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Odd Meters

Nowadays more and more artists are using odd meters in their songs. Don't get locked out of this area; you can get the skills you need!

Get a complete immersion in the odd meter world through the Odd Meters book. It will show you how to count and approach odd time signature music from the ground up. If you:

  • Want to play some of the more creative music on the scene
  • Are drawn to the rock music of Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, Yes, Tool, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Emerson Lake and Palmer
  • Are attracted to the contemporary classic music like New Complexity composers like Brian Ferneyhough, or composers like Leoš Janáček, John Cage, Steve Riech, Igor Stravinsky, Berg, Pierre Boulez, Arnold Schoenberg and Ravel
  • Are intrigued by music from Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, Iran and Bali, and enthralled by the likes of Ferus Mustafov, Ara Dinkjian, Ravi Shankar or Hüsnü Şenlendirici
  • Are excited by Jazz performers and composers such as Dave Brubeck, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, John Zorn, Don Ellis
  • Are captivated to Math Metal bands such as Misery Signals, The Ocean, Fall of Troy and Meshuggah
  • Are fascinated by Noise Core bands such as An Albatross, Tower of Rome or Daughters
  • Are interested in Jazz Core bands such as Ephel Duath
  • Are riveted by Math Rock bands such as Bastro, Table, Cheer-Accident, Shellac, Kiriller and Breadwinner
  • Are engrossed by Progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Tool, and Fates Warning

Then Odd Meters will prepare you for the world of odd time signature playing

That was quite a list! But it goes to show just how many great acts incorporate odd meters into their music to make it more colorful and interesting. And Odd meter music has been part of the mainstream rock and jazz since the 60's. Here are a few examples of Classic Rock songs that use odd meters:

  • "Good Morning, Good Morning" by The Beatles
  • "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin
  • "Money" by Pink Floyd
  • "Thick As A Brick" by Jethro Tull.
  • "Entre Nous" by Rush
  • "Apocalypse in 9/8" by Genesis
  • "Spoon Man" by Sound Garden
  • ""Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles
  • "5/4" by Gorillaz
  • ""Voices" by Dream Theater
  • "7/4 Shoreline" by Broken Social Scene
  • "Just Like You Imagined" by Nine Inch Nails
  • "Playing in the Band" by the Grateful Dead
  • "Pantagruel's Nativity" (1971), by Gentle Giant
  • "Blockhead", by Devo.
  • "Eleven", by Primus
  • "Whipping Post", by The Allman Brothers Band
  • "The Becoming" by Nine Inch Nails
  • "13 de Maio" by Caetano Veloso
  • "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" by Dream Theater
  • "Starless" (1974), by King Crimson
  • "Turn It on Again" by Genesis
  • "A Change of Seasons" by Dream Theater
  • "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield
  • "Keep It Greasy" by Frank Zappa
  • "Autopsy," from Fairport Convention's
  • "The Black Page" by Frank Zappa
  • "The Dance of Eternity" by Dream Theater
  • "Fish On" by Primus
  • "I Say a Little Prayer" by Dionne Warwick
  • "Limelight" by Rush
  • "Schism" by Tool
  • "Physical Cities" by The Bad Plus

Odd meter music has been part of the Western Classical Tradition for Centuries. Here are a few examples:

  • "Allegro calmo senza rigore", first movement of String Quartet No. 2, op. 36 (1945), by Benjamin Britten
  • "Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm" 4, from Béla Bartók's Mikrokosmos (no. 151),
  • "Molto adagio" (Adagio for Strings), second movement of Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, op. 11
  • "Reverie der Laputier, nebst ihren Aufweckern", from Intrada, nebst burlesquer Suite, for two violins (the so-called "Gulliver Suite") by Georg Philipp Telemann
  • "Five Pieces for Piano" op. 23, by Arnold Schoenberg.
  • "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland.
  • "L'Artisanat furieux", third movement of Le Marteau sans maître, by Pierre Boulez
  • "A Choral Fantasia" op. 51, by Gustav Holst.
  • "Solacium", part 3 of "De Elegia Tertia" from Threni, id est Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae, by Igor Stravinsky
  • "Fugue", second movement of Bachianas brasileiras no. 9, by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
  • "Robert Browning Overture" by Charles Ives
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1950–51), by Elliott Carter
  • "Moderato", no. 2 (1909) from Four Etudes, op. 2, by Sergei Prokofiev
  • "Sensus spei", part 2 of "De Elegia Tertia" from Threni, id est Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae, by Igor Stravinsky
  • Klavierstück IX (1954–55/61) by Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • "Prelude no. 15" from the Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Sonata for Cello and Piano (1948), by Elliott Carter
  • "Prelude no. 15" from the Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach

