When we listen to a song, we don’t always take any notice of its time signature. Perhaps it’s only when a song doesn’t follow the popular 4/4 or waltzing 3/4 time signatures that we notice a difference. Some artists have decided not to follow the crowd when it comes to how many beats they put in a bar, and we love them for it! Here are 3 famous songs that use more unusual time signatures (and one for you to guess at the end)!
Money – Pink Floyd – Uses a 7/4 time signature
One of the most famous examples, this song by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd is primarily in a 7/4 time signature and briefly changes to 4/4 for David Gilmour’s guitar solo. It also features the unusual cash register ringing sound over a chord progression that’s based on a twelve-bar blues. Why not!?
Golden Brown – The Stranglers – Uses 13/4, 6/8 and 7/8 time signatures
Probably the most memorable pop song of the 80’s which doesn’t use only common time. The unique repeated pattern of the opening uses a 13/4 time signature, and we can hear measures of 6/8 and 7/8 later in the song. The harpsichord’s distinct sounds also adds to the tracks unique character, with the single reaching No.2 on the UK singles chart in 1982. Clearly wierd sells!
Happiness Is A Warm Gun – The Beatles – Uses 3/8, 5/4, 6/4, 9/8, 10/8 and 12/8 time signatures
I guess if you’re going to move away from convention, you might as well go this far! The song is composed into three different sections, uses the keys E minor, A major, A Lydian and C major, and moves through 6 different time signatures. Well, we’ve certainly never heard a rock song have so many changes in time signature, I’m sure Strakinsky would approve.
Can you guess the time signature of this famous piece?
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