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Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard
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Author:  ksevile [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

While listening to Origin's Antithesis (specifically the title track) recently, I could not help but be particularly captivated by one of the oddest time signatures that I have ever heard. I've been trying to drum up some examples from recent memory as I've been on a brief hiatus as of late, but Atheist certainly comes mind, in addition to Gorguts (ahem... Obscura).

What are some others you all have noticed that struck you similarly?

Author:  Twisted_Psychology [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

It's such a cliché to bring up but Dream Theater's The Dance of Eternity is the first thing that comes to mind. I suppose it's most noteworthy for the frequent changes than anything but the ones like 11/4 and 17/16 are pretty unorthodox.

Author:  MrMcThrasher II [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Did you hear about the progressive stoner metal band writing a song in 4/20 time?

Author:  MawBTS [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

The verse of Master of Puppets is 21/32, due to James Hetfield rushing a note.

Author:  jimbies [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

MawBTS wrote:
The verse of Master of Puppets is 21/32, due to James Hetfield rushing a note.


The youtube videos breaking this down are fascinating, but also kind of make me scratch my head thinking "WHO had time to study this one note so much?"

Author:  DecemberSoul [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

MawBTS wrote:
The verse of Master of Puppets is 21/32, due to James Hetfield rushing a note.


So... there might be a mentally challenged NS band somewhere out there who accidentally played a 14/88 signature?

Apologies; I pretty much had to.

Author:  FirebathDan [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Quote:
jimbies and MawBTS on the "MoP' 21/32 theory.


It's because this is a complete bullshit theory that came up in recent years and has been applied retroactively.

This idea seems to be born out of the modernization of capturing music-that every note has to be metronomically flawless on a grid.

There's absolutely no way whatsoever that when the band wrote this song in 1985, that they had intended this bar to be in the absurd time signature of 21/32-I cannot be convinced of this. And it's the intent of the artist that matters here, not some doofy YouTube nerd trying to dick waggle about how theoretically smart or technically savvy they are by ludicrously over-analyzing something they had no part in creating.

It's obvious that this measure was meant to be felt rather than rigidly counted, and it's highly likely that this song was recorded without a click track, hence why each repetition is loosely performed. Even if they did use a click track, a bar of 21/32 at that tempo would be an unusable blur of noise that even the most technical musicians would not be able to play along with.

It's impossible for any one person to count that fast-the song is reputed to be 212bpm to the quarter note, so 32nd notes fly by at 1696bpm (32nd notes being 8 times as fast as quarter notes at the same tempo), where 28.3 32nd notes play every second. No one is capable of accurately counting 21 beats in what is roughly 3/4s of a second and play accurate musical syncopation on top of it. It's simply not feasible.

My opinion (emphasis) is that this is s sloppily played bar of 5/8, which I also opine that they did not set out to do, they just felt it out when the riff was written. Of course, shy of Hetfield or Ulrich coming out and saying how this bar should be counted, there's no way of knowing for sure, but I'm relatively confident they'd laugh off the absurd notion of 21/32.

Sorry about the ranting, and not trying to call either of you two out or give either of you a hard time, it's just this idea gets under my skin for some inexplicable reason.

Author:  androdion [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Anything written by Watchtower and Spiral Architect is bound to impress the OP in terms of complex time signatures. Sorry for not putting out the theory of those two examples but I'm simply not capable of doing so. :lol:

Author:  jimbies [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan wrote:
Quote:
jimbies and MawBTS on the "MoP' 21/32 theory.

Sorry about the ranting, and not trying to call either of you two out or give either of you a hard time, it's just this idea gets under my skin for some inexplicable reason.


No, dude, I totally 100% agree with you.

Author:  Terri23 [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan wrote:
MoP rant


They didn't intend anything. The guys at the time didn't know anything about musical theory, let alone what a 21/32 time signature was. All they did was write a piece of music, which came together during a jam session that sounded great to them.

Author:  thrashinbatman [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan wrote:
Quote:
jimbies and MawBTS on the "MoP' 21/32 theory.


It's impossible for any one person to count that fast-the song is reputed to be 212bpm to the quarter note, so 32nd notes fly by at 1696bpm (32nd notes being 8 times as fast as quarter notes at the same tempo), where 28.3 32nd notes play every second. No one is capable of accurately counting 21 beats in what is roughly 3/4s of a second and play accurate musical syncopation on top of it. It's simply not feasible.

My opinion (emphasis) is that this is s sloppily played bar of 5/8, which I also opine that they did not set out to do, they just felt it out when the riff was written. Of course, shy of Hetfield or Ulrich coming out and saying how this bar should be counted, there's no way of knowing for sure, but I'm relatively confident they'd laugh off the absurd notion of 21/32.

