#1
Hey guys

I came up with a wonderful melody and set of lyrics, but, lo and behold, it turned out to be in 13/8 I'm happy with how it sounds, but I'm having a lot of trouble stringing parts of the song together. Is this something that just takes some brute-force creativity, or are there any 'tricks' to writing different parts of a song centered around a time signature like 13/8?

Thanks, people
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#3
Quote by HeretiK538
Hey guys

I came up with a wonderful melody and set of lyrics, but, lo and behold, it turned out to be in 13/8 I'm happy with how it sounds, but I'm having a lot of trouble stringing parts of the song together. Is this something that just takes some brute-force creativity, or are there any 'tricks' to writing different parts of a song centered around a time signature like 13/8?

Thanks, people


For 13/8, try breaking it down into two measures: one of 6/8 and one of 7/8.

Find out where the stresses in your melody lie and work from there. To work with odd time well, you HAVE to practice it as much as possible. Your first odd-time song may not turn out well; it's OK, just keep on trying and eventually you'll figure it all out.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#4
A whole song in 13/8 would suck.
Both the guys above are right - first put it into 6/8 then 7/8 it will be much easier to work with. Next after you're main "weird timing" riff - go back into something more managable.
A lot of math rock breakdowns are like that, you'll find a lot of the time that something isnt as complicated as it sounds.

Playing around with 16th's (4/4 time) if you played o x x x | o x x x | x o x x | x o x x | o x x x |
where o is a chord/note and x were rests you'd get a weird sounding stabs.
Guess what im getting at is - 4/4 off beat can work well getting into your other stranger time signatures, as its easy to count and wont sound as strange going from a straight 4/4 into a 6/8 7/8.
Always waiting for that bit of inspiration.
#5
Quote by W4T3V3R
A whole song in 13/8 would suck.


WRONG! Granted, it would be harder for a beginner to write than a 4/4, 3/4 or 6/8 song, there's no guarantee that the song will be bad. In fact, I can name way more bad songs in 4/4 than in any other time signature... .

Quote by W4T3V3R

Guess what im getting at is - 4/4 off beat can work well getting into your other stranger time signatures, as its easy to count and wont sound as strange going from a straight 4/4 into a 6/8 7/8.


Who said he was going from 4/4 anyway? Having a 13/8 section would sound nice within the context of a 6/8 (or 12/8) song.

TS, the Allman Brothers do a song called "Whipping Post" which has sections of 11/8 interspersed between long sections of 6/8. It's worth a listen as the 11/8 would be similar to your 13/8. Here's the breakdown:


 6|> o o > o o | > o o > o o |
11|> o o > o o > o o > o |


...where the > is a stress and o is a non-stress. Each mark represents an eighth note.

Do you see why this works well? The bar of 11/8 starts with the same pattern as the two bars of 6/8: three sets of triple beats. It cuts off the last note, leaving you with a duple beat at the end before it wraps around. Yours might look similar:


13| > o o > o o > o o > o > o |
 6| > o o > o o 7| > o o > o > o |


See how the pattern of 6/8 and 7/8 are contained within the bigger signature? You could use this to a) better understand the meter of the piece b) write into longer sections of solely 6/8 or 7/8.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#6
Sorry, to clarify - I didn't want to write the whole thing in 13/8, it's just that the main melody is in that, and I'm having trouble making any other section fit, in any other time signature. What I'm asking is, is there some good way to move from the 13/8 rhythm to somewhere else in the song? Is it entirely dependant on what I've written, or should I be thinking about where the downbeat is, or something?
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#7
Quote by HeretiK538
Sorry, to clarify - I didn't want to write the whole thing in 13/8, it's just that the main melody is in that, and I'm having trouble making any other section fit, in any other time signature. What I'm asking is, is there some good way to move from the 13/8 rhythm to somewhere else in the song? Is it entirely dependant on what I've written, or should I be thinking about where the downbeat is, or something?


Consider how your 13/8 is laid out--in terms of placement of accents--and try to move smoothly to another part. It's like changing keys: the more in common two keys have, the easier it is to transition between the two. The layout I gave you is just an example; depending on how your melody goes, yours may look different.

The best thing you can do is listen to music that shifts time signatures well. On that note, a great song for you to listen to would be "Freewill" by Rush. The main (verse) section of the song alternates 6/4 and 7/4 (which is obviously similar to what you'd be doing.) It starts immediately after the intro--which is 2 bars of 4/4--and is the background for "There are those..."

Keep working on it. If you can't think of anything in the next few days, post it here and some of us can try to help.

EDIT: While I'm thinking of it...I don't know how much you know about time signatures--though I assume not everything. Are you positive you have a bar of 6/8 or could it be 3/4? 3/4 would be three beats of duple time and 6/8 would be two beats of triple time. This would be an important consideration in structuring your meter and especially when it comes to shifting between signatures.

DOUBLE EDIT: Here's a brief list I of songs with odd time from an older post:

Cream - "What a Bringdown": Verse in 6/8, Chorus in 10/8

Rush - "Freewill": Intro, Pre-Chorus and Chorus in 4/4, Verse alternates between 6/4 and 7/4, Bridge in 5/4, Solo in 12/8.

Beatles - "All You Need Is Love": Verse has 2 bars of 7/4, 1 bar of 8/4, then one bar of 7/4, Chorus in 4/4.

Incubus - "Make Yourself": Verses alternate between 7/8 and 4/4.

Rush - "The Trees": First/Third Verse are 6/8, Second Verse is 4/4, Interlude/1st half of Solo is 10/8, second half of Solo is 3/4.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
Last edited by soviet_ska at Jul 21, 2011,