ALEX WEBSTER
M ETA L GU RU
W E B ST E R
EX A M IN ES THE
W O R LD OF 5 / 4
n the past two columns
we've looked at the odd
meters 7/8 and 11/8, both
of which can be created
by removing an 8th note
from a more standard meter
(4/4 and 12/8 respectively).
This month let's look at 5/4, a
signature that could be seen
as
adding
time to a meter (4/4),
in this case a full quarter note
rather than an 8th.
We'll start by comparing a
standard measure of 4/4 with
a measure of 5/4. The accents
will be on the first and third
beats of the 4/4 measures, and
the first and fourth beats of the
5/4 measures. The 3+2 feel this
pattern creates is probably the
most typical you'll encounter
in 5/4.
In
Example 2
we'll look at
two more feels in 5/4, each
created by accenting 8th
notes in a different way. The
first two measures show a 3,
3, 2, 2 grouping of 8th notes.
For a famous example of this
feel check out Lalo Schifrin's
'Mission: Impossible Theme'. If
you hadn't previously noticed
that song was written in 5/4, it's
EXAMPLE 1
EXAMPLE 2
EXAMPLE 3
EXAMPLE 4
testament to the fact that odd meters don't have to sound quirky or unconventional. In the hands of a
skilled composer they can be as catchy and easy to follow as anything written in a more standard meter.
The second part of
Example 2
shows a 2, 3, 3, 2 grouping of 8th notes. Both patterns in this example
have accents that land off the beat: keep this in mind while you're tapping your foot and/or playing with
a click.
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