Sorry about the ranting, and not trying to call either of you two out or give either of you a hard time, it's just this idea gets under my skin for some inexplicable reason.


This is a lot of ranting for nothing. Absolutely no one will disagree, pretty much everybody who talks about it makes it clear that definitely was never the intention. Hell, I doubt they even wanted it to be 5/8, they just liked the way the riff sounded. But James rushing the note means that when you go back to transcribe it, writing it as 21/32 is the only way to get it to sound right. They accidentally did some weird shit because they were just jamming.

Author:  Zodijackyl [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

One of the most fascinating things I've heard is the drum work on Confessor's "Condemned" and drummer Steve Shelton did a wonderful job breaking it down and explaining how it came together, one part at a time. He's such an incredible and creative drummer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_54BL0aOt5E

Author:  MawBTS [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Quote:
Sorry about the ranting, and not trying to call either of you two out or give either of you a hard time, it's just this idea gets under my skin for some inexplicable reason.


My guess is that you think Metallica is overrated, and "Metallica wrote a 21/32 passage" sounds like "Metallica are BRILLIANT MUSICAL GENIUSES" or something.

But in reality, anyone can compose in a weird time signature. You don't even need to know how to play music! A 5 year old bashing a piano is probably playing 19.5/4+2 or something, if you transcribe the part down. The challenging part is playing it back, but if it's locked in musical memory then it becomes unconscious. James Hetfield has probably played that song so many times he isn't even aware he's skipping a note.

But the Master of Puppets riff is definitely 21/32. This is remains true regardless of Metallica's skill or level of musical knowledge.

Author:  EpicSceptic [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

On topic:

If you want a glimpse into a whole other level of rhythms/beats/time signatures give this a read.

As for metal examples, I'll just drop the obligatory Meshuggah mention. I'm not really too excited about the adoption of the entire djent genre, but there was a time that these guys were really doing something entirely unique.

Overall I think a lot of the drum work that Czral of Virus/Ved Buens Ende fame did is underrated in terms of how complicated the time signatures are. The riffs might mostly be in 4/4, but there is really seldom a dull moment thanks to his constant fills, and he often employs interesting jazz inspired beats.

Author:  e_ddi_e [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Zodijackyl wrote:
One of the most fascinating things I've heard is the drum work on Confessor's "Condemned" and drummer Steve Shelton did a wonderful job breaking it down and explaining how it came together, one part at a time. He's such an incredible and creative drummer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_54BL0aOt5E



Yes.

Author:  FirebathDan [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

MawBTS wrote:
My guess is that you think Metallica is overrated, and "Metallica wrote a 21/32 passage" sounds like "Metallica are BRILLIANT MUSICAL GENIUSES" or something.

But in reality, anyone can compose in a weird time signature. You don't even need to know how to play music! A 5 year old bashing a piano is probably playing 19.5/4+2 or something, if you transcribe the part down. The challenging part is playing it back, but if it's locked in musical memory then it becomes unconscious. James Hetfield has probably played that song so many times he isn't even aware he's skipping a note.


*sighs* I don't know why I bother sometimes.

My point has little to do with Metallica themselves (which I have nothing bad to say about their entire body of work, actually) and is more about the idea that some millennial YouTube dweeb can over analyze something they had no hand in creating, put a video out there, and have other millennial YouTube dweebs accept it as new facts. It's retroactive re-contextualization. Had you actually read and comprehended before reacting, you might have got that.

That and that 21/32-as claimed by anyone in any song-is not a feasibly practical time signature at 212 quarter notes per minute. There's not a single person on earth that can legitimately and accurately execute that.

Quote:
But the Master of Puppets riff is definitely 21/32. This is remains true regardless of Metallica's skill or level of musical knowledge.


Absolute bullshit.

thrashinbatman wrote:
...writing it as 21/32 is the only way to get it to sound right.


We seem to by and large agree, but I can't get on board with this. In the video where this theory originates, they compare the original recording to an obvious GuitarPro (or GuitarPro like implement) sample and have to use this absurd impractical time signature to force the ultra rigid GuitarPro to try and emulate what we pretty much agree as something that was done completely on feel when it was originally captured.

Terri23 wrote:
They didn't intend anything. The guys at the time didn't know anything about musical theory, let alone what a 21/32 time signature was. All they did was write a piece of music, which came together during a jam session that sounded great to them.


Pretty much exactly what I said, we seem to also by and large agree. The umbrage-again-is that someone who wasn't there when the song was written, who was (at best) maybe all of 5 years old when this song was written, goes on YouTube in 2017 and says "well, actually, 21/32" and people accept it as fact.

