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 Post subject: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:23 am 
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With all the odd timings FZ sticks in to a lot of tunes, I'll regularly let some tunes wash over me and think 'I enjoyed that', oblivious to the actual 'rhythm'.
I reckon I over-think it occasionally - echidnas arf for example. For years, I 'heard' the bit from 1.06 to 1.22 as some obscure (e.g. 5/8-7/8) beat, then a year or so back I 'heard' it as a sort of 3/4 boogie beat. Now I can't even remember how I used to hear it.
well, there you go... :roll:
TT

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:58 am 
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I remember eons ago, I was playing Toads of the Short Forest for a friend who was a jazz guitarist. He was my in his 20s as I was, but much more jazz oriented. This part came on:

FZ: At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his notes.

I thought it was awesome that FZ was playing around with combinations of time signatures, but my friend's concern was "Where was the One?". Not to be funky with the One like Parliament, but just a general concern that the group would rarely hit the one and be "together". He calculated off the top of his head that it was around every 70 measure or so, but right now I'm not sure if measures would be the correct unit... lessee, now off the top of my head I'm thinking that it only matters in terms of 8th notes...

5 x 6 x 7 = 210 8th notes... so the band would meet up every 210 8th notes?
As a result, 210 / 5... the organ would meet them for every 42 of his measures
210 / 6... the 3/4 players would meet everyone for every 35 of his measures
210 / 7... the drummer A would meet everyone for every 30 of his measures

Anyone wanna confirm that for me, I'm way outta practice! :)

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:54 am 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
...FZ: At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his notes.

I don't know beans about timing....but, I'm positive Frank says "...and the alto sax blowing his nose."

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:57 am 
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There's one moment I especially love at the end of Big Swifty, when the band is playing a series of half note triplets, but then inserted near the end of the run is a bar of 5 notes over 4 beats. Killer!

Oh, and the end of Black Page with the end run grouped in 11's!

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:00 am 
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just plain doug wrote:
The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
...FZ: At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his notes.

I don't know beans about timing....but, I'm positive Frank says "...and the alto sax blowing his nose."


I've always thought the same thing. Same with the Rolling Stones, "she blew my notes and then she blew my mind", haha

I generally gotta defer to donlope though...

http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/lyrics/Weasels_Ripped_My_Flesh.html#Toads

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:13 am 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
just plain doug wrote:
The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
...FZ: At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his notes.

I don't know beans about timing....but, I'm positive Frank says "...and the alto sax blowing his nose."


I've always thought the same thing. Same with the Rolling Stones, "she blew my notes and then she blew my mind", haha

I generally gotta defer to donlope though...

http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/lyrics/Weasels_Ripped_My_Flesh.html#Toads

Fair enough. I'll stick with Kill Ugly Radio (mostly 'cause they agree with me. :mrgreen: )
http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/Toad ... ort_Forest

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:23 am 
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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:13 am 
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Well whaddaya know... I always thought he said he was blowing his nose too. Kinda sounds like it.

Another aspect of Zappa's interesting approach to timing is how he would often shoehorn an odd number of evenly spaced notes into a single beat, so that besides the usual 16th notes and 8th notes, triplets, etc, you'd have 5 or 7 notes within a single beat. All the while, the actual meter of the song could be in something normal like 3/4 or 4/4, but it sounds much more rhythmically complicated than that because he subdivides each of his beats in unusual ways. wish I could think of an example off the top of my head. I guess "Black Page" might qualify, or "Sinister Footwear".

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:25 pm 
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feetlightup wrote:
Well whaddaya know... I always thought he said he was blowing his nose too. Kinda sounds like it.

Another aspect of Zappa's interesting approach to timing is how he would often shoehorn an odd number of evenly spaced notes into a single beat, so that besides the usual 16th notes and 8th notes, triplets, etc, you'd have 5 or 7 notes within a single beat. All the while, the actual meter of the song could be in something normal like 3/4 or 4/4, but it sounds much more rhythmically complicated than that because he subdivides each of his beats in unusual ways. wish I could think of an example off the top of my head. I guess "Black Page" might qualify, or "Sinister Footwear".


I'm not sure about this but I have a feeling Mats and Morgan do this a lot. Morgan loves to subdivide the shit out of even 1/4 notes with his feet alone... and god knows what else he is doing - he's so good I cant follow him. Being a damn drummer doesnt help either! Aliens!

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:16 pm 
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Quoting FZ in Toads of the Short Forest, The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his notes.
Reminiscing, The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
I remember eons ago, I was playing [the above] for a friend who was a jazz guitarist. ... [his] concern was "Where was the One?" ... that the group would rarely hit the one and be "together". He calculated off the top of his head that it was around every 70 measure or so ...
A jazz musician, it just goes to show. :roll: :wink:

Surmising, The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
... but right now I'm not sure if measures would be the correct unit... lessee, now off the top of my head I'm thinking that it only matters in terms of 8th notes...
Correct, because there are three different measures, there are three ways to determine when it happens, whereas one eighth note is the common factor.

