What tunes do you play in an Odd Meter?

(14 posts)
  1. silverwater

    Hey all -

    I'm looking for some more/interesting tunes to play in odd time signatures, and am lucky enough to have a couple guys that are interested in meeting up to work on this kind of stuff.

    I've been into playing tunes 5/4 lately: Afro Blue, Straight No Chaser, and Alone Together. Alone Together in 5 can be really cool I think; at a decent tempo the melody feels like it's about to go off a cliff at any second, but manages to hang on (hopefully!)

    Anyways, I'm interested in hearing what tunes you think work in odd meters. Thanks!

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  2. Giant Steps in 7.

  3. Colonel Trane

    Good topic, I've been interested in this kinda thing lately, particularly after seeing Dave Holland's quintet. How do you guys approach putting a standard, the melody particular in an odd time? Do you just feel it out or work it out on a piece of paper or something. Interested in hearing your thoughts.

  4. I love all the things you are in 7 (a la meldauh) and Stella in 7 (a la kreisberg)
    as far as making a melody work in odd meter, my advice would be to shorten the long notes first, and anticipate the harmony if you have to, but never lag behind the harmony!

  5. arewolfe

    Not that 3 is really odd, since it's so common, but a lot of melodies can easily be interpreted in 3/4. My Romance works nicely. Bill Evans version of Tenderly in 3 is gorgeous.

  6. Quintricacy

    In our rhythm studies class in college we had to play some odd meter standards. Mr.Pc in 7/8, Someday My Prince will come in 9/8 ( This is a cool one because if you subdivide the 9 into 3 and then start a 4 over three modulation, you can play in lots of different feels), Bye Bye Blackbird in 5/8 and then we did an original composition by Ronan Guilfoyle in 11/8. You can play any standard in any meter.

    You can get a free CD of an album of all odd meter standards by the Guilfoyle/Nielsen Trio which features Mike Nielsen on Guitar, Ronan Guilfoyle on bass and Conor Guilfoyle on drums. It's a killer CD from some of the top musicians in Ireland. Mike was my first guitar teacher and Ronan and Conor are my dad and uncle respectively.

  7. silverwater

    @Colonel Trane: I've never written it out, but I do work out where to place the rhythms in my head. (I just find writing it out to be redundant since I'll probably never look at the sheet again after I've committed it to memory).

    Some people have called standards in odd times at sessions where I'd be playing the melody, and they've told me to "just feel it out". That means either that they've played with someone who could do that, or they just really want to play the tune and damn everyone else. Either way, I know I want to work out the melody beforehand before playing it with people.

  8. blue_note

    Speaking of playing in 5/4, "Theme for Maxine" by Woody Shaw has some good phrasing when arranged for 5. Though, I have been having a hard time trying to make some concrete ideas since the changes are quite atypical. It probably doesn't help that I am very new at jazz right now, but with time...

  9. gleepglop

    Giant Steps works well in 5, too. Moment's Notice fits in 7 easily. Blues for Alice and Confirmation work in 7 too.
    Really the sky's the limit.

  10. silverwater

    I've been playing Solar in 11/8 - The feel is kind of like 4/4 + 3/8...playing one "original" bar in 4/4 and the next one in 3/8.

    All together the 12 bar tune becomes 6 bars of 11/8.

    Stuffing a whole bar of the melody into a bar of 3/8 makes it pretty funny sounding (but still hip I think!)

  11. timwendel

    26-2 in five is pretty fun. It's almost a little easier since you have a bit more time on the first chord of each measure.

  12. nelson veras playing donna lee in 5 with a metronome... i guess any tune any meter with this method. this series of clips was posted in another thread. i like how his face and overall vibe is so low key, he makes it seem like it's no mystical thing, it's just some notes and how to work on things.very refreshing and badass.
    it starts around the 3 minute area:

  13. Quintricacy

    26-2 in 15 is good fun aswell, but quite hard.


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