It's leeching off of someone else's work for their own notoriety (probably mostly in the interest of getting views on a monetized video) that irks me. Because if they actually wrote their own song in 21/32 at 212bpm, no one would give a shit and we certainly would not be having this discussion. But throw Metallica in there and boom, people are arguing on the internet somewhere.

Author:  MawBTS [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Quote:
My point has little to do with Metallica themselves (which I have nothing bad to say about their entire body of work, actually) and is more about the idea that some millennial YouTube dweeb can over analyze something they had no hand in creating, put a video out there, and have other millennial YouTube dweebs accept it as new facts. It's retroactive re-contextualization. Had you actually read and comprehended before reacting, you might have got that.


I have no idea where you're going here, especially since you agreed with someone saying the same thing as me, but Metallica's intent doesn't matter. They might have meant it to be 5/8, or maybe they didn't even know what a time signature was. But I assure you, it's 21/32, and this was true from the second it was recorded. There's nothing "retroactive" about it.

Quote:
That and that 21/32-as claimed by anyone in any song-is not a feasibly practical time signature at 212 quarter notes per minute. There's not a single person on earth that can legitimately and accurately execute that.


You think nobody composes music that humans can't play? Look up "black midi" and "Conlon Nancarrow" some time.

Author:  FirebathDan [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

MawBTS wrote:
I have no idea where you're going here, especially since you agreed with someone saying the same thing as me, but Metallica's intent doesn't matter. They might have meant it to be 5/8, or maybe they didn't even know what a time signature was. But I assure you, it's 21/32, and this was true from the second it was recorded. There's nothing "retroactive" about it.


Your assurances mean absolutely nothing to me because you did not write the song. The YouTube video floating this theory did not surface until 2017. You're basically making stuff up at this point.

Quote:
You think nobody composes music that humans can't play? Look up "black midi" and "Conlon Nancarrow" some time.


This has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion and you're using it to try and distract from the fact that you essentially have nothing to say.

I'll put it to you this way: the only way I'll accept 21/32 is from the source-get Hetfield or Ulrich to say it on video in no uncertain terms. Otherwise I've wasted far too much time on you.

Author:  Temple Of Blood [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Craziest thing I have ever heard was Spastic Ink "A Wild Hare". Instruments on this song mimic the voices/sounds from the Bambi cartoon and accompanying score. The bass drum hitting when Thumper's foot stomps gets me ever time.

Author:  Zodijackyl [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan, you seem unreasonably upset that someone out there sees Metallica as math homework, while Metallica obviously just jammed this part out and felt it, without "showing their work" because they're not called Metalgebra.

Author:  joppek [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

there's of course the really out there weird stuff like blotted science and what have you, which are great, but i also like how freak kitchen does some really fucked up shit musically, while still managing to sound like the most easy listening, catchy radio rock you ever heard

Author:  FirebathDan [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Zodijackyl wrote:
FirebathDan, you seem unreasonably upset that someone out there sees Metallica as math homework, while Metallica obviously just jammed this part out and felt it, without "showing their work" because they're not called Metalgebra.


I suppose that I'm more irritated not only by the idea that there are people out there who are gullible enough to buy into this inane theory, but then go on to perpetuate it as fact.

Author:  Living_Ruins [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Spiral Architect's "A Sceptic's Universe" is the pinnacle of progressive metal, the best work in prog metal ever. I cannot describe how superb and genius this album is.
There's a song named Fountainhead, unbelievably beautiful (towards the end with the solos and riffs) and complex, the intro alternates between 11/16, 14/16, 13/16, 12/16, this video shows it. Every song on the album is so unique in all terms...

Author:  Zodijackyl [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan wrote:
Zodijackyl wrote:
FirebathDan, you seem unreasonably upset that someone out there sees Metallica as math homework, while Metallica obviously just jammed this part out and felt it, without "showing their work" because they're not called Metalgebra.


I suppose that I'm more irritated not only by the idea that there are people out there who are gullible enough to buy into this inane theory, but then go on to perpetuate it as fact.


Writing music isn't math homework, you don't necessarily sit down and think "I'm going to write a bit in x time signature." Back before we knew anything about music theory, friends and I would jam stuff out and end up with some abrupt transitions that would be in 15/16, 13/16, or even 21/32. We didn't know how to write it down, we just sort of felt it out. A lot of it came from emulating things we heard in progressive bands - Metallica considered having Geddy Lee produce Master of Puppets, so it's no surprise that they heard some odd-timed transitions. That's just counting "one-and-two-and-threee" before getting back into it.