Calculating, The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
5 x 6 x 7 = 210 8th notes... so the band would meet up every 210 8th notes?
Correct, 210 is the lowest common multiple because the three numbers are relatively prime. So the resulting actual measure is 210/8 or 105/4.

On a roll, The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
As a result, 210 / 5... the organ would meet them for every 42 of his measures
210 / 6... the 3/4 players would meet everyone for every 35 of his measures
210 / 7... the drummer A would meet everyone for every 30 of his measures ...
None of these are close to 70. Your jazz friend's calculation definitely smells funny. :mrgreen:

Anyway, even though these calculations are correct, these guys are not just playing different time signatures, they're also playing different tempos.

The 7/8 is really almost 7/16 compared to the 3/4. Try just listening to the slow 3/4 beats, which are around 120 bpm, then doubling those, which should be eighths of 240 bpm. What you get is much slower than the beats of the 7/8 which is playing it's eighths almost twice as fast.

The 7/8 is played with three accented beats per bar, so the first two are quarters and the last is three eighths (ONE two ONE two ONE two three, ONE two ONE two ONE two three, etc). Those quarters are around 200 bpm which is a little slower than half of the 3/4 beats.

I can't quite make out the 5/8 after the 7/8 starts, but the second drummer is playing it before he launches into the 7/8 and that does seem to be almost the same eighths as the first drummer.

I've tested these rhythm tracks together by programming them myself in my studio, so I'm pretty sure what's going on there and I might get around to putting some mp3s together to demonstrate if anyone's interested. So what FZ wanted and what he was getting with the original Mothers ...

As for the "notes" versus "nose" thing. Saxophone players blow their notes, that's how they play, so that's not a remarkable thing to say, whereas, saying the alto sax is blowing his nose is funny given the sounds that it's making. I'm sure he's saying "nose" there and the only reason it sounds a little like "notes" is because he huffs out a little laugh as he says the word.

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Last edited by polydigm on Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:58 pm 
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There is a bit of a conceptual continuity between two live performances. On the Weasels extract FZ says Ian's "blowing his nose" with his alto sax solo. Then fast forward four years from the original MOI to the JLP Mothers, the 1973/03/11 improvisation features FZ capping off his "Imaginary Diseases" lecture with making the band play "virus music", designating all sorts of roles for the instruments that would imply "virus" (e.g. "hard sticks on the upper register marimba at the same time as low-register trombone"), and the alto sax gets to play a solo on top of it. Oh yeah, the whole thing was in 5/8. FZ must've thought there's a particularly "virus" like quality to the alto sax as a soloing instrument, hence blowing "the nose".

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:59 pm 
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Do you think yo honza really works with 5/8 drums over 6/8 guitars?
I always thought the drum rhythm was a little too basic anyhow.
TT

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:12 am 
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guys, i don't know which timing is the funniest.


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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:16 am 
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Thanks for the info polydigm! :)

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:58 pm 
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The Dog Breath Variations has got a funny timing too.


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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:29 pm 
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The core time signature of Ya Hozna is 3/4.

The repeating rhythm of the guitar pattern, based on one bar of three groups of sixteenth notes is

1 0 1 1 - 1 1 0 0 - 1 1 1 1

And for the bass guitar it's

1 0 0 1 - 0 1 0 1 - 1 0 1 0

The drum pattern is very tricky and I'm still working on that.

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:59 am 
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I'm certain that the 3/4 and 7/8 drums on Toads works together as i have alternately played those parts with another drummer. But i think like Poly says, the 3/4 beat is half the speed - 4 beats per bar rather than 8.
One of my favourites that he used throughout was the 5/8, which Tripp demonstrates on the interviews for the dvd The Mothers in the 1960s or whatever it was called.
The section that blows my bollox off his in Little House - the section after the first drum fill by Tripp (take the Burnt Weeny version)

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 Post subject: Re: funny timings
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:17 pm 
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I think the piece sounds good as it was performed, but that could just be familiarity, but the 7/8 is definitely not just a twice as fast tempo.

First I programmed a 3/4 drum track and 7/8 drum track together, both with a tempo of crotchet = 120 bpm and the 7/8 track sounded way too slow. That's a quaver speed of 240 bpm.

Then I programmed a 3/4 drum and 7/16 drum track together, both with a quaver tempo of 240 bpm and the 7/16 track sounded too fast.

Finally, I time stretched the 7/16 track until it matched the tempo in the piece and I came up with a factor of 1.23, which is a quaver speed of about 195.

The bass player syncopating the third beat of the 3/4 complicates hearing what's going on a little.

x (1) x _ _ _ (2) x x _ x (3) _ _ _ x (1) x _ _ _ (2) x x _ x (3) _ _ _

The fact that there are different tempos as well as different time signatures lends to the overall chaotic feel and is actually a large part of its charm.

I can now hear what the keyboard player is doing, it's a very grungy sound that blends in with the sax snorts and is definitely 5/8 early on before the 7/8 drumming starts, but he doesn't keep it up and very quickly joins in to the melee of the sax player.

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