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Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?

Related threads:
Playing in fives & sevens (23)
(origins) Origins: Christmas Carol meters in Folk. (9)


Stewart 29 Aug 06 - 01:28 PM
Leadfingers 29 Aug 06 - 01:42 PM
GUEST 29 Aug 06 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 29 Aug 06 - 01:58 PM
Stewart 29 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM
s&r 29 Aug 06 - 02:34 PM
Genie 29 Aug 06 - 03:35 PM
Amos 29 Aug 06 - 04:29 PM
Richard in Manchester 29 Aug 06 - 05:08 PM
Stewart 29 Aug 06 - 05:19 PM
Kaleea 29 Aug 06 - 05:58 PM
Stewart 29 Aug 06 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 29 Aug 06 - 11:08 PM
Amos 29 Aug 06 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 29 Aug 06 - 11:33 PM
GUEST,Bruce Baillie 30 Aug 06 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,Rowan 30 Aug 06 - 12:24 AM
Genie 30 Aug 06 - 12:46 AM
Desert Dancer 30 Aug 06 - 12:48 AM
s&r 30 Aug 06 - 03:19 AM
Leadfingers 30 Aug 06 - 06:53 AM
Grab 30 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM
JohnB 30 Aug 06 - 12:17 PM
M.Ted 30 Aug 06 - 12:42 PM
KenBrock 30 Aug 06 - 02:52 PM
KenBrock 30 Aug 06 - 02:58 PM
DonMeixner 30 Aug 06 - 03:02 PM
M.Ted 30 Aug 06 - 03:32 PM
lady penelope 30 Aug 06 - 04:15 PM
Stewart 30 Aug 06 - 04:39 PM
JohnB 30 Aug 06 - 11:44 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 31 Aug 06 - 12:07 AM
Dan Schatz 31 Aug 06 - 12:16 AM
M.Ted 31 Aug 06 - 12:46 AM
Genie 31 Aug 06 - 02:08 AM
Wilfried Schaum 31 Aug 06 - 03:22 AM
Scrump 31 Aug 06 - 04:09 AM
Tootler 31 Aug 06 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Fogie 31 Aug 06 - 05:46 AM
Wilfried Schaum 31 Aug 06 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 31 Aug 06 - 07:20 AM
GUEST 31 Aug 06 - 07:36 AM
M.Ted 31 Aug 06 - 08:51 AM
Grab 31 Aug 06 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Tinker in Chicago 31 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM
Dave'sWife 31 Aug 06 - 12:06 PM
Genie 31 Aug 06 - 12:57 PM
Dave Wynn 01 Sep 06 - 07:59 AM
M.Ted 01 Sep 06 - 08:25 AM
Scrump 01 Sep 06 - 09:00 AM
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Subject: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 01:28 PM

Recently some Irish musicians have been composing tunes in odd meters such as 7/8. One example of this is
"Road To Barga" by Cillian Vallely of the Irish band Lunasa (listen to the midi).

After a bit of difficulty, I learned this tune, and like to play it on fiddle at jams. The response I get is very interesting. Guitar players want to play along, but they get thoroughly confused with the rhythm, hopelessly out of beat, or just plain give up.

When I explain that it is in 7/8 time they still can't get it. It's played as /123 1234/ or in pulses of /N3 N2 N2/ where N3 is three beats and N2 two beats. Any Greek musician would have no trouble with this as it is the common Kalamatianos rhythm of the Greek line dance. Even my musician friends who are into drumming have difficulty beating out this rhythm. Here's
an example of a Kalamatianos tune.

So do you find this difficult? A few of my musician friends just don't want anything to do with these odd rhythms. Some guitar players who are not into Irish music have no idea even how to strum a common jig rhythm.

And what are some other odd rhythms that you like to play or hear? I used to be quite a fan of Stravinsky (even sang in a choir under his direction once) and really enjoyed his odd rhythms.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 01:42 PM

Come Back Dave Brubeck , All Is Forgiven !!


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 01:56 PM

the only reason anybody would compose a tune in 7/8 is to draw attention to how clever they are.

