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wildfisherman
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Post 2008-02-06 01:15   [Quote] 
I'm not a musician and I can't hear these things clearly. I know a lot of Frank's music was not in 4/4 and I suspect that's part of the reason he sounds different from your regular Rocking Teenage Combo, even if you can't quite put your finger on it.

Could any of you who know about these things clear up what the time signatures are for any or all pieces you find interesting.

For a start, I think I can hear that

Filthy Habits is in 5/4

Pound For A Brown 7/4

Five Five Five 5/8, 5/8, 5/4 OK, I cheated, I read that somewhere

Thirteen 5/8, 5/4 Frank explained

but I'd be very pleased to have the signatures of other old favourites pointed out to me.

And what on earth happens at the beginning of King Kong - seems to start off in 4/4 alright but after about 5 bars I lose it completely. Does it just carry on the same but I can't hear it, or does it take off somewhere else?
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pbuzby
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Post 2008-02-06 04:26   [Quote] 
Hi Wildfisherman -

Thirteen is in 5/8 + 4/4. (4/4 = 8/8, 5/8 + 8/8 = 13/8).

King Kong is in 6/8, although most versions from the Flo & Eddie band onward have a secondary theme where it changes to 4/4.

The other time signatures you mention are correct.

A few other Zappa odd-meter hits:

Dupree's Paradise, 5/4 (mostly)

Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, 7/4 (mostly)

Trance Fusion, 21/8 (9/8 + 12/8)

Outside Now, 11/8

Drowning Witch first solo, 9/8

Of course, other pieces like Black Page showed how bizarre it was possible to get while staying in 4/4.
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Ob
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Post 2008-02-06 08:54   [Quote] 
Watermelon in Easter Hay goes all the way up to 13 -
4/4 then 5/4

(I think)
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Ob
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Post 2008-02-06 08:55   [Quote] 
Err - I meant 9
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pbuzby
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Post 2008-02-06 13:26   [Quote] 
Another one is Oh No (melody in 7/4, solo section in 5/4).
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NonFoods
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Post 2008-02-06 15:24   [Quote] 
Frank used 3/4 here and there.... Sofa being my favorite.

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cookie_manager
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Post 2008-02-06 16:24   [Quote] 
For my own practising joy (or frustration), I once took apart several of the complex rock pieces and wrote down the metric structure. Particularly tricky to me seemed "Inca Roads" (after the guitar solo) and "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing", but also "Zomby Woof", "T'Mershi Duween", "Beauty Knows No Pain" or "Marque Son's Chicken" need some deeper insight before being able to tap along with the food. Smile

.

My USB-card is broken (otherwise I could scan the piece of paper with the stuff written on it), but this for instance is a little of what I found out for "Inca Roads" (starting with the "flute-interlude" right after the guitar solo)

9x4/4
5/16 - 3/8 - 5/16 did a vehicle come from somewhere out there did a vehicle
2x4/4 commmmmmmmmmme
11/16 - 7/16 - 7/16 come from somewhere out there did the indians...
3/4 - 2/4 - 4/4 (instrumental interlude)

5/16 - 3/8 - 4/4 - 3/16 - 3/8
3x5/16 - 7/8 - 5/4 - 6/4
2x [5/16 - 3/8]
etc.
.

"Don't You Ever Wash That Thing" was particularly hard to crack... there's one passage I came up for with this:
3/4 - 7/16 - 2/4 - 5/16 - 9/8 - 7/16 (Roxy-version 0:25-0:33)
.
Both sure could be interpreted differently, but this is how I choose to count it; I don't see how to simplify it further. Discuss!
.

I also tried to analyse "Canarsie" (which regularly has a 5/16-bar inserted) and my impression is Vinnie or Barrow fuck it up in the course of the recording Smile
(or it intentionally loosens up a bit).
.

Anyway I was surprised to see how complex some of Zappa's stuff is metrically (not even considering the nasty polyrhythms at work sometimes).
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cookie_manager
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Post 2008-02-06 16:45   [Quote] 
And as I read my sheet a little further, I see that "Moggio" and "What's New in Baltimore" are closely related in regards of bar structure (and both often got played in combination around 1981, right?). I consider them to be brother and sister.

At least a rather significant 9/8 - 11/8 - 5/8 (the latter 4 or 8 times respectively) is prominently present in both pieces' thematic material.
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pbuzby
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Post 2008-02-06 17:01   [Quote] 
cookie_manager wrote:
And as I read my sheet a little further, I see that "Moggio" and "What's New in Baltimore" are closely related in regards of bar structure (and both often got played in combination around 1981, right?). I consider them to be brother and sister.


This is true. Moggio is a melody FZ wrote to go on top of the arpeggios heard in the first half of What's New In Baltimore.

For more info check http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/songs/Moggio.html
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wildfisherman
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Post 2008-02-07 01:43   [Quote] 
Many thanks to all for your responses. I thought things sometimes got complicated but I didn't think they were that complex.

