Please consider registering
Guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed sp_TopicIcon
Odd time signatures
17 March 2015
5.43pm
Avatar
vonbontee
Inside an Apple Orchard in a Letterbox
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4462
Member Since:
1 December 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ewe2 said
Just to be extra annoying, they start Drive My Car on a half-beat with the guitar and the bass comes in likewise and sits there for a whole measure, and then the drums kick in on the normal beat...and the vocals start a beat into the next measure. I usually try to focus on the bass, but then the drum fill confuses me again! Pollack calls it "two measures-worth of the Beatles most rhythmically disorienting music ever". I've no idea how they recorded it.

Haha thank you, I've complained about this confusing intro at least twice on the forum in the past! I have the exact same problem, trying to find the backbeat when it begins. And on Saturday night I was listening to the mono in the right frame of mind, and managed to ignore some of the instrumentation, and managed to follow the rhythm exactly for the first time ever!

The following people thank vonbontee for this post:

Beatlebug, ewe2

GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

                      Von-Bontee-2017.png

https://rateyourmusic.com/~Myo.....Von_Bontee

30 March 2015
4.45pm
Avatar
Joe
Pepperland
Admin
Forum Posts: 5104
Member Since:
31 March 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The only time I've *ever* been able to follow the Drive My Car intro is when playing Rock Band, because (IIRC) there's a count-in before the instruments begin. It's one of the most devious things they recorded.

The following people thank Joe for this post:

Beatlebug, ewe2

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

Don't miss The Bowie Bible – now live!

30 March 2015
4.59pm
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ewe2 grimmoned 
Just to be extra annoying, they start Drive My Car on a half-beat with the guitar and the bass comes in likewise and sits there for a whole measure, and then the drums kick in on the normal beat...and the vocals start a beat into the next measure. I usually try to focus on the bass, but then the drum fill confuses me again! Pollack calls it "two measures-worth of the Beatles most rhythmically disorienting music ever". I've no idea how they recorded it.

I never noticed it before; I was too busy jumping up and down in excitement (and I'm not normally a jumpy person. The Beatles have that effect on me). But the other day I tried tapping along, and there's this weird missed beat where the drums come in. I was completely left behind. It's daft! 

The following people thank Beatlebug for this post:

ewe2

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

24 April 2015
12.39am
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yes-- I'm double-posting-- I can do what I jolly well like-- so naff off a-hard-days-night-paul-11

a-hard-days-night-george-10

Anyway, I think I've figured out what they're doing in Drive My Car . They start the opening guitar bit on an accented beat. This is kept up for a couple measures (somebody else tell me how many, I haven't the botheration to figure it out just now), and then, when the drums kick in, this switches round completely: the accented beat becomes the off-beat, and vice versa. paul-mccartney!!!!! 

Or it could be as @ewe2 said above (actually, that's what I originally thought... then I rephrased it just now). Either way, it's one of the most misleading, confusing, and, as aforementioned, devious things they ever recorded. 

Idly, I wonder which one of them came up with that idea?... 

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

14 May 2015
8.16am
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Does anyone know what happens at the beginning of Baby's In Black ? It's driving me batty. Even worse than Drive My Car ... or maybe just more obvious... but still annoying. a-hard-days-night-ringo-13 

Ugh, WHY?! a-hard-days-night-ringo-14 Why you Beatles have to be so tricky? Look What You're Doing to me! blue-meanie 

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

15 May 2015
11.30am
Avatar
Joe
Pepperland
Admin
Forum Posts: 5104
Member Since:
31 March 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The timing of the opening guitar twangs is a bit off but the intro is just a couple of bars of 6/8, no unusual time signatures.

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

Don't miss The Bowie Bible – now live!

15 May 2015
12.24pm
Avatar
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4474
Member Since:
14 December 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yeah, that one's nowhere as confusing as the "Drive My Car " intro! Just imagine the accompanying vocal "[tell me] oh, what can I do"

The following people thank Von Bontee for this post:

Beatlebug

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

                 Winner-Funniest-Post-and-Most-Creative-Contribution-2017-1.pngfunniest-post-badge2018.png

19 May 2015
1.24pm
Avatar
Pineapple Records
Shea Stadium
Members
Forum Posts: 844
Member Since:
14 May 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

For me, the beginning of Drive My Car is just a matter of either the on-beat or the off-beat (my terms).  I parse the beats for 4/4 where the hits on the cowbell are the 1-2-3-4.  Thus, beats hit exactly twice as fast would be the 8th beats -- if you superimpose the following two patterns on top of each other:

1 -   2 -  3  - 4

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

The intro runs through two measures of 4/4 beats (= two measures of 8th beats).