Nobody will be playing the Road to Barga in 100 years time, not because it is difficult, it just isn't much of a tune.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 01:58 PM

I have enough trouble with the even numbers.

Waltz time is a trial. For me finding the diff between waltzes and jigs is beyond problematic and you propose to explain Odd Meters?

I'm all ears but the toe tapping genes seem to be hard wired into just walking for me.

But I'm willing to try, that which doesn't kill me makes me stronger I suppose.

Don


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 02:28 PM

"the only reason anybody would compose a tune in 7/8 is to draw attention to how clever they are." Well the Greeks have been doing it for hundreds of years.

Then there are the "crooked" tunes with an odd meter thrown in here and there. Here is a crooked polka I composed - mostly 2/4, with a 3/4 measure thrown in. Actually it's a type of dance known as a "Zwiefacher", a quick south German dance with changing 3/4, 2/4 meters. Do a normal waltz step and then a dreher (a two-step as in the second part of a scottish).

And here is a crooked waltz, "Leaving Friday Harbor" by John McCusker, 3/4 with a 2/4 measure thrown in.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: s&r
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 02:34 PM

We hav an Irish dance tape which says 'this is done to a count of seven' Wow we thought then he said 'one, two, three, four, five, six, se, ven.'

Stu


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Genie
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 03:35 PM

Having been involved with Balkan and Northern European folk dancing for years, I find 7/8 time one of the easy beats! LOL
Try 14/16, 5/4, or 9/8 time.
The musicians who play and sing these European folk tunes have no problem with these rhythms that befuddle the rhythmically unimaginative Americans.

But just as I don't throw in "jazz chords" at a bluegrass session, I wouldn't try "Yerakina" as a group play-along number for a song circle or session where most people are used to only 2/4, 4/4, 3/4, or 6/8 time.

Of course, there are songs like The Beatles' "Blackbird" that change time signature WITHIN the song for a few measures, and people do try to do those in the same groups.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 04:29 PM

I don't find it difficult. I was singing and playing in odd time signatures before I was 20, thanks to a bunch of fellow-band-members who were heavily influenced by Brubeck. We performed a song in 9/16, IIRC, and another in a sort of raga tabla beat.

A


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Richard in Manchester
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 05:08 PM

A well-known (if not universally liked) example is the first few minutes of Tubular Bells. It cycles through 7/8, 7/8, 7/8, 9/8 over and over. 7+7+7+9 = 30. The bass part is played in another time signature, but it also cycles through a pattern adding up to 30 beats, so it all comes together. Music is just mathematics!


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 05:19 PM

Exactly! That's why mathematicians are often very good musicians.

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Kaleea
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 05:58 PM

Coming up in the Instrumental Music program in public schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma a few decades ago, I had a well rounded education in Band & Orchestra Music written in various meters, including many works which have frequent changes of meter during &/or throughout the work.   
Certainly, in college, I not only played, but sang pieces written by 20th century composers with changing meters. Some of those songs & pieces are considered standard literature given to University students. In my many years of teaching Music, in the classroom & privately, I have often found that the average American is totally unaware of any meter other than 4/4 or 3/4, and often refuses to listen to, much less play, Music in 5, 7, 9, etc. Music Educators whom I have met from many other countries have told me that they have not had this experience to the extreme that I have.
There are probably many reasons why. I think that our American popular Music, and the change of focus in our schools--especially after "Johnny can't read"--to no longer value a good Music Education, & of course budget cuts(the Arts are always cut first) would be the biggest part of this.
In many indigenous cultures, including those of the Americas, Music can have odd &/or changing meter. Some of you may have a copy of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" sitting on a shelf somewhere, which I seem to recall having a few examples of songs sung by certain well known Chiefs & Medicine Men which were written down as sung, in odd & sometimes changing meters. (please forgive me if my memory is incorrect & it was not this book!)
Our early Jazz in America shows evidence of many terrific composers who enjoyed "odd" as opposed to even meters. (Not just Take Five or Unsquare Dance, although I've always enjoyed those tunes.) Early on, Jazz was put down by many as the work of the "devil," and when it began to be embraced by the general populous, those odd meters did not fit dancing, & record companies for artists of all popular Music genres didn't want to waste money recording tunes & songs which didn't appeal to the masses--ie, that didn't rake in the dough!
But, het--be daring! Give a listen to odd meters. Better yet, play some tunes with odd meters. You never know, you might even enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 07:10 PM

