Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More stuff that isn't really in 7: Pink Floyd and the Bee Gees

Music that is actually in 7 is hard to find, and the following examples are no different. Sure, 4+3=7. But you still hear the split. And unlike "The Ocean," there's no 7/8 "clave" splitting the measure up. These are made up of measures of 4 and 3, though the effect achieved in each is quite different.

The first song I ever heard "in 7" was probably "Money" by Pink Floyd, written by Roger Waters. It's anchored by the following bass line:
And that notation is ok. But without that dashed line my eyes get lost. Isn't this more accurate?

I like notation to do more than tell me what the notes are. It's always better when it gives me more, and clearer, information. In this case it's clearly 4 beats + 3 beats. Just listen to the drums. The really cool thing about this line is that it's 7/4 by deletion AND elision. It's really the following line minus the last note (deletion):
The note that you might imagine as the last note of the two bar pattern in 4/4 becomes the first note of the 7 pattern (elision). Pretty cool.

"Jive Talkin'" by the Bee Gees does something quite a bit different. Here's the sweet-ass major pentatonic synth lead during the instrumental breaks (1:16):
Wait. Is it this?
 Actually, listen to the drums. The drums play in 4/4 straight through!
So to my ears, this is the most natural way to bar it. I like the strong 4/4 bars at the beginning and end of the 4-bar groups. Take a few listens and see if you agree:

Though really, I just think it's a 7 beat line repeated and superimposed over 7 measures of a 4-on-the-floor drum beat. Wicked sweet.

I love dancing.

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