The casual listener instinctively thinks that the very first note of the song, the electric guitar note, must be the "1" of the line of 8ths above -- the first beat of the count of the song.  But it's not:  it's actually one 8th beat BEFORE the count is supposed to start.  The second note of the guitar is actually the "1" that starts the beat count.  Once you realize that and count it out based on that, it all falls into place.

As to why Paul decided to do that (I'm assuming mischievous Paul was behind it, as usual), he either did it that way just to be different -- or, he was thinking in a certain rhythmic groove and it just worked out that way naturally.  That would be a good question to ask Paul now...

The following people thank Pineapple Records for this post:

Beatlebug, ewe2

A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,

a coffee dessert, yes you know it's good news...

1 September 2015
2.15pm
Avatar
TwoAfter908
Royal Command Performance
Members
Forum Posts: 230
Member Since:
18 March 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The book "The Beatles Complete Scores" has the intro of Drive My Car as 4/4 then 9/8. To me it sounds like it's the other way around but you can really count it any way that works. I bet the Beatles themselves never counted it, and just went with it because it was their song.

The following people thank TwoAfter908 for this post:

Shamrock Womlbs, Matt Busby
1 September 2015
2.22pm
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

TwoAfter908 said
The book "The Beatles Complete Scores" has the intro of Drive My Car as 4/4 then 9/8.

Perhaps the tempo was two after 9/8. a-hard-days-night-george-10

To me it sounds like it's the other way around but you can really count it any way that works. I bet the Beatles themselves never counted it, and just went with it because it was their song.

That is probably true... 

The following people thank Beatlebug for this post:

Matt Busby, ewe2

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

27 September 2015
6.07am
Avatar
ewe2
Inside the beat
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2933
Member Since:
8 January 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I forget where on the forum, but we did have a discussion of this because I have the scores too, and sometimes it's easier to cast the time signatures in a certain way to make the notation simpler. Pineapple is probably right but it doesn't help, I still get confused 😀

Another thing they did was to use different measures to hint at a time signature that isn't there. For example I'm Only Sleeping cuts measures in half which suggest 2/4 instead of 4/4 but its still 4/4! And ironically I Am The Walrus does a similar thing - ironic because the original base track had an extra measure but John got it wrong when he did the vocal and didn't want to redo it!

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) genuinely has a couple of bars of 2/4 separating the initial part with the "cabaret" part, and Within You, Without You bookends the verses with a bar of 2/4. The first verse has a bar of 5/4 within it, and the "choruses" have two separate bars of 5/4, one in the middle, one at the end. And the instrumental part is all 5/4 except for a pause of 8 bars of 4/4 at the end and the score uses a bar of 3/4 to cover that little pause (as George counts in tala) just before the verse starts again. It's quite an interesting score to read as a Western notation equivalent of an Indian piece, the instrumental is very pretty. The Inner Light is a conventional 4/4, and Love You To only has a 3/4 bar to match the riff at the end of the "choruses", so Within You, Without You is the most complex of the Indian-based songs.

The following people thank ewe2 for this post:

Pineapple Records

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

aus-flag-v-small.png

2 October 2015
5.24pm
Avatar
Pineapple Records
Shea Stadium
Members
Forum Posts: 844
Member Since:
14 May 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks ewe2, I didn't know about any of those examples!

One of my songs I wrote is a typical 4/4 country song, but in the chorus, each line of the words has a short phrase leading to it lasting one beat, so it turns out to count as 5/4 for the chorus.  Sometimes a songwriter may deliberately say "Okay I'm going to make this 5/4" -- other times the music that "comes to him" dictates whether sometimes he will vary the standard extremely common 4/4 signature.

On a related note:  when covering famous 5/4 tunes out there, I have seen egregious examples of musicians actually forcing the tune into out of its time -- Tito Puente's version of the famous Dave Brubeck song "Take Five" remade into 4/4 (then why not change the title to "Take Four"...?) and the theme of the first Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible movie (making it 3/4 instead of 5/4).

A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,

a coffee dessert, yes you know it's good news...

3 November 2015
3.48pm
Avatar
Joe
Pepperland
Admin
Forum Posts: 5104
Member Since:
31 March 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@ewe2, could you please elaborate on I'm Only Sleeping ? I don't hear it as anything but 4/4, apart from maybe the "float upSTREAM" bits.

Great post BTW. Thanks so much. I'd never before noticed the complexity of Within You Without You .

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
Or buy my paperback/ebook! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs

Don't miss The Bowie Bible – now live!

3 November 2015
4.57pm
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@Joe said
@ewe2, could you please elaborate on I'm Only Sleeping ? I don't hear it as anything but 4/4, apart from maybe the "float upSTREAM" bits.

I'm thinking the bass-y bits, meself. The regular beat seems to be wholly abandoned there. Eh? 