Or go to a Greek restaurant with live music and dance (there's a great little place here in north Seattle, Georgia's) and join in the line dancing. Not that difficult, but when you get the hang of it, it's great fun.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:08 PM

Can anyone offer an example of the odd meter? Something so easy to find as to trip over? From a Broadway musical perhaps? Something as well known as Happy Birthday?

My time keeping is so very pedestrian I'd love the chance to improve it some.

Don


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:15 PM

"Take Five" is the best known experimental meter piece in Western music.

A


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 29 Aug 06 - 11:33 PM

By whom Amos? As I said I am pretty parochial.

Don


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,Bruce Baillie
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:18 AM

Have you ever tried 'The Swedish Jig'that's a great tune in odd timing. Gerald Trimble played it on his 'Cittern' album under the name of 'Arthur Darleys'.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:24 AM

Stewart's posting mentioned "Recently some Irish musicians have been composing tunes in odd meters such as 7/8." I wondered about this and then realised that Irish musicians would probably have been composing in odd metres. Under the influence of various characters who've spent time in the Balkans, some of the Irish have developed a love of such things.

A few people I know, who have experience at playing for both bush dances (lots of jigs and polkas and a few waltzes, mazurkas and scottisches) and Balkan dances (lots of really odd metres) used to entertain themselves by adding another beat to every jig they knew, converting it from 6/8 to 7/8. Great fun, as everyone who joined in had a differently stressed rhythm.

It was a different group of people from the ones who played English concertina and who discovered that if you played with your usual fingering 'rotated' one row to the right, tunes in major scales were still identifiable but transposed to a reasonable imitation of minor scales. Such standards as 'Soldiers' Joy' or 'Davy Knick Knacks' instantly became 'Cossacks' Joy' and 'Ivan Knick Knacks'.

The two groups never (in my hearing, anyway) ever got together. Pity!
Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Genie
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:46 AM

Don Meixner: "Can anyone offer an example of the odd meter? Something so easy to find as to trip over? From a Broadway musical perhaps? Something as well known as Happy Birthday?"
Well, it's hardly as well known as Happy Birthday or even "Take 5," but there was a pop/rock song popular around 1980 called "Get Closer," that was in something like 5/5 time.

Stewart, thanks for the tip about Georgia's!

Kaleea, I know what you mean about the average American being totally unaware of any meter other than 4/4 or 3/4. A few years ago, I was at a new-age-type, touchy-feely "alternative healing retreat" at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon, and one workshop was on "creative rhythms." People were encouraged to use their bodies and/or drums, etc, to "think outside the box" and improvise rhythms, with the group joining in. I was so frustrated because, for the life of me, I couldn't get anyone in the group away from a basic 4/4 time or maybe a 2/4. Even if I started a 3/4 beat, the group would morph it back into 2/4 or 4/4.   The only improvisational aspect was the syncopation of the -- I don't know what you call them -- over-beats. I thought, my gawd, haven't any of you ever even done a waltz!? LOL


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:48 AM

My post slipped into the ether...

Don, "Take Five" was from the Dave Brubeck Quartet (thus Leadfingers's post 2nd from the top, here). You'll probably recognize it when you hear it.

It's got its own Wikipedia entry.