Author:  FirebathDan [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Zodijackyl wrote:
FirebathDan wrote:
Writing music isn't math homework, you don't necessarily sit down and think "I'm going to write a bit in x time signature." Back before we knew anything about music theory, friends and I would jam stuff out and end up with some abrupt transitions that would be in 15/16, 13/16, or even 21/32. We didn't know how to write it down, we just sort of felt it out. A lot of it came from emulating things we heard in progressive bands - Metallica considered having Geddy Lee produce Master of Puppets, so it's no surprise that they heard some odd-timed transitions. That's just counting "one-and-two-and-threee" before getting back into it.


I get all this-this is a condensed version of what I've already said.

I'm not the one claiming and then insisting that they used this extremely esoteric time signature. Quite the opposite actually.

Author:  ~Guest 226319 [ Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

They aren't claiming Metallica intentionally "used" an odd time signature, but that their music accidentally ended up being in an odd time signature in the course of jamming. It's a coincidence.

Author:  Lolpah [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

FirebathDan wrote:
Zodijackyl wrote:
Writing music isn't math homework, you don't necessarily sit down and think "I'm going to write a bit in x time signature." Back before we knew anything about music theory, friends and I would jam stuff out and end up with some abrupt transitions that would be in 15/16, 13/16, or even 21/32. We didn't know how to write it down, we just sort of felt it out. A lot of it came from emulating things we heard in progressive bands - Metallica considered having Geddy Lee produce Master of Puppets, so it's no surprise that they heard some odd-timed transitions. That's just counting "one-and-two-and-threee" before getting back into it.


I get all this-this is a condensed version of what I've already said.

I'm not the one claiming and then insisting that they used this extremely esoteric time signature. Quite the opposite actually.

Thing is, you are forgetting that time signatures are not only a tool for composing music, but also a tool for analysing music. Something doesn't have to be deliberately written in a weird time signature to be in a weird time signature.

Author:  FirebathDan [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

I've said all I can say on this matter-anything more would simply be repeating myself and this is not worth the frustration.

Author:  ~Guest 226319 [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

One time I was driving around and one of those boxes that tells you how fast you are going said I was going 27 miles an hour. It was obviously wrong because my intention was to go 25 miles an hour, the posted limit. Nobody would intentionally use this extremely esoteric speed.

Author:  BeholdtheNicktopus [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Ahahahahaha incredible.

Weird time signatures are cool and all (used to love them for their own sake), but now I'm more impressed by weird ones that don't seem too weird, ones that cover up their weirdness so you don't get too distracted, but nonetheless that open up songwriting possibilities. Tyr is a good example. Or especially Jethro Tull's "Songs from the Wood", it is so catchy, a very "pop" album, but at the same time one of their most progressive arrangement- and time signature-wise. Also Fates Warning blah blah.

Edit: the weirdest thing is how not-weird these can sound... until you listen a little more closely!

Author:  at the gaytes [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

I think more than half of the riffs on Nespithe are on time signatures other than 4/4, but they never reached absurd shit like 23/24 or 33/32

Author:  thrashinbatman [ Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

Lolpah wrote:
Thing is, you are forgetting that time signatures are not only a tool for composing music, but also a tool for analysing music. Something doesn't have to be deliberately written in a weird time signature to be in a weird time signature.

Pretty much. For example, I was recently watching an Adam Neely video where he was analyzing the chord progression behind "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder, I can't be arsed to find it. But he was going through on a pretty deep theory level, analyzing why Stevie would have picked the chords he did. Now, in reality, Stevie probably was just jamming and liked what he heard, but when we go back, we look with that analytical eye to determine why it sounds good, especially when things are unusual.

Simply put, even if the intention was never to write in 21/32, that's the only way to accurately recreate it. The people who made the videos demonstrate that writing it in 5/8 like it normally is ends up not sounding right when played perfectly, which is the point of notation. If you're attempting to recreate the recording, you gotta do that. We go back and analyze, and sometimes weird things appear, especially when the artists aren't paying attention when they're creating the music.

Author:  arnvidr [ Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

The real question is, for someone trying to transcribe Master Of Puppets, why would you write down that bar as 21/32 instead of looking at the notes played, and putting it in a matching signature (like 5/8 or whatever) and rather figure out a different tempo for that bar. Transcribing it should be to help someone else play it, right? Putting *anything* as 21/32 is a waste of everyone's time.

Author:  joppek [ Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Oddest or otherwise most complex time signatures you've heard

arnvidr wrote:
Transcribing it should be to help someone else play it, right?


well, no - it can be, and perhaps often is, but analysis of anything doesn't need to have a specific use case like that for the results in mind

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