#1
Is there any famous pop/rock hits in odd time sigs?
I do not include waltz (3/4) time in this...

With hits i mean hits that most pepole know... I know "money" by pink floyd is in 7/8, and mission impossible is in 5/4 , but i wouldnt really concider them hits.

So is there any? Why is there so few?
#3
Same reason you don't see many hurdy-gurdys in thrash metal bands... it's just not what people want in pop music. That being said, I'm sure there's a handful of exceptions, just can't think of any :P
#6
"Hey Ya!" by OutKast. Emulates 11/4 by using a cadential six-measure phrase consisting of three 4/4 measures, a 2/4 measure, and two 4/4 measures.


from Wikipedia
#7
Black Dog by Led Zepplin


Mainly in 4/4, then switches to 5/4 for 2 measures during the lead break..
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#9
Quote by Usernames sucks
Is there any famous pop/rock hits in odd time sigs?
I do not include waltz (3/4) time in this...

With hits i mean hits that most pepole know... I know "money" by pink floyd is in 7/8, and mission impossible is in 5/4 , but i wouldnt really concider them hits.

So is there any? Why is there so few?


"money" was a HUGE hit. But in general, odd time sigs in pop songs are pretty rare.

Why is that? I dunno, cuase people that write pop songs aren't advanced enough to properly utliize odd time sigs, and people that listen to pop songs aren't smart enough to appreciate them.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 5, 2011,
#10
If you mean chart music, I doubt you'll find anything weird there. The pop/chart music audience want something that is stable [in terms of timing] and something that can dance to]. If you happen to find something, it will probably be in 12/8, 6/8 or 2/4.
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#12
The police have one... The name escapes me...
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#13
Quote by vampirelazarus
The police have one... The name escapes me...

Spirits in the Material World ?

might be a few more by them as well.
shred is gaudy music
#14
'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles has a section which alternates between 7/8, 6/8, 5/8 and 4/4. 'Across the Universe' also has a bar of 5/4 near the end of the verses. There are a couple of other Beatles songs with odd-time sections (Though none that I can think of where the main body of the song is written in an odd time signature). In general if you want pop songs in odd time you'd be looking at 60's psychadelic pop (Maybe some 70's prog but it depends on the way in which the word 'pop' is being used here).

And for the question:

Why is there so few?


4/4 and to a lesser extent 3/4, 6/8 and 12/8 are so common within the canon of western music that pretty much everyone grows up listening to music in those time signatures and can easily feel and dance their way around those kind of beats. Most songwriters probably do it unconsciously because they're pre-programmed to play in those time signatures, I think it's unusual to find someone who can naturally find their way around odd time signatures. You tend to need to actually intentionally set out to write a song in odd-time to have any success at it, and the kind of people who want do that are usually already fans of more genre's which are on the margins of mainstream musical consciousness like jazz, prog or metal. That said I don't think there's anything that says an odd-time song can't be catchy enough to enter mainstream consciousness (Think 'Take Five' by Dave Brubeck), it's just sort of that things haven't panned out like that so far.
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#15
Quote by GuitarMunky
Spirits in the Material World ?

might be a few more by them as well.


yes, I think. Ill listen to it after work.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#16
Quote by Nietsche
'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles has a section which alternates between 7/8, 6/8, 5/8 and 4/4. 'Across the Universe' also has a bar of 5/4 near the end of the verses. There are a couple of other Beatles songs with odd-time sections (Though none that I can think of where the main body of the song is written in an odd time signature).


You sure you're not mistaking Here Comes The Sun with Happiness Is A Warm Gun? Haven't listened to HCTS in a while but HIAWG does go very wierd. Me & My Monkey has some weirdness as well.

I heard somewhere that I Heard It Through The Grapevine was originally written in a wierd sig, but it was later changed because people couldn't dance to it? Not sure if there's truth in it.
#17
Quote by vampirelazarus
The police have one... The name escapes me...