There's a nice NPR story about it here.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: s&r
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 03:19 AM

This record has many unusual time signatures

'Adventures in Time

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes

Label and catalogue number
Columbia G 30625
Columbia S 66291
Personnel
Dave Brubeck (piano)
Paul Desmond (alto sax)
Eugene Wright (bass)
Joe Morello (drums)

Tracks
Unsquare Dance (7/4)
Blue Rondo a la Turk (9/8)
Take Five (5/4)
Eleven Four (11/4)
Castilian Drums (5/4)
It's a Raggy Waltz (3/4)
Blue Shadows in the Street (9/8)
Unisphere (10/4)
World's Fair (15/8)
Waltz Limp (3/4)
Iberia
Countdown (10/4)
Maori Blues (6/4)
Three To Get Ready (3/4,4/4)
Cassandra (4/4,3/4)
He Done Her Wrong
Cable Car (3/4)
Charles Matthew Hallelujah (4/4)
Kathy's Waltz (3/4)
Far More Drums (5/4)
Shim Wha (3/4)
Bluette (3/4) '

Stu


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 06:53 AM

Adventures in Time looks like a remake of the two Dave Brubeck Albums from the Sixties , Time Out and Time Further Out !


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Grab
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM

Can anyone offer an example of the odd meter? Something so easy to find as to trip over? From a Broadway musical perhaps? Something as well known as Happy Birthday?

Pink Floyd - "Money". 7/8 time.

Incidentally, Floyd drop back into 4/4 time during the guitar solo in "Money", bcos Gilmour didn't think he could do a good solo in 7/8 time.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: JohnB
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:17 PM

Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews from Derby in England seem to do more than their fair share of different timey things, some 7/8 and 5/4 that I remember.
They were just over in Canada at both Millrace Folk Festival and the Godeich Celtic Colege and Festival. One tune in particular which they played at the end of their set at Millrace was stuck in my head for about two hours afterwards, mainly because of the rhythm.
Somebody above mentioned choral music with lots of time changes, I invariably find that if you ignore all the time signatures and keep the same length of beat for all 1/4 notes it all works out right in the end.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 12:42 PM

I played Balkan dance music for a long time, and am particularly fond of the ballads in 7/8, the beat gives the a quality that is plaintive and lilting at the same time--the odd times are relatively easy to learn if you are taught by someone who can explain the mechanisms--people who try to copy what they hear on records often don't pick up what's going on underneath--you haven't got it til you can play it for dancing--


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: KenBrock
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 02:52 PM

iirc Jethro Tull's "Living in the Past" is 7/8. Also, the Beatles' "All you Need Is Love" constantly switches between 4/4 and 3/4.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: KenBrock
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 02:58 PM

A little research now informs me that Tull's "Living in the Past" is 5/4.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 03:02 PM

Ken, Thanks. those tunes I have heard of. I'll sit down with them tonight.

Don


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 03:32 PM

Most celebrated Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" was the piece that introduced odd meters and polyrhythms to unsuspecting classical audiences--also worth a listen, however you want to classify it, is Frank Zappa's "Toads of the Short Forest", in which Frank says, "On stage now, drummer A is playing in 7/8, drummer B is playing in 3/4, the organ player is in 5/8, the bass in in 3/4, and the sax player is blowing his nose."


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: lady penelope
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 04:15 PM

7/8 time? dead easy..... just repeat the words "Jaffa cake choclate biscuit, jaffa cake choclate biscuit"

:)


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Stewart
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 04:39 PM

Or "choclate biscuit, jaffa cake" for Greek "laz" 2+2+3

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: JohnB
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 11:44 PM

Pineapple Oranges for a jig.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 12:07 AM

OK, I'm dense. 7/8

Where do the beats go? 1 2- 1 2- 1 2- 1 on the ones?

Don


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 12:16 AM

There's a choral version of "Deck the Halls" in 7/8, which is, once you get it, a blast to sing. You'll never be able to sing it the regular way again.

When I was preparing a song collection a few years ago in grad school, I transcribed a number of songs, but one really challenged me - it was "Leaping and Dancing," a Spanish Christmas Carol that Nowell Sing We Clear (John Roberts, Tony Barrand, Fred Breunig and Andy Davis) sing. It turned out to be simple enough, once I figured out it was in 3/8!

