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Fascinating Rhythm
20 November, 2009, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , ,

There is this music composition technique whereby 7 beats phrase are used in 8 beats pieces (4/4). Sounds weird to you? Yeah it’s pretty unusual but the result of it is simply… fascinating!

So how do you fit it inside? Let’s make a comparison between the 7 beats phrase and the usual 8 beats phrase.

8 beats: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8|

7 beats: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 | 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 | 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 | 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 |

So this 7 beats phrase only comes to a completion when beat 7 ends on the 8th beat of the bar. Using common factor in mathematics, that means after 56 beats!

I was quite amazed to find this technique in a song by Hillsong London titled, “Lord of All”.

Try listening from 6:32 to 7:20 and see if you can identify this 7 beats over 8 beats musical feature. If you can find it and count it, you will discover that they completed the cycle and repeated another time.

So this feature was invented by George Gershwin (based on my limited musical knowledge). He used it in this song “Fascinating Rhythm” for his musical “Lady Be Good”.

Listen from 0:36 to 0:47 and you will find the 7 beats over 8 beats feature too. However, Gershwin cut short the cycle and just ended it by adding extra 2 beats.

So it goes like this: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 | 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 | 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 |

Well it works too. Really applaud Gershwin for his musical talent in creating such whacky rhythm. Awesome.

I really love finding similarities between music of the past and music of the present. Though they are almost a hundred or a few hundred years apart, the elements in it still remains. Before this, I ever posted another comparison between a current piece and a baroque piece. Check it out over here: Imma Shine

More fascinating discoveries to come!

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