Talk:Not In 4-4 Time

From This Might Be A Wiki

6-11-04: I, personally, don't exactly like this as a theme. It doesn't seem to fit in with the other themes. I was looking at it, and it seems a few of the songs actually seem to be in 4-4 time. Maybe some songs have a part that's different that I didn't catch, or something like that, but that would make this an ambiguous thing. Also, you can't really tell the difference between 3-2 and 3-4, or between 6-4 and 6-8, because the only difference is whether you have a quarter note instead of a half note, or vice versa, etc. The only thing that I can think of that would tell you this would be sheet music for all the TMBG songs ever written. (I haven't been able to find TMBG sheet music anywhere; if you have, I would really like to know where I can get some.) Even if you did have sheet music, I personally think it would be kind of pointless to have this as a theme. What do the rest of you Wikians think? My suggestion is take this off the Song Themes page, and take it off all the songs' categories, but still keep this as a page. Add your thoughts below. --My Evil Twin's Twin

6-11-04 Veloso: I have to disagree with you. I like this theme a lot. We already have other Song Themes about the qualities of the music itself: Falsetto, Synthesized Voice, Instrumentals, and Songs With Samples. This new theme fits in with them just fine. This does raise the interesting point that not all song categories are thematic in nature. Really all of the stuff after "Misc. Stuff" at the bottom of the Song Themes aren't really song themes, but they _are_ interesting categories that belong _somewhere_. Whether they get moved or not, I think the backlinks from the song pages to the category pages should remain. (This probably means that Falsetto and Not In 4-4 Time belong under Misc. Stuff as well.) I suspect if this page were called something like Odd Time Signatures instead, it would have passed with less notice.
7-07-04: I like this theme a lot, but BECAUSE it doesn't fit in. And I would like to correct you, My Evil Twin's Twin, on the issue of 6/4 being the same as 6/8 except that it's a quarter note instead of an eigth note. Though they both have six counts, 6/8 is a ONE two three FOUR five six, with accents on one and four, whereas a 6/4 beat would be more of a ONE to three four five six, with an accent only on the beginning of the measure. There is also a difference between 3/2 and 3/4 similar to the difference between 6/8 and 6/4. 3/2 is more of a ONE-and-TWO-and-THREE-and, but 3/4 is a ONE-two-three (or sometimes one-TWO-THREE, and also about a bazillion other accenting patterns depending on cross rhythms, which I will cover in the next bit talking, after the parentheses are over; people like to mess with 3/4). Despite this difference, if you were a composer, writing a piece in 6/8, and there were a few measures that went "ONE two three four five six" (with no accent on four), you would not divide the tempo by two and make a few measures in 6/4, because it's a waste of time, paper space, and it's simply confusing to the reader (of the music). This is what's called a cross-rhythm.

6-29-04: There is indeed something funky going on with the time signature in Stalk of Wheat. I do think it's definitely in two, since it just doesn't change in a four-four pattern. However, I noticed while counting the song out that the tuba line reverses from high-low to low-high around the sixth measure, which always throws off my counting. I imagine there's a beat that's being held a little over somewhere in there. Also, the piece doesn't seem to move in the usual four or eight-bar pattern. Rather, there's a big change at the twelfth bar, like a blues. As well, the second verse starts on the thirtieth bar. Someone with a better grasp of music theory could probably help out on this one.

7-21-04 RabbiVole: The thing you're noticing in Stalk Of Wheat is probably the extra measure. The first two phrases of each verse have nine bars. The next two phrases, about expired ducks and thwarted moose, are both six-bar phrases. The rest of the song is in eight-bar phrases. I've charted out the irregular phrases below--a capital letter means a beat falls on that syllable, and a slash means a beat falls where there is no syllable. (To avoid making it look like every pronoun "I" indicates a beat, "I" is written as "i" unless it falls on a beat.) The things that look like arithmetic problems tell how many beats are in the above line and how those beats are grouped together.
i Went for a Walk on a Stalk, on a Stalk of Wheat, and it Felt like a Trillion Feet /
(2+1+2) + (2+2)
i was Looking for a Friend at the End, at the End of the Line, and it Took me till the End of Time /
(2+1+2) + (2+2)
i was All out of Luck like a Duck, like a Duck that Died /
i was All out of Juice like a Moose, like a Moose deNied /
And so forth. While it's true that the song messes around with its meter, it's definitely in 2/4. Incidentally, it's quite common for TMBG's music to set up and then mess with our phrasing expectations, much as they do with rhyme schemes. For example, They'll Need A Crane, Whistling In The Dark, and Particle Man all have some phrases that fall short of the expected four (or eight) bars; the verses of Mr. Me feature 11-bar phrases (broken into 4+4+3); and Bangs, Birdhouse In Your Soul, Thermostat, and Lucky Ball & Chain all add extra beats onto the ends of some of their phrases. I'm sure there are others; those are just the ones I remember at the moment.
Hmm. Maybe we should start a separate page for songs with unusual phrase lengths.

1-21-05: I think that there are no 5 beat measures in the verse of Women and Men, but alternating 7-4 and 6-4 bars. I'll try and explain. It starts on an upbeat so that's why it's not there.