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 12:46 AM

A bit of fun here--this music file is one of the most persnickety dance rhythms that you're ever going to run across--Beranche and Chocek By Pangeo Well, the first melody is, any way--the dance is called Beranche, and is found in Northern Greece and Albania--the melody is three measures of 12 counts each--each measure being broken into two phrases, one seven counts and the other five counts(I forget which comes first)--or maybe it is 11 counts with one of them played a bit longer(there is some disagreement amongst the experts)--the Chocek is easy--

And, if your interested Don, the 7/8 -is a compound tempo, and can be either 1-2 1-2 1-2-3 or 1-2-3 1-2 1-2--Musicians and dancers are taught to think of it a combination of quick and slow pulses (the 1-2 quick, the 1-2-3 slow) so they would be quick quick slow, or slow quick quick. The strum for seven is either down-up down-up down-up-down-


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Genie
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 02:08 AM

Yeah, Ted, that's how we folk dancers always counted the 7/8 and other irregular beats, e.g, "Slow, quick-quick." Of course your a 4/4 syncopated beat can also be counted "slow, quick-quick." But as you're learning a dance or the music for it, you easily come to "feel" the difference between a 2-beat and a 3-beat "slow."

Even the more unusual rhythms like 9/16 are fairly easy to commit to "muscle memory" when counted out that way.   Once I get the feel for a rhythm I seldom have to resort to counting.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 03:22 AM

Some Greek songs come to my mind immediately: Gierakina, Samiotissa, and Old Charalambis, but there are a lot more in Greek folklore.

This old dancing metre is composed of a Trochaeus and a Spondaeus, two classical metres: Long-short and long-long. You don't count 7 eighths, but in a 4-paces metre: pace (1-2)- short hop (3)- pace (4-5)-pace. A very lively metre for dancing.

The fast 7/8 metre is called Kalamatianos, two examples here.
Char code: Greek (ISO-8859-7).


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Scrump
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 04:09 AM

Surprised no-one's mentioned Light Flight by Pentangle (unless I missed it, sorry if I did) - that's in 5/4 time too.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Tootler
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 05:29 AM

Old English Hornpipes often show interesting rhythmic variation.

Although commonly notated in 3/2 time, in fact bars often alternate between 3/2 and 6/4 giving an alternating quicker 3 and slower 2. Good examples are Rusty Gulley, Lancashire Hornpipe (goes by several names) and Cheshire Rounds.

Apparently a 19th. Cent. Northumbrian manuscript (by William Vickers) has Rusty Gulley written out in alternating bars of 3/4 and 6/8 to reflect how it was played.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,Fogie
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 05:46 AM

Anyone got East Wind -Andy Irvine and co. The dance of Sulieman is in 11/8 - managed to get it written but I cannot play it in anything other than approximation -I keep wandering into 10/8 time The thing is it seemingly randomly mixes beats of 3+4+4 -if it kept to the same count things might be easier but the tune changes to stick the 3 beat in here and there. It is a great tune from Macedonia, and I take my hat off to those who manage to play and dance in these exotic rhythms.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 06:34 AM

Fogie - no problem. Don't count the quavers, count the chrotchets. Instead of the 2nd crotchet you count a quaver, so it is:
1-tap-3-4-5-6 (see my post above about the handling of the 3 quavers).

[This art of step-tap is learned in the infantry when marching in step with the wrong foot and changing step.]


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 07:20 AM

How about the 5/4? english traditional song that starts
"I'm a handloom weaver to my trade, and I fell in love with a factory maid."
Can't remember if it's got a non-obvious name, recorded by Steeleye span among many others.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 07:36 AM

Quite a lot of English folk songs are effectively sung in 5/4 time, even if they aren't written out like that.

The Copper Family sing Bold Fisherman in 5/4, but they always have a hell of a problem with audiences joining in in 6/8.

People can be so crass.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 08:51 AM

When you are listening to Andy Irvine and other Irish musicians, it is best to consider that they are playing from the perspective of Irish music, and that their interpretation of tunes reflects that, and will be considerable different than that of musicians whose playing comes from Balkan traditions.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Grab
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 09:20 AM

Oh, nearly forgot. There's the old saying of beginner guitarists always playing in 5/4 until they get the chord changes right.

strum strum strum strum *scrabble* strum strum strum strum *scrabble*...

