Rhythm primer (part 14): Time Signatures part3

Welcome to the final part of the time signatures tutorial. We've already covered quite a bit already, but hopefully this lesson will bring it all home by hearing time signatures in action. As you listen to these examples keep in mind how the music feels less predictable and less "square." That's one of the great things playing in different time signatures can do, it can add interest.. In each of the following examples I count along with the song so you can hear where the underlying beat should be. I also left a little bit of the song without my counting so you can work on counting it yourself.

Here's an example from Pink Floyd's "Money." This part of the song is in 7/4. Notice the tremelo guitar (the echoey sounding thing) is on the first beat of every other measure. So, every other time you say "one" you should hear that guitar part. In the example I've used, you'll hear that guitar part on the second time I say "one." That way you have some sort of landmark to make sure your counting is going well.

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Song: Money
Artists: Pink Floyd
Album: Dark Side Of The Moon
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

 

The next example is from the movie "300" soundtrack. It's another example of a "7" feel. Whether you consider it 7/4 or 7/8 isn't as important as knowing it's in seven. Notice the "tribal" feel that some of the odder time signatures bring.

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Song: Song Title
Artist: Band Name
Album: 300 Movie Soundtrack
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

The next song is "Spoonman" by Soundgarden. Again the verses are in 7/4 (the chorus is back in 4/4).

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Song: Spoonman
Artists: Soundgarden
Album: Superunknown
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

Now let's take a look at a song in 11. This one divides the 11 beats into a few small groups with accents like this: three groups of 3, and one group of 2 beats. When you hear me counting you'll hear that I'm slightly emphasising the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th beats. If you were just trying to keep track of the accent groups you could also count it like this: ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two.

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Song: The Whipping Post
Artists: The Allman Brothers Band
Album: ???
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

Now we're ready for a slightly harder example, Led Zeppelin's "Oceans." The time signatures in this one could be considered a few different ways. First it could be considered as one measure of eight notes in 4/4 followed by one measure of 7/8. It could also be considered as one measure of 15/8 where the first group of 8 notes is played straight (like would be found in a measure of 4/4) and the second group of 7 notes follows. Either way you conceive of it or count it, it should sound exactly the same. Below I've counted it both ways (first one as 4/4 and 7/8 and the second one as 15/8) so you can see which way makes more sense to you. Technically, on the 15/8 version I should not have counted to 8 and started back counting to 7. Instead, I should have counted all the way up to 15. But, that can be tricky because of how long it takes to say any number above 10.

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Song: Oceans
Artists: Led Zeppelin
Album: Houses of the Holy
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

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Song: Oceans
Artists: Led Zeppelin
Album: Houses of the Holy
Buy this song on Amazon or Buy it on iTunes.

And now for the most difficult example we'll look at. It's the Beatles, "Here Comes the Sun." The verse and chorus are pretty straight forward in 4/4. Then we have a supernova of activity in the bridge. It goes like this (I count one measure of 4/4 leading into this): 7/8, 11/8, 4/4. It repeats this pattern 6 times before heading back into regular 4/4. In the example I recorded I did not include all 6 repeats. Have fun!

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Song: Here Comes The Sun
Artists: Beatles
Album: Abbey Road

That's it for our lesson on time signatures. You've made it through all the new stuff. Great job!!!! The final lesson is just a quick review of what you've learned and suggestions on where to go from here.

Click here to go to the next lesson: Putting it All Together

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