...Though like the lads, I never think about it-- I just play it... a-hard-days-night-john-6

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

3 November 2015
6.08pm
Avatar
ewe2
Inside the beat
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2933
Member Since:
8 January 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Joe said

@ewe2, could you please elaborate on I'm Only Sleeping ? I don't hear it as anything but 4/4, apart from maybe the "float upSTREAM" bits.
Great post BTW. Thanks so much. I'd never before noticed the complexity of Within You Without You .

@Joe if you've grown up with the song, you probably don't even notice this, but I hadn't so I still do! I think I've said elsewhere this is a vamp rhythm in disguise (the same as With A Little Help With My Friends and many others), and you're right, at the float upstream part, the endings of those verses exploits that rhythm to suggest the 2/4. Now the verses are 9 measures or 2x4 measures plus 1 which is how I hear it up to the "float upstream". And the choruses are 6 measures including the bass solo. Then you have the second verse where the bass solo doesn't directly lead into the verse and we have 3 whole measures before the vocal comes in, and that's why the middle-eight seems to interrupt like 4/4 after 2/4. But the middle-eight itself is like a short verse with a fake pause and the whole thing is 8 measures not 9! Then you have the sole and a shorter recap of the middle-eight of 4 bars, and then the last verse and coda.

There are pauses either explicit or suggested by rhythm all the way through which would take too long to number, but you get the idea. That just builds on the sense you have that the measures are uneven. @Beatlebug is also correct that the bass exploits that rhythm too, accenting those pauses and the triplet solos. And particularly the end of the song where the bass literally plays a triplet and the backwards guitar comes in and the whole song seems to fall asleep again, it's a great effect.

Note: what I call "vamp rhythm" is a 4/4 rhythm with the accents on each beat and a 2/4 accent in between. Vamp is usually a term for a few bars of repeatable pattern and vamp rhythm is very self-contained! Think Your Mother Should Know or Fixing A Hole etc etc, the Beatles did heaps of them.

The following people thank ewe2 for this post:

Matt Busby, Joe

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

aus-flag-v-small.png

4 November 2015
5.07am
Avatar
Matt Busby
In the town where I was born
Shea Stadium
Members
Forum Posts: 932
Member Since:
7 February 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Silly Girl said

TwoAfter908 said
The book "The Beatles Complete Scores" has the intro of Drive My Car as 4/4 then 9/8.

Perhaps the tempo was two after 9/8. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Since nobody had thanked you for this post, I thought your "musical pun" deserved another run-through (it seems hard to believe everyone got it and didn't appreciate it!)...look at whom was quoted, and then read the time signature that was mentioned...

Too add something on-topic, the concept one or more instruments starting a half-beat (or more but < 1 measure) before the primary rhythm is not a Beatles innovation in music (and I don't even think they brought it to modern music). I can't think of any examples ottomh but I'm sure Woody Guthrie, or some 50's pop writer, uses it. It occurs in classical music, so if I'm wrong about modern music at least they (or George M) surely brought it from classical.

The following people thank Matt Busby for this post:

ewe2, Beatlebug

Half of what I say is meaningless...

I feel good in a special way, I'm in love and it's a sunny day

BeatlesBible.com earns royalties if you use these links when shopping: Amazon | iTunes

4 November 2015
6.57pm
Avatar
ewe2
Inside the beat
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2933
Member Since:
8 January 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Matt Busby said
Too add something on-topic, the concept one or more instruments starting a half-beat (or more but < 1 measure) before the primary rhythm is not a Beatles innovation in music (and I don't even think they brought it to modern music). I can't think of any examples ottomh but I'm sure Woody Guthrie, or some 50's pop writer, uses it. It occurs in classical music, so if I'm wrong about modern music at least they (or George M) surely brought it from classical.

It seems to be at least eighteenth century with the gavotte or earlier, and that the gavotte uses it is telling: it means that beginning with an intro is probably an old feature of popular/folk music, older than classical music itself. It's interesting how many different classical forms are based on folk dance rhythms anyway, that's a rich vein of sociology right there 😀 There's a fascinating if expensive book called "Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era" (ISBN 9780199367283 if you're interested) about all this which seems to also show that the very concept of meter and time signatures was confused right up to the eighteenth century itself when our sense of time itself became what we take for granted today. I like what I see from the Google Books snippet, I might get the ebook which is considerably cheaper than a hard copy from England a-hard-days-night-paul-4

The following people thank ewe2 for this post:

Matt Busby

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

aus-flag-v-small.png

5 November 2015
11.45am
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 17329
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Matt Busby said

Silly Girl said

TwoAfter908 said
The book "The Beatles Complete Scores" has the intro of Drive My Car as 4/4 then 9/8.

