Songs in Odd Times


Regardless of what Wikipedia says about Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, it is cannot possibly be written in 4/4 time.  If you ignore the first three-and-a-half beats and meter eighth notes then the piano consistently plays in 11/8 while the first measure is 7/8.  Maybe Phil Selway is playing drums in 4/4; with all the syncopation I find it impossible to pick up and hold the beat when the percussion enters halfway into the song.  But listen to the piano and you get a sense for what plays out as consistent 11/8.

Pyramid Song is one of many Radiohead tunes using sophisticated rhythm patterns that are not for the faint of heart.  In the jazz scene there’s Dave Brubeck, who’s always good for one or two oddly-metered pieces per album.  It’s interesting how our minds resist rhythm that is not in 2 or 3 or 4.  I personally love the edginess that weird beat brings to music.

On Thursday, June 11th this radio station will dedicate 2 hours (starting at 2 pm) to rock songs not tied to our natural rhythms.  Should be a great listen, but probably not something you’ll consider dance music.

One Response to Songs in Odd Times

  1. Jake says:

    Sorry to disappoint, but Pyramid Song is indeed in 4/4.

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