  Ship runs out of ocean  and the vessel runs a-ground
  1         2      3    4         5      6      7
  Land's where we know the boat is found, but there's
  1      2        3        4       5      6
  Nothing unex-pected  'bout the water giving out
  1       2    3     4           5     6      7
  Land's not a word we have to shout, but there's
  1      2     3       4       5      6

3-03-05: Good point about Women & Men. I never looked at it that way before. I always just figured it was 4-4-5 rather than 7-6. either way, it's not in 4/4, and there's an extra beat.

While we're at it, I'm also wondering about a few other possible changes:

I would just change them, what with this being a wiki and all, but I figured some discussion first might be a good idea. :) --Zaph 16:52, 3 Mar 2005 (EST)

8-11-05: The article indicated that if I followed the link to Wikipedia's article on Time Measure, then I would see a reference to "Hello Radio". I can't find any such reference on Wikipedia; should this reference be removed and replaced with an actual explanation about Hello Radio's measure? --IQpierce

7-03-6: I'm quite fond of this page and do enjoy browsing it. But one thing I can't get out of my head: is I'll Sink Manhattan truly in 6/8? The rhythm behind the verses clearly suggests so, but it seems to fit so naturally in 4/4. --Wetreplies

7-13-06: Yes, I'll Sink Manhattan is definitely in 6/8:

1 2 3    4  5 6  1  2  3  4  5  6   1  2  3  4  5  6
    I'll sink Manhattan
1 2 3     4 5   6   1  2  3  4  5  6   1  2  3  4  5  6
    Right under the sea
1 2 3    4  5 6   1 2 3    4 5  6....
    I'll find the sweetest spot to....

You could always write it in 2/4 with triplets, but it's pretty unusual for the drums to play triplets as opposed to eighth notes, especially since the hi-hat is playing 16th notes between the second and third eighths:

1   2 & 3   4   5   6

However, I am wondering why we have a section for 'Really 4/4 But could easily be mistaken'. It's not really relevant to this page, which is for songs that specifically are or have sections not in 4/4. And more, why Please Pass The Milk is in that section, since it's extremely clear that it's in 2/4:

1      2        1    2      1    2
Please pass the milk please

or 2/2:

1  2   1    2   1  2 1  2   1 2  1 2
Please pass the milk please


8-12-06: After looking in depth at these songs, it would seem as though you are very, very right. As the user who added Please Pass The Milk I'm now removing it from the page. It makes a lot more sense in two, since it completes a full eight bar cycle instead of just four. --Wetreplies

my most recent edit[edit]

I've split the 3/4 from 6/8, but I only moved out the songs I definitely knew were in 3/4. I'm sure there are others in that list of 6/8 songs that belong in 3/4, but I (or someone else) have to go back and listen to them to get a sense of the beat. I've also added section headers to make editing the page easier, so rather than having to dig around the edit box for the section you need, you can edit just that one.

Also, I hate to bring it up again, because it's already been discussed, but does the page really need a 'Really 4/4 but could easily be mistaken' category? The page is 'Not in 4/4 Time', which seems to me to imply that it's song we definitely know aren't in 4/4. Zaph 23:52, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


I think this might have some 10/4 or 10/8 in the verses and chorus. I'm almost certain that the song belongs in this list, though. User: Mr. 77

Some changes and theories[edit]

I've made a few more changes, like removing The Statue Got Me High, since it's in 4/4 and maybe a little 2/4 at times, but definitely no 3's or 6's.

I also moved a few things around that I think are probably correct. Those I've moved to cut time are pretty much too fast to be played (or, more importantly when discussing time signature, conducted) in 2/4. Not that I expect anyone to be conducting Stomp Box any time soon, but hey, you never know.

A lot of times you can tell by the count off at shows or in Stomp Box's case, on the album itself. It's very clearly in 2/2. As far as count offs at shows, that's why I moved Pencil Rain to 12/8. 12/8 is 6 beats against 4, while 6/8 is 3 against 2. The stresses in Pencil Rain would only be every other measure in 6/8, as opposed to the usual 1 and 4. And since at a recent performance, Marty counted 1-2-3-4 before going into the intro, which implies 12/8 (since it's obviously not in 4/4).

But really, I think we should remove the 2/4 and 2/2 sections entirely. They aren't really in the spirit of 'Not In 4-4 Time', since they're still pretty regular and awfully common. We really should reserve this page for time signatures that are multiples of some number other than 2.

musical theory (or music in general, really) has never been my thing, so i can't weigh in properly on any of this EXCEPT that i don't see the point in removing 2/4 and cut time: even though they're common, they're still not the traditional 4/4, and moreover, there don't seem to be so many examples of either in TMBG's whole repertoire, so i think they're still worth pointing out (especially for people like me who can barely tell what time signature a song is even if they're told). -Apollo (colloquia!) 21:51, 28 November 2011 (EST)

Dig My Grave?[edit]

Is Dig My Grave not cut-time? At least the chorus seems so. Hmmmm. --Jaydn* (talk) 21:08, 7 April 2013 (EDT)

A Shooting Star Is Not A Star[edit]

A Shooting Star Is Not A Star doesn't sound 12/8 to me, I could be wrong though. —The thing Talk 15:19, 18 May 2017 (EDT)