Jazz Performers and Composers have used odd meters since the 50's. Here are a few examples:

  • "9 to 5" by Steve Coleman
  • "262 for Trumpet" by Jean Michel Pilc
  • "Human Nature" by Vijay Iyer
  • "33 222 1 222" by Don Ellis
  • "How's This for Openers?" by Don Ellis
  • "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" by Mahavishnu Orchestra
  • "The First Circle" Pat Metheny Group
  • "Birds of Fire" by Mahavishnu Orchestra
  • "The Great Divide" by Don Ellis
  • "Eleven Four" Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • "Blue Rondo à la Turk" (1958) by the Dave Brubeck Quartet

Preparing yourself to play and read odd time signature music takes time and practice.

The Odd Meters book will help you:

  • Improve you accuracy when playing and reading odd time signature music.
  • Develop a larger vocabulary of time signatures that you feel comfortable playing.
  • Give your odd meter playing a more natural flow when you perform.
  • Understand how to write out the odd meter rhythms if you are a composer wishing to publish your music.
  • Develop a better interaction with your band members and understand their odd meter rhythmic phrasing.
  • Pinpoint the odd time meters that are causing you problems.
  • Develop a flow when time signatures change every bar or every few bars.

Odd Meters midifiles to the rescue!.

Odd Meters takes you through 120 pages of odd time signature exercises. But how do you know if you are playing the rhythms correctly, especially as the tempo gets faster?

Midifiles are audio files that play the exercises with total accuracy and you can control the tempo. This will allow you to:

  • Start at a tempo with which you feel comfortable
  • Slowly speed up the tempo over time.
  • Concentrate on accuracy
  • Make practicing more productive and fun.

Odd meter music can really open up new ideas and rhythmic feels. Understanding rhythmic patterns is crucial, being able to play them naturally will take experience. Odd Meters gives you 120 pages of exercises to do just that.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel my odd meter playing is weak when playing chords or trying to groove with other musicians?
  • When I have to read odd meter music are many of the mistakes I make related to rhythm?
  • Do I have a tendency to speed up or slow down when I play or read odd meter music?
  • Do I lack rhythmic diversity when I'm soloing or writing odd meter music?
  • If someone shows me an odd meter groove do I have a hard time duplicating the sound?
  • Is it hard for me to translate the odd meter rhythms I hear into rhythmic notation?
  • Do I have a hard time getting a musical flow happening when I'm called upon to improvise with odd meters?
  • Can I identify the odd meters I'm hearing when I'm listening to or playing music?

All of these problems can be symptoms or poor rhythmic skills. This can cause you not to perform well, get lost when playing music and not be connected to the music you are listening to or playing. Every time signature requires a different set of skills. Just because you can play in the common time signature of 4/4 doesn't mean you will easily play with an array of changing time signatures. Odd Meters is one of the best ways to help you improve this important area of your musicianship.

Don't forget Pitch and Rhythm are two of the most basic aspects of modern music:

Listeners will pick up on rhythmic inaccuracies very quickly. As you can see from the previous list of compositions odd meter music is more and more part of the norm. So don't get yourself into an embarrassing situation where you find out in a very public way that you can't play a particular odd meter song. Just a few minutes a day can solve this problem and give you the confidence that you can perform well.

If you have basic reading skills Odd Meters is the perfect book for you.

If you are just getting started with Rhythm get the Rhythm Primer first but if you know how to read rhythms and just want to hone your odd time signature playing then Odd Meters is perfect. It will give you:

  • 120 pages of exercises to develop your ability with 2/8, 3/8, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8, 9/8, 2/4, 3/4, 5/4 time signatures.
  • Two sections: one with eighth notes as a basic pulse and another with sixteenths as a basic pulse.
  • Exercises using just one pitch so you can really concentrate on learning the rhythms
  • Downloadable free audio examples of each exercise in the form of midifiles. Midifiles allow you to control the tempo of the exercise making it the perfect type of file to use with these exercises.

Develop your rhythmic skills in a logical way.

Remember rhythmic accuracy is one of the keys to projecting confidence and having your listeners engrossed in your music.

Our bodies respond to rhythmic accuracy and feel uncomfortable when it's not there. Odd Meters and the whole Rhythm series develops this accuracy through targeted exercises. Just a few minutes a day is all you need to get these skills under your belt so don't put it off. Add a 10 minute exercise each day and get your internal rhythm flowing.

Get started with Odd Meters today and start feeling the freedom of rhythmic expression!

Get started with Rhythms Volume Four today and start expressing those fast rhythms you have always wanted to play!

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