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Thread: Songs in 17/8

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    Junior Member Adam Bodlack's Avatar
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    Default Songs in 17/8

    Prime number time signatures are hype - I'm wondering if anyone knows any good songs in 17/8 time?

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I think larger time signatures like this are unlikely, since we tend to break things down into smaller phrases. Still, I can see 17/8 being used if the intent is to create a rhythmic situation in which there is a "missing eighth note" or "added eighth note" effect. Such as 8 + 9 (extra eighth note) or some triplet scheme like 9/8 + 6/8 +2/8 (missing eighth note).

    I doubt that any "melodic" entity could be perceived as one large 17-unit gestalt.

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    Senior Member Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Bodlack View Post
    Prime number time signatures are hype - I'm wondering if anyone knows any good songs in 17/8 time?
    There are songs in 17/8 time... Are they good? - Depends upon how you feel about Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk...

    List of musical works in unusual time signatures -

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ime_signatures

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Probably can find some Indian music with a 17 beat pattern. 17/8 (or 17/4 or 17/16 or whatever the denominator is) does not give enough info, odd meters are typically some combination of 2 and 3 beat patterns

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Probably can find some Indian music with a 17 beat pattern. 17/8 (or 17/4 or 17/16 or whatever the denominator is) does not give enough info, odd meters are typically some combination of 2 and 3 beat patterns
    Yes, the thing to understand about Indian music is that these longer rhythms are like a 'string of beads', strings of 2 & 3 beat patterns like you said.

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    Junior Member Adam Bodlack's Avatar
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    Yeah I could see it being used in Indian music. I utilized 30/8 in a composition recently split into 1 bar of 13/8 and 1 bar of 17/8. I thought it sounded pretty cool - haven't used 17/8 on it's own though. If you would like to listen I'll share the link below - the song is titled "Goodness and Severity" and the section starts at 2min.

    https://open.spotify.com/album/04SylDb7f9MPjgJY7CAtls

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpXR9f7vEnw

    The song utilizes more prime number time signatures throughout (11/8, 7/8) it is played quite fast so I find the odd meters are less jarring. Let me know your thoughts.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Bodlack View Post
    Yeah I could see it being used in Indian music. I utilized 30/8 in a composition recently split into 1 bar of 13/8 and 1 bar of 17/8. I thought it sounded pretty cool - haven't used 17/8 on it's own though. If you would like to listen I'll share the link below - the song is titled "Goodness and Severity" and the section starts at 2min.

    https://open.spotify.com/album/04SylDb7f9MPjgJY7CAtls

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpXR9f7vEnw

    The song utilizes more prime number time signatures throughout (11/8, 7/8) it is played quite fast so I find the odd meters are less jarring. Let me know your thoughts.
    That is some mighty impressive piano playing! Thanks for that.

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    Junior Member Adam Bodlack's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'm not going to lie I had to record it slower and speed it up. It is quite difficult to play - still working on getting it up to that speed!

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Bodlack View Post
    Prime number time signatures are hype - I'm wondering if anyone knows any good songs in 17/8 time?
    17/4
    (1973) "Sister Andrea" by the Mahavishnu Orchestra
    (2004) "Chlorophyll" by Venetian Snares

    Partially in 17/4
    (1999) "But the Regrets Are Killing Me" by American Football: mostly in 4/4 + 4/4 + 4/4 + 5/4.
    (2005) "Fade Together" by Franz Ferdinand (Sections of 17/4 alternate with simple triple)
    (2006) "No Man's Land" by Sufjan Stevens (played as 4+4+4+5, chorus in common time)

    17/8
    Partially in 17/8
    (1983) "Changes" by Yes - instrumental intro/ending phrased (8/16 + 6/16) + (8/16 + 6/16 + 6/16).
    (1988) "You Enjoy Myself" by Phish: one piano-driven section in 6/8 + 6/8 + 3/8 + 2/8.
    (1991) "Miracle Of Life" by Yes - instrumental intro phrased 5/8 + 5/8 + 5/8 + 2/8 (or 5/8 + 5/8 + 7/8).
    (2000) "Communion and The Oracle" by Symphony X - first half of first verse phrased 12/8 + 5/8
    (2000) "Inferno" by Extol - Main riff
    (2001) "Don't Put Marbles in Your Nose" by fictional band Scäb from Home Movies (7+4+6)
    (2003) "Next" by Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (bridge is in 4/4)
    (2006) "Tetragrammaton" by The Mars Volta - after first guitar solo. 8+9.

    17/16
    (1974) "Spanish Moss: Savannah The Serene" by Billy Cobham
    (1993) "Psycho Shemps" by Tony Fredianelli (but played as 19/16 + 17/16 + 14/16 + 9/8)
    (2004) "Choosing to Drown" by Mike Keneally
    (2006) "Yak Party" by Yak

    Partially in 17/16
    (1974) "Flash Flood" by Billy Cobham - entire track except intro
    (1983) "Garden Party" by Marillion - verses; difficult to hear at normal song tempo.
    (1995) "A Change of Seasons: I. The Crimson Sunrise" - section which is a gesture to "Erotomania" by Dream Theater.
    (2005) "Halo" by Porcupine Tree - after the second chorus it switches from 4/4 to 17/16, measured by the band as alternating regularly between 9/8 and 8/8.
    (2005) "Open Car" by Porcupine Tree - verses in 17/16
    (2005) "Freak Show Excess" by Steve Vai
    "COILY" by "The Ozric Tentacles" from the album "Waterfall Cities" starts in 17/16 and changes to many others throughout.



    One more: Endless Dream by Yes . . . Because it's sequenced it hard to tell exactly what the time signature(s) is/are. Someone online suggested that it mostly in 5/4 with some 5/8 measures here and there, but that doesn't seem right to me.



    Oh, wait. It's more or less a 5/8 or 5/4 pattern.

    The sequence is in 16ths, with the patterns
    (3/16 + 4/16 + 3/16) + 5/16 + 5/16
    although it's all effectively in 10/8 in groups 3, making it 15/4

    Ah, whatever.
    Last edited by pianozach; May-01-2020 at 20:04.

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    Junior Member Adam Bodlack's Avatar
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    Fantastic! Thanks Pianozach! that's a great list - I'll take a listen.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    There's a Frank Zappa beat in 7/8 that he always pulled out from time to time; it can be heard on Weasels Ripped My Flesh, among other places. I realized recently that the accents BOM-ba-BOM-ba-BOM-Ba-Ba create a "shuffle" of sorts on the strong accents.

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