Perhaps the tempo was two after 9/8. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Since nobody had thanked you for this post, I thought your "musical pun" deserved another run-through (it seems hard to believe everyone got it and didn't appreciate it!)...look at whom was quoted, and then read the time signature that was mentioned...

<snip>

Ahhh thanks Matt Busby, you're too kind a-hard-days-night-george-9 

It gave me a laugh, anyways. I'm quite used to laughing at my own jokes, alas. 

The following people thank Beatlebug for this post:

Matt Busby

~ Ram On ~
New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here.
ScotsIrishFlag-1.jpeg Blueberries1.png Vietnam Heritage and Freedom Flag
StarSpangledBanner.png

19 November 2015
3.26pm
Avatar
ewe2
Inside the beat
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2933
Member Since:
8 January 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

npad21 said
Would the changes in The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill be considered time signature or tempo changes? That's always perplexed me.
 

Noone answered this one, so I will. The answer is they do both! The verses are definitely slowed down from the choruses, and the choruses have a bar of 2/4 just after the what did you kill, Bungalow Bill? part in the middle, but have a normal bar of 4/4 to lead into the verses. When the choruses are repeated at the end, they are separated by a bar of 2/4.

Another example of 2/4 being thrown in on the same album is Cry Baby Cry . This time, the intro chorus has a bar of 2/4 into the first verse, but the verses all end with a bar of 2/4 into the chorus instead, and the choruses end normally in 4/4 into the next verse. And again, Lennon uses bars of 2/4 to repeat the refrain at the end, so you can see both songs are actually closely related rhythmically and structurally to each other. In fact I hadn't noticed that until I compared the scores just now. A final thing about Cry Baby Cry : Lennon does a wonderful thing at the end by resolving the chord but not the melody, ending the song on a half-note (so it rings for an extra note), so it sounds incomplete but actually is.

And just for laughs, John throws in a bar of 2/4 in the first verse of I'm So Tired like a pause.

The following people thank ewe2 for this post:

Shamrock Womlbs

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

aus-flag-v-small.png

29 November 2015
1.33am
Avatar
Pineapple Records
Shea Stadium
Members
Forum Posts: 844
Member Since:
14 May 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

ewe2 said

npad21 said
Would the changes in The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill be considered time signature or tempo changes? That's always perplexed me.
 

Noone answered this one, so I will. The answer is they do both! The verses are definitely slowed down from the choruses, and the choruses have a bar of 2/4 just after the what did you kill, Bungalow Bill? part in the middle, but have a normal bar of 4/4 to lead into the verses. When the choruses are repeated at the end, they are separated by a bar of 2/4.

Another example of 2/4 being thrown in on the same album is Cry Baby Cry . This time, the intro chorus has a bar of 2/4 into the first verse, but the verses all end with a bar of 2/4 into the chorus instead, and the choruses end normally in 4/4 into the next verse. And again, Lennon uses bars of 2/4 to repeat the refrain at the end, so you can see both songs are actually closely related rhythmically and structurally to each other. In fact I hadn't noticed that until I compared the scores just now. A final thing about Cry Baby Cry : Lennon does a wonderful thing at the end by resolving the chord but not the melody, ending the song on a half-note (so it rings for an extra note), so it sounds incomplete but actually is.

And just for laughs, John throws in a bar of 2/4 in the first verse of I'm So Tired like a pause.

Hi ewe2, you know a lot about time signatures, maybe you can answer a question I've had for years:  It seems like the bottom number of time signatures always seem to be divisors of 2 -- 2, 4 and 8.  Can there be a time signature with something like 3 or 5 on the bottom -- like 8/5 time?  If so, what would it sound like?

A ginger sling with a pineapple heart,

a coffee dessert, yes you know it's good news...

Forum Timezone: America/Chicago
Most Users Ever Online: 700
Currently Online: WeepingAtlasCedars, Jules
Guest(s) 1
Top Posters:
Starr Shine?: 15940
Ron Nasty: 10905
50yearslate: 8611
Necko: 7911
AppleScruffJunior: 7225
parlance: 7111
mr. Sun king coming together: 6403
Mr. Kite: 6147
trcanberra: 6064
sir walter raleigh: 5129
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 87
Members: 2590
Moderators: 6
Admins: 1
Forum Stats:
Groups: 3
Forums: 44
Topics: 4909
Posts: 351076
Newest Members:
doubleo, RexEntertainment, Sweet Loretta Fart, LennonGirl, RedHector
Moderators: Joe: 5104, Zig: 9812, meanmistermustard: 23259, Ahhh Girl: 19473, Beatlebug: 17329, The Hole Got Fixed: 7957
Administrators: Joe: 5104