Monday, June 20, 2016

Did you know it was odd?

We're very very used to songs in 4.  It's the norm for Western music, and almost all popular music.  Sometimes you'll hear songs in 3 or 6, meters common in South Korean and African music, respectively.

Taiko is much the same.  How many songs can you think of in 3, 5, 7, or other odd numbers?  Maybe a few?  Maybe a handful?  Now name me all the songs in 4 (or 8).  I'll wait, it'll be a long list...

I've heard a good number of taiko pieces in odd meters, but it's not always the case that they're groovy, catchy, or even easy to listen to.  At times it feels like my Western percussion days where odd meters were more of an intellectual exercise rather than for the audience to enjoy (unless of course, you liked that sort of complexity).

I realize what's "groovy" or "catchy" is a subjective thing, but I think that the more that taiko players are exposed to songs in odd meters that don't come off clunky or overly complex, the more likely those players are to compose in odd meters and/or be more comfortable soloing in them, as well.

I've made similar lists in the past of some of my favorite odd-meter songs, but here goes:

Miyake (Did you know it was in 11?)
Mission Impossible Theme
Unsquare Dance
From Eden
Marta's Dance (first half) (bonus points if you can figure out what meter this is in!)

They're not always easy to find, but the best kind are the ones you didn't even realize were in an odd meter until later!

I'll leave you with this, the kind of music that makes me think the composer had a lot of hate for his bandmates, haha:

The Dance of Eternity

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