All Rock in 4/4 Timing?

A slight variation on our lessons today. Often we think that 4/4 timing is the solid base for a really great rock song. Sure, progressive rock bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Tool, Yes, and Rush have made rock stardom through their eclectic timing. But what about more mainstream bands? Any chart success there with songs that aren't in standard (IE: 4/4) timing.

Well, consider a few examples:

INXS - Never Tear Us Apart (12/8), SOUNDGARDEN - Fell on Black Days (6/4), PINK FLOYD - Money (7/4), RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - Breaking the Girl (3/4), CREAM - White Room (intro/breaks) (5/4). Even JIMI HENDRIX - Little Wing throws in a bar or two of (2/4).

Some other songs get what may seem a little random at face value when it comes to timing are the COMMODORES - Easy (covered by FAITH NO MORE) which has a whole bunch of alternate timing stabs and the BEATLES - Blackbird which meanders in timing structure.

So, what's that got to do with your playing? Basically, don't be afraid to experiment. Chances are (having not actually read through scores of interviews about their songwriting process) the artists above played something that came natural, felt great and sounded good. There's a lot more soul to a song that flows naturally even in an uncommon timing. And, as the sample of artists above have shown there's a place for the uncommon even in chart topping music.

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