Saturday, July 20, 2019

David Bennett explains the usefulness of 5/4 time or extra beats in popular music


David Bennett Piano, a British piano instructor and YouTuber, explains rhythm and syncopation and the use of occasional 5/4 in popular music, as with “Don’t let me down”.


It is common for modern composers to change meters often, particularly with quintuple meters.  An extra beat gives a melody or passage a sense of additional pulse. But Bennett explains that it is really 4/4 + ¼.  I don’t know if Sibelius allows a unary measure.  I think the Shostakovich Symphony #8 scherzo has an example of that.

5/4 wasn’t well known until Tchaikovsky showed how effective and natural it can sound with the second movement of his Pathetique Symhony #6,

Bennett then discusses 5/8 time in coordination with 4/4 in a song mocking nuclear war.
   
I remember some of these songs from the car radio in my coming of ages days in the 1970s.

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