:-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: GUEST,Tinker in Chicago
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM

My wile and I perform Drowzy Maggie in 5/4, and then watch people try to clap along. She called it Drunken Maggie.

More to the point, the Canadian comedy trio The Arrogant Worms play their parody of vegetarianism, Carrot Juice Is Murder, in 9/8, which is a cool sound. It gets played a lot on the national (USA) radio program Dr. Demento.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 12:06 PM

I may be opening up a can of worms here but....

I have one side of my mother's family who are Jehovah's Witnesses. Nice people - very generous. Out here I have met a large number of JWs. In fact, I enjoy going to their Kingdom Hall with these friends often. They are a far more open Christian Community than most people would have you believe. (Please let's not debate the validity of their beliefs here. I'm only relating an experience.)

My only complaint EVER has been the hymns in their songbook had unusual time signatures for hymns. Mild complaint really but... I'm looking at one right now that is 9/8. It's called Hail Jehovah's Kingdom and is Hymn #21 in the Sing Praises To Jehovah Hymnal. There are a bunch like that in 9/8. I could list them if anyone wants me to (I doubt it.) There are about a dozen or more. I swear I even saw one in 5/8. And even more unusual is #105 Hail Jehovah's Firstborn which is in 12/8.

I asked a young Elder I like very well once "What's up with the wacky time signatures in the hymns" and I'm sorry to say I hurt his feelings! He thought I was suggesting the songs were awful which they are not. They're just very married to direct scripture which is why they sometimes have to cram the lyric into these odd time signatures. I'd say a good half of them are 6/8 with the rest being divided equally amonst 4/4, 2/4, 2/2 and 3/4. And then there are those 9/8 anad that one 12/8.

Jimminy Cricket - 12/8!!! Can anyone name another hymn in that signature?

incidentally, everyone seems to sing them very well no matter what the time-signature, it's just those of us who are guests who stumble a bit.


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Genie
Date: 31 Aug 06 - 12:57 PM

Of course the regulars have no trouble singing those hymns, Dave's Wife. Just like dancers usually have no trouble doing a Kalamatianos or Les Noto or hornpipe once they've learned it initially.   Mathematicians may make good musicians, but sometimes being analytical and doing stuff like reading sheet music is a less efficient way of "mastering" a new rhythm than just learning it auditorially and kinetically.   I've learned many a folk dance in 5/4, 9/8, 7/8, or 15/16 time just by hearing the music and watching someone else do it (sometimes breaking it down into smaller sequences first, sometimes not) , and not bothered to count out the meter till much later.

And, Grab, I completely concur about the beginning guitarists. LOL
In some song circles where half the people have little background in music (formally or otherwise), we often encounter the opposite. Too many people have no concept of the "rest" in music, and don't subliminally "feel" the measures of a song, so they proceed to the first word of the next line before its place in the "count" comes up. This can make for really strange and irregular "meters."


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 07:59 AM

What makes a base of 8 the most common. Is this some fundamental biological thing. I mean why not 7/11 or 5/9. Is this purely "Western" or do some of the the "Eastern" societies use a different base ever?

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 08:25 AM

7/8 is the time signature for the written music-- 7 is the number of beats to the measure--the 8 just tells you which kind of note gets one count--you could use any kind of note you wanted, 16th or 4, but 8 looks better and is easier to read--as far as it goes, you can use any kind of notation you want, it's just that no one will be able to read it--


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Subject: RE: Odd meters, 7/8 anyone?
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 09:00 AM

Spot the Dog wrote:
What makes a base of 8 the most common. Is this some fundamental biological thing. I mean why not 7/11 or 5/9. Is this purely "Western" or do some of the the "Eastern" societies use a different base ever?

Good question, Spot. For that matter, why do we say something's in 3/4 time instead of 3/3? I know that's the convention, but if it's 3 crochets to a bar, the bar length is 3, right? So what's the "4" got to do with it?


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