String Quartet #1.3, Singing without Rhythm…explained

Almost all popular music depends on a very simple rhythm feel. Over 90% (OK, I made that up, but prove me wrong!) is in 4/4 time — groups of four beats with a specific repeated pattern. (The second “4” in “4/4″has to do with the use of quarter notes — not important here). Traditionally, each pattern starts with an emphasized beat, though “back-beat” rock and roll emphasizes beats 2 and 4 in the pattern. But the pattern is repeated, almost without variation, through the entire song.

Although 3/4 time isn’t uncommon, other patterns are extremely rare. This movement is in 5/4 time. The theme from “Mission: Impossible” TV show is an example of 5/4 time (click here to listen on YouTube). It emphasizes the first and 4th beat, but is odd in that the 1st three beats are split into two.

But no matter — my choice of 5/4 in this slow and tuneful movement was to consciously get rid of the whole “rhythmic pattern” concept altogether. One can, if you listen closely, find some patterns 5/4 might imply, but they aren’t important. My goal was to attempt to create a stream that focuses on melody and harmony. Since most people experience music at an emotional level, here I’m exploring the possibility of an emotional response without popular music’s rhythmic methods through simple and repeated patterns. You’ll have to tell me how well I did with this experiment, by listening here.

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