Saturday, April 4, 2009

Common Time Day

Well well, if it isn't this day... 4/4 is really not my nemesis... 4 is okay, its just the fact that it gets all the attention - I think its time for other numbers to have their time in musical limelight. The fact that we as a collective are in a 4/4 mesmerization is a mystery to me. Yes its got a safe and familiar back beat that's hard to lose, but we've made it that way via repetitive consensus. I can understand that its uncomfortable for people to think and feel in unfamiliar ways so they stick to what they know. But, when the majority of people and even some musicians don't even know what I am talking about when it comes to 'odd time', that's what really befuddles me. Are we really that hypnotized? Do we just drone on to the same beat without question? Unfortunately, for the majority of us, I think, yes. So, common or uncommon, outside or trapped by your box, by the bar line or no bar lines (I can't think of anymore cliches at the moment) its your choice. But as for me I am going to make sure that I do some thing odd on this day so that I don't feel so common. But I do that everyday... so maybe I will just be uncommonly common. Maybe..


1 comment:

Jakob said...

I think it's also worth looking at some bands who play common time in uncommon ways. Two really great examples of that are in my opinion:

Radiohead: Pyramid Song (4/4)

Kashmir: Petite Machine (3/4)

That said, I think you're spot on with your points about the 4/4 mass psychosis. In pop and rock music there seems to be an enormous focus on "sound" - Nirvana were said to have a unique sound when they had their breakthrough in the early 90's, so were Strokes in the early 2000's - but time signatures are hardly ever regarded. It's as if "sound" in rock and pop music is defined as a particular style of playing in 4/4. And then you have someone like Sting who writes an occasional tune in odd time, and that's supposed to make him something special! Damn, that's annoying...