Apologies for my foolishness over Thirteen. It was sort of a typo. I woke up this morning thinking Did I type 5/4 not 4/4, but by the time I could get to my computer it had long since been corrected.
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yetanother
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Post 2009-07-24 17:14   [Quote] 
I just thought I might add some corrections... I mean, OBJECTIVE ones (from official charts, listed):

-King Kong is in 3/8, not 6/8 (you can check it in the Uncle Meat album booklet).

-Dupree's Paradise is not exactly 5/4, though it may be understood that way. In the orchestral score, however, the main hook basically alternates 2/4 and 6/8 (which does add up to 5/4), with a few alterations and/or interpolations throughout (also, in the theme's 2nd riff, 6/8 becomes 9/8, which would add up to 13/8). Also note that the 'B' section is in 9/8 and the 'C' section (what you might term a "chorus") is in 3/4. I find it unlikely that Frank should have used in the orchestral version a different time signature from the original.

Finally, here's a nice rhythmic structure I transcribed from "Cucamonga" (in the course of arranging it for wind quintet - please note that this is the way I perceive it, though Frank may have written it in a completely different manner):

Lead-in: 3/8 (8 bars, accelerando - in "Farther Oblivion" versions) OR 4/4 (8 bars, half-time - in "Bongo Fury")
3/4 (3 bars) - 2/4 (2 bars) - 5/4 (this whole structure repeats 3 times)
3/4 (7 bars)
5/8 - 6/8
3/4 (2 bars) - 2/4 (2 bars)
2/4 (2 bars - in "Farther Oblivion" versions) OR 7/16 (2 bars - in "Bongo Fury")
5/4 (2 bars, divided 3+2+2+3 8th notes - in "Farther Oblivion") OR 3/4+3/4+3/8 (repeated 3 times - in "Bongo Fury" - this is actually the same figure from "Farther Oblivion", but doubling the duration of the first 7 8th notes)
6/8 (one bar, both versions)
4/4 (4 bars - in "FO") OR 4/4 (8 bars in half-time, as intro) - 7/16 (2 bars) (in "BF")
3/4 (3 bars) - 4/4 (note that this part can also be understood, in both versions, as 4 bars in 3/4 and one in 1/4, since this last beat feels somewhat "detached" from the rest, with a slight "ritenuto"...)
long fermata with guitar lick (in "FO") OR 5/4 - 7/8 (2 bars) - long fermata (in "BF")

Cheers!


Last edited by yetanother on 2009-07-24 20:56; edited 1 time in total
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Farks Zappa
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Post 2009-07-30 19:15   [Quote] 
What timesig is "Let's Move To Cleveland" in? It sounds like something odd, or at least some kind of displacement. Or I'm just fooling myself.
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pbuzby
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Post 2009-07-30 19:50   [Quote] 
Farks Zappa wrote:
What timesig is "Let's Move To Cleveland" in? It sounds like something odd, or at least some kind of displacement. Or I'm just fooling myself.


6/8
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zachy
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Post 2009-07-30 19:54   [Quote] 
Take this with a grain of salt, because I'm just tapping it out in my head from memory. I think the intro is 6/8 and the vocal part is 4/4. Not too odd.

EDIT: I guess Pat's right and it's 6/8 throughout, but the vocal part has a sort of 4/4 feel I guess (though the bass/drums continue the 6/8 of course). Eh whatever Wink

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doot
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Post 2009-07-31 01:32   [Quote] 
One thing to keep in mind is that FZ used time signature changes liberally in order to convey the "statistical density" to the band. His rhythmic approach always sounds very natural to me. Not like someone thinking "I'll write in an odd meter today". As he moved into writing almost all of the repertoire, not everyone in the band had to be a super strong reader, but his bass and drum players had to be A+ readers. He was also very specific about how the bars are subdivided, counted, and what kind of feel was to be employed. If you check out Pound, the feel is 7/4, with a three followed by a four, but the feels alternate across two bars, or you can count it as one bar of eighths. It gives a "one two Three one Two three four/ one Two three one two Three four" feel, caps on the emphases. If you try playing it as straight 7/4 it sounds totally wrong. Overall I think of it as the time signature as a necessity of transcription, as opposed to starting with a time sig and working forward.

KK is a really fun example because the theme can be thought of as 4/4 melody over the three rhythm, and is powered by a switch from a downbeat emphasis to a cluster of upbeats. It made it a natural for the later "reggae" feel, which is basically a slower 2/4 feel that can be broken down with triplets to a three feel, and leaves the upbeats wide open for the second melody section. Listen to the JLP version for the fast three/six feel. No matter, there is a three and a four feel combined in every version (that I have heard), whether it is 3, 6, or triplets in the rhythm.

I think that having early (i mean really early, like in the crib) exposure to Dave Brubeck had some effect of making me interested in the "odd" meters. Brubeck operated with the idea that rhythmic interest would be equal to melodic interest. Even though it wasn't quite right, he did open a lot of ears to other meters. His use of the dotted-feel 5/4 (Take Five) is iconic, for example. Likewise, FZ was a tricky sumbitch in the rhythm department. That is a big part of the fun for me.

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