Basslessons.be » Lessons » Odd meters
Odd meters
The most common meter in (Western) music is 4/4.
The denominator tells you that every beat has a value of a quarter note. The numerator, in this case also 4, tells you how many quarter notes there are in a measure.

So, there are 4 quarter notes per measure in 4/4.

4/4 meter

 

Example

  • Play the movie. Listen to the drums and tap your foot. This is the tempo or the beat of this song. Every tap is a beat, a quarter note.
  • Now listen to the other instruments. You will notice that ‘something’ changes every 4 beats. In this case the chord and bass note.
  • Download the backing track loop without bass.

4/4 meter

 


 

The next example also has a quarter note subdivision. Only this time it's not 4/4.

 

  • Play the movie. Listen to the drums and tap your foot. This is the tempo or beat of the song. Every tap is a quarter note.
  • Now listen to the other instruments. This time you'll notice ‘something ’ changing every 5 beats. Again it's the bass note and the chord. This song is in 5/4.
  • Download the backing track loop without bass.

5/4 meter

 


 

Follow the same steps in the next example.

 

  • You'll notice that, after a while, the beats no longer correspond to the tapping of your foot, but some time later it matches again. It looks like we're dealing with half beats somewhere in this song.
  • In time signatures with full beats we use a 4 in the denominator. Since we are dealing with half beats, we'll divide the denominator by 2. 1/4 divided by 2 is 1/8. When searching for the numerator, we will have to adjust our way of counting. Instead of tapping every quarter note, we'll tap on every eighth note.
  • Download the backing track loop without bass.

7/8 meter

 


 

A few examples of songs with odd meters

Pink Floyd - Money

 

Seal - Dreaming in Metaphors

 

Tool - Schism