March challenge - Odd Time

March 2, 2013 6:03 PM

Thanks to Hoots Hoops McCann for this one. March challenge is to record something In a time that is odd to you.

It could be as straightforward as 3/4 or even 4/4 if you never play in it, or as complex as you like. 13/8 and 15/8 always seem to be fruitful for me. 5/4 and 7/4 are often fun. But go nuts and feel free to flip a familiar tune into a new metre, or mix up metres, or whatever, really.

Handy tip: subdivide your metre into 3s and 2s to get the hang of it and count 3s as 'elephant' and 2s as 'tiger'. So 7/4 can be counted as elephant-tiger-tiger or any other combo of 1 elephant and two tigers. If you need a 4, anaconda works. Ant for 1 and so on.

So 13/8 might be counted elephant-elephant-ant-tiger-anaconda.

Tag your entries 'oddtime' and 'mefimusicchallenge'
posted by unSane (13 comments total)

7/4 can be counted as elephant-tiger-tiger or any other combo of 1 elephant and two tigers.


That's actually quite helpful, i think. Will have to try and see if i can make that work in practice.
posted by dubold at 4:51 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

(Also compound time works.. . Three bars of 4/4 and one of 3/4 say... or polyrhythms... 3/4 against 4/4)
posted by unSane at 5:11 AM on March 3, 2013

Reminds me of an old joke... an auditioning singer is asked if he can sing in 4/4 time, to which he replies by singing "life is just a bowl of cherries". They then ask him if he can sing in 5/4 time... and he sings "life is just a fucking bowl of cherries".
posted by Crane Shot at 6:25 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ohhh...well the only way I could do this and not break my brain is if I sequenced everything in MIDI and let the computer play it for me. 5/4 is about as complex as I can get as a performer. Maybe if I practiced more.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:52 AM on March 5, 2013

Ah, man, I already put my 12/8 song up last month.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:08 PM on March 5, 2013

Some inspiration:
Unsquare Dance
Turn it On Again
Thirteen (Mr. Zappa even helps you count!)

I'm going to give this the old college try, maybe even force myself to dust off my electric guitar. I was just doing some idle googling for lightweight drum tracking options; it's something I've been meaning to get into for years, and will be helpful for something like this. PSA for Mac users: iZotope iDrum is selling in the App Store for $19.99 right now (regular price is $49.99) - download is for a standalone app but supposedly includes a license code for the plugin (which can be used in GarageBand, Logic, Ableton Live etc). I'm still waiting for a follow-up email with license info.

Anyway - I have no affiliation with iZotope, etc. etc... just thought it was worth sharing, especially for this challenge.
posted by usonian at 5:12 PM on March 5, 2013

Dang, I only got around to playing about with the majorminor challenge last night, didn't occur to me that it was new challenge time. (maybe I can pick a different Radiohead song and combine the two)
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:29 AM on March 7, 2013

Ah, man, I already put my 12/8 song up last month.

But... 12/8 isn't an odd time signature! But wait... now that I've read unSane's post, I see that 3/4 and 4/4 are also eligible! Haha! OK! I'm reminded of some lyrics I wrote for this song:

isn't it odd
seems so uneven
even the odds
are against all believin'

I wonder if we could turn this thread into a compendium of tunes in odd time signatures people have already posted to MeFiMu? That could be interesting, to hear what people have done with that kind of thing so far. Here are mine:

Blues Wrapped Round My Head is in 5
Pigs Ate My Roses has a few extra beats here and there, and moves back and forth between 3/4 and 4/4
If There Is Any News ... can't explain exactly what's going on here, but it's got some polyrhythmic thing going on
Curious Little Smile is a sort of free-time thing that skips around following its own rhythmic muse here and there
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:08 AM on March 11, 2013

Good idea, Flapjax. I'll leave out my stuff that's in 3/4 and 12/8.

Tubular Carol of the Jingle Bells is in 30/8 (3x 7/8 + 1x 9/8 - the Exorcist theme) with 5x 6/8 (the Carol of the Bells riff) against it, and has some other polyrhythms going on too when the later melodies come in.

On Valentines Day is in 7/8. (Elephant Tiger Tiger)

Occupy My Heart is in 15/8. (Elephant Elephant Elephant Tiger Tiger Tiger).

Happy, the Carpenters cover, is in common time but hells bells, is the timing of it ever tricky. My 15/8 song actually came out of trying to learn the damn riffs for this one.
posted by unSane at 6:43 AM on March 11, 2013

PS I never did get the drums on Valentines Day right. Our drummer listened to the demo, looked at me, and said 'the drums are kind of fucked up, aren't they?', then played something perfect.
posted by unSane at 6:45 AM on March 11, 2013

We should use the 'oddtime' tag for these and any posted in future, as well as the challenge song, don't you think?
posted by unSane at 6:46 AM on March 11, 2013

thorazine roses is in 5/4 and 7/8 during the verses and the bridge is in straight 4

clock watcher is in 7

the 2nd section of jacaranda moon 1 is a 4/4 song with a programmed 7/4 bass synth riff

silence is 7 bars of 16/16 followed by a bar of 15/16 - there's a delay to the drums that switches every 8 bars from 16ths to 8th note triplets

my boss lies to me has verses in 4/4 and chorus in 9/8

funeral home in a shopping mall is 5/4 and 7/8

crows over america one drum track's 6/8, another's 7/8 and i play over it like it's 4/4

two doors down is in 5

i think that's it as far as deliberate, thought-out odd times although i'm sure i've done some weird polyrhythms here and there in the course of playing stuff
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 PM on March 12, 2013

A remix in 5/4
posted by chrchr at 4:18 PM on March 17, 2013

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