Axe of Creation: At Odd and Unpredictable Times (Part 3)…


What’s going on everybody!? Welcome for another installment of Axe of Creation here at Gear Snobs. Throughout the month of February, we will be taking a look at some Odd Time basics. In this, our third part, we will begin to put our counting skills to the test by starting to combine Multiple Meters!

Simple Addition

We won’t be going through different permutations as we combine different meters, that’s what Part I and Part II were for. So let’s jump in and combine what we’ve learned; 5/8 and 7/8.  As you can see by the rhythm below that we have started each measure with a group of three. Hopefully, you can see that the only change between the two meters (measures) is the two extra eighth notes at the end of the second measure; giving us “3 +2” and “3+2+2”. I really want you to “feel” that accent pattern while you clap and count.


Let’s put some notes into this rhythm, keeping it easy with simple sus2 and power chord shapes. The harmony is simple as well, essentially a G-F-C progression. More importantly, take notice of the “Ties” and this does exactly what it sounds like. It “ties” two notes together creating a long note, the second or tied note is NOT played. The first Tie occurs on the last note of the first measure on the note F. This ties over the bar, masking or hiding the downbeat of the 7/8 measure. Great composition technique of blurring the sense of time. feb_oddtime_mm_2

We Must Have MOAR!!!

Now let’s have some fun! We’re going to create a three measure idea that shifts from 7 to 6 to 5. Again, I want to emphasize that we are using this idea to create a phrase based on the accents pattern we give it. We should be able to “feel” or internalize these rhythms. If you count each group (of two or three) while clapping the accented note (first note of each grouping, with the little greater than symbol), that should help illuminate the phrase and rhythm. You’ll see this put to work in the next example. 


Harmony in Rhythm

Now let’s put this rhythm to work. As mentioned above, we will be placing long notes at the start of each group (of two or three). Rather than a continuous eighth note flow, we’ve placed Quarter notes and Dotted Quarter notes to really emphasize the accent pattern we’ve started with. This accent pattern becomes our motif. For those clever enough, you might have noticed that 7 + 6 +5 equals 18, which is a nice even number. SO, we can look at this as being 9/4, setting in our rhythm in juxtaposition against 4.


Some of these chords might be new to many of us. I find that we (guitarists) tend to be a little lacking when it comes to top string voicings, so I’m hopeful that at least one of these chords will be internalized (and enjoyed). The harmony here is pretty simple. Most centered about Bm. Notice how F# and D are both chord tones of Bm, we can step up or down to chord tones and build (new) chords, hinting at inversions and root harmony.

Till Next Week

Well, that wraps up part three of our odd adventures! Hopefully, you now have a deeper understanding of how to count and combine Multiple Meters. Creating accent pattern that can easily be exploited. Next week we will wrap out our journey in Odd Time by introducing some Polymetric concepts. Got questions, feel free to contact me or leave your question in the comments below! Thanks so much and as always, let me know what you come up with!


Gregory Arthur is Axe of Creation, a Gear Snob, and a Father of Two. He challenges you to become uncomfortable with yourself in attempts to gain a new perspective. Never give your energy away to what you’re not. Focus on what resonates within you and bring forth in creation. 

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