Led Zeppelin. Alternates between 4/4 and 7/8. Didn't realize until i sat down and counted it out.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
surprised no one has mentioned Paul Desmonds masterpiece Take 5

and I Say A Little Prayer by Dionne Warwick written of course by Burt Bacharach
 

adam!

Senior Member
Almost any song by Soundgarden!
Matt Cameron is a beast when it comes to this, he just floats over these complex time arrangements, making it seem like the most natural thing.
It doesn't even sound like odd-time, it just sounds like music
You can say that again brother
I concur. Matt Cameron is always the first guy to come to mind when discussing odd-time that feels straight. Spoonman, New Damage, Mailman, Face Pollution and many others come to mind.
Besides Lateralus, Danny Carey makes a lot of other Tool songs sound even. Take Flood, the Patient, Jimmy and many others songs with odd time thrown in. It's one thing to be able to play odd-time signatures, but it takes that extra level of "feel" to pull it off sounding more natural and not like odd time.
I think one aspect that helps odd-time music feel straight is writing around the guitar riffs, without being concerned where the end of the measure is. A lot of prog players seem to write with the time signature in mind, rather than writing for the sake of how the music comes out.
 

CCdrummer

Senior Member
I concur. Matt Cameron is always the first guy to come to mind when discussing odd-time that feels straight. Spoonman, New Damage, Mailman, Face Pollution and many others come to mind.
Besides Lateralus, Danny Carey makes a lot of other Tool songs sound even. Take Flood, the Patient, Jimmy and many others songs with odd time thrown in. It's one thing to be able to play odd-time signatures, but it takes that extra level of "feel" to pull it off sounding more natural and not like odd time.
I think one aspect that helps odd-time music feel straight is writing around the guitar riffs, without being concerned where the end of the measure is. A lot of prog players seem to write with the time signature in mind, rather than writing for the sake of how the music comes out.
Totally agree with Matt Cameron. I think the reason it sounds so natural is because I believe I heard an interview with him where he says he was just playing what he thought would fit and had no idea what time signature it was until after the song was done.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I love that song but as you said it's in 4/4.

I should mention Virgil Donati's new album - In this life.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Danny Carey is another master at making odd time sigs feel right. Lateralus (as mentioned), Schism, The Pot all groove like a 4/4 song but are in odd or even compound time signatures.

the new Protest The Hero has some great songs in odd time and the drummer flows through them like he's not even trying.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I love that song but as you said it's in 4/4.

I should mention Virgil Donati's new album - In this life.
Exactly. I mentioned it because the average listener would think the guitars (and Jens percussive vocal delivery) are playing odd time. It's a common misconception that the band has talked about in interviews.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I feel like some bands (*cough* Dream Theater *cough*) try to use odd-time signatures just for the sake of using them. The measures come out sounding unnaturally abbreviated or prolonged. It just sounds like forced prog jamming.
There are definitely parts of Dream Theater's music that sound jilted and don't blend well at all. However at the same time they can blend differing time signatures and change keys totally seamlessly.

One song that comes to mind where they do all of this in a matter of minutes is Breaking all Illusions from their ADToE album. The whole beginning is a mess of different time signatures all crammed together in a pattern that repeats itself (paying homage to the song "Learning to Live" off of I&W) and then it gets in to the first verse at 1:35 where they go 7/8 to 6/8 to 5/8 to 7/8 and repeat this pattern seamlessly over and over again until they get to the bridge (if you can call it that...). So Dream Theater obviously does things for reason. If they wanted the time signatures to blend they would write the song to do that. When they don't, they write the song so the time signatures smash in to each other.

A great example of odd time signatures that all blend together so well would be Gavin Harrison's "19 Days." It goes 7/8, 7/8, 5/8 and repeats for the whole song. If you aren't counting you will get lost in the timing. Also, you don't have to count to enjoy the song. You can just listen to its awesomeness and pay no attention to the timing.

19 Days:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn-wtb7GY4E
 

poika

Silver Member
Totally agree with Matt Cameron. I think the reason it sounds so natural is because I believe I heard an interview with him where he says he was just playing what he thought would fit and had no idea what time signature it was until after the song was done.
I read that one too.

With odd time signatures I often find it a lot easier playing along to the guitar riff in my head, instead of actually counting. Of course you need to know the guitar riff well in order to do so. Learning the songs on guitar beforehand can be helpful on getting the whole thing together.

On some occasions, I find that counting bars takes you away from getting inside the actual music.
 
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