Rhythmic Modulations in Herbie Hancock's Chameleon

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Chameleon is a well known jazz-funk composition by Herbie Hancock.
In the original studio version, around 12 minutes into the track, there is a less known part with interesting rhythmic modulations.
I wrote a blog post about it, complete with charts and two videos.

Here is the first video, but see more explanations here http://bit.ly/35JbVJx

Wow Alain that is an excellent breakdown-love all the isolated tracks in your "explanation". I assume this is the original version? Love me some Herbie . Chameleon, like many of his other hits , he can always present them in new refreshing ways as he has over the years in concert. Great job with this-thanks for posting this.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
Wow Alain that is an excellent breakdown-love all the isolated tracks in your "explanation". I assume this is the original version? Love me some Herbie . Chameleon, like many of his other hits , he can always present them in new refreshing ways as he has over the years in concert. Great job with this-thanks for posting this.
Thanks for the kind words, glad that you like it! Yes this is the original version from 1973. I think I've never heard any other version with this interlude.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
Thats indeed a wonderful article with a very nice way of explaining everything (including all those audio files, transcriptions, etc), like GetAgrippa also allready mentioned..

Highly informative, really very nice..

And the rest of your blog too btw..!:)
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I don't think those are "metric modulations", but fast "tempo modulations". When you go from 3/4 to 4/4 in one bar, it sounds kind of like 7/8, or like a fusion of a bar of 2/4 and 6/8. You can hea how Herbie is keeping rock steady measures with the chord changes and synths. EG Measures per minute never changed.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I don't think those are "metric modulations", but fast "tempo modulations". When you go from 3/4 to 4/4 in one bar, it sounds kind of like 7/8, or like a fusion of a bar of 2/4 and 6/8. You can hea how Herbie is keeping rock steady measures with the chord changes and synths. EG Measures per minute never changed.
You're right, there's no metric modulation. Who used this term? I didn't.

See the blog post to better understand what's going on, if you can read music:

 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
You're right, there's no metric modulation. Who used this term? I didn't.

See the blog post to better understand what's going on, if you can read music:

Thanks for finding that excerpt, I've been interested in these types of quick tempo changes for a while. I've written out a some variations on the modulation, and practice them. Especially, going from 3/4 to 4/4 and back again, which is why I noticed the resemblance to 7/8. I personally refer to them as crooked beats. I wasn't aware of any professionals in the western idiom playing them. I encountered them in Chinese classical music, where tempo modulations are relatively common.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member
Thanks for finding that excerpt, I've been interested in these types of quick tempo changes ...
I wasn't aware of any professionals in the western idiom playing them. I encountered them in Chinese classical music, where tempo modulations are relatively common.
There are even common between non professional musicians in the western world...

Anyway, why would we hear non professionals when we have professionals, right?

Listen to the bridge (3/4) on "Joshua" (from the 60´s):

 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
There are even common between non professional musicians in the western world...

Anyway, why would we hear non professionals when we have professionals, right?

Listen to the bridge (3/4) on "Joshua" (from the 60´s):

Yeah, professional is probably a low bar, I really meant "Well regarded and knowledgeable mainstream musician."
 
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