Much of the song "I Hung My Head" is in 5/8 I think.

And
Quote by GuitarMunkey
"money" was a HUGE hit. But in general, odd time sigs in pop songs are pretty rare.

Why is that? I dunno, cuase people that write pop songs aren't advanced enough to properly utliize odd time sigs, and people that listen to pop songs aren't smart enough to appreciate them.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 6, 2011,
#18
Why is that? I dunno, cuase people that write pop songs aren't advanced enough to properly utliize odd time sigs, and people that listen to pop songs aren't smart enough to appreciate them.


Actually, its not because they can't appreciate them, most people just want music that functions as an anesthetic, something they can listen to and just not think about. Like most pop music. I've read a few books and articles by people who elaborate upon this, and I feel its a correct view. 4/4 is much easier to follow than 15/16 or any compound meter.

That said, there are songs that are contrary to this. Seal has a song in 7/8, although I can't remember the title.
#20
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Actually, its not because they can't appreciate them...
I think either your or my sarcasm detector is in need of calibration?? Cause mine was picking something up in the second part of Munkey's post there.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 6, 2011,
#21
Quote by axemanchris
Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" was a pretty big hit. It's in 7/4.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMwn_hnoS5Y

CT


That's one I always think of. The other is "Golden Brown" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7R7q1lSZfs (Wiki says 3/4 and 4/4, I hear a 6 and a 7, potayto potatto )

Take Five was a number 1 hit in the states, I think the only number one in an odd time signature IIRC.

There's also some popular music with really odd phrasings. Gouge Away by the Pixies and "Last Night" by The Strokes are both based around 5 bar phrases.
#22
Radiohead "15 Step" I think is in 5/4.

I don't listen to the radio much except for classical or classic rock, so I'm not sure if it was popular or not. I heard it in a movie so I guess it was on the radio?
#23
Quote by Beat Poet
You sure you're not mistaking Here Comes The Sun with Happiness Is A Warm Gun? Haven't listened to HCTS in a while but HIAWG does go very wierd. Me & My Monkey has some weirdness as well.


HIAWG is another good example of a Beatles song which utilises odd-time signatures, but I was definitely thinking of HCTS when I wrote that post, because I checked the transcription in a Beatles songbook I have before posting to make sure I wasn't talking out of my arse. The odd-time section starts at around 1:30 in this version from youtube.
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#24
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Actually, its not because they can't appreciate them, most people just want music that functions as an anesthetic, something they can listen to and just not think about. Like most pop music. I've read a few books and articles by people who elaborate upon this, and I feel its a correct view. 4/4 is much easier to follow than 15/16 or any compound meter.

That said, there are songs that are contrary to this. Seal has a song in 7/8, although I can't remember the title.



Quote by Keth


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#25
Quote by 20Tigers
I think either your or my sarcasm detector is in need of calibration?? Cause mine was picking something up in the second part of Munkey's post there.


your detector is perfectly calibrated.
shred is gaudy music
#26
Quote by 20Tigers
I think either your or my sarcasm detector is in need of calibration?? Cause mine was picking something up in the second part of Munkey's post there.


I think he was being serious in a condescending/elitist way, and while most people are capable of appreciating complex music, they would much rather listen to something else because it doesn't require as much focus.

It could've also been a troll post, I dunno.
#27
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I think he was being serious in a condescending/elitist way, and while most people are capable of appreciating complex music, they would much rather listen to something else because it doesn't require as much focus.

It could've also been a troll post, I dunno.


I was being sarcastic.....being elitist & condescending is what I was making fun of.

I was sarcastically giving the typical elitist answer and btw, your idea that people like pop music because they don't have to think about it is the kinda thing I was alluding to.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 6, 2011,
#28
Quote by GuitarMunky
I was sarcastically giving the typical elitist answer and btw, your idea that people like pop music because they don't have to think about it is the kinda thing I was alluding to.

Seems out of place, MT certainly isn't the kind of forum to generate elitist responses.
#29
Quote by GuitarMunky
I was being sarcastic.....being elitist & condescending is what I was making fun of.

I was sarcastically giving the typical elitist answer and btw, your idea that people like pop music because they don't have to think about it is the kinda thing I was alluding to.


Thats the thing, I feel that while it is an elitist response, there is truth to it.

I've read deeply into it and now have a fairly educated view that pop music is generally created for the masses with minimal alterations between songs. Obviously there are exceptions, but most follow the same structure, time signature, chord progression and key.

This guy was one of the main writers and has some interesting ideas of pop music. And keep in mind, "Pop Music" during his time was jazz.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_W._Adorno#Music
#30
Quote by :-D
Seems out of place, MT certainly isn't the kind of forum to generate elitist responses.


Good one
shred is gaudy music
#31
Quote by Life Is Brutal
This guy was one of the main writers and has some interesting ideas of pop music. And keep in mind, "Pop Music" during his time was jazz.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_W._Adorno#Music


Adorno's work on the philosophy of music is highly problematic and controversial. I don't think being able to name-drop him gives your opinion much weight, you need to provide an actual argument of your own.
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#32
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I think he was being serious in a condescending/elitist way, and while most people are capable of appreciating complex music, they would much rather listen to something else because it doesn't require as much focus.

It could've also been a troll post, I dunno.

Music with different time signatures shouldn't require more focus. The time signature should be about what is necessary to make the song flow.

There seems to be a common misconception that certain musical concepts, odd time signatures in particular, represent some kind of pinnacle in songwriting ability. In reality complexity for the sake of complexity has absolutely no value whatsoever and is the sign of an immature songwriter. When such concepts are employed in an effort by the songwriter/composer to show sophistication or cleverness the opposite is often the achieved and the result, nine times out of ten, is a major fail.

Spanish Caravan by the Doors and Blackbird by the Beatles are two songs that employ frequent changes in the time signature. It is hard for me to interpret these changes as anything more than the musical equivalent of a spandrel. That is to say they do not seem to be there by intentional design but as a necessary by product of following where the song took them during the writing process.

A good song is one that is accessible and can be appreciated by the average listener. A "simple" song can still have reward for the more discerning listener and provide intelligent tricks and surprises. However, no song should have a prerequisite knowledge of music theory in order to be appreciated.

I do have a theory though that I'd like to share.

Many artists suffer issues of insecurity and there are many of those that simultaneously suffer from delusions of granduer (quite a conflict).

Such artists secretly believe that they are some kind of gifted creative genius but are scared that their elemental musical ideas are actually rather mediocre. There are a a number of solutions to this conflict. One is that nothing gets written out of a fear or failure.

Another common solution to this conflict seems to be a deliberate overuse of complexity. The intentional overuse of complex time signatures, extended chords, exotic scales, difficult key changes, advanced substitutions, and other "complex" musical concepts. This complexity not only masks their elemental musical ideas and not have to face up to the possibility that they are mediocre. Complexity becomes a crutch.

The heightened "complexity" of the song also allows them the luxury of ignoring 90% of any negative criticism levelled at their work. This is achieved by rationalizing that it takes a certain level of understanding or sophistication to appreciate the complex techniques that the song employs. We then end up with an elitist attitude that puts a premium on songwriting techniques and complexity before the music.

Of course there's always another way to look at all this... ....and that is that I'm just an armchair psychologist with too much time on his hands and a tendency to overthink things.

P.S. I would like to make it perfectly clear that none of this is aimed at or intended to describe the threadstarter. His question is perfectly reasonable and does not indicate that he is one of the people that I described above.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 7, 2011,
#34
A lot of Electric Feel by MGMT is in 6/4. Bubbles by Biffy Clyro has a section towards the end which is in 7/8 iirc. It's pop rock though, so I'm not sure if you'd count it.