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This song of mine, in three-quarters time.

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Just got back from a couple days in the Finger Lakes.

I did a lot of driving, which tends to lend itself to a lot of pop-geek thinking.

I went on one mental jag while I was driving that the fellow geeks in the crowd are welcome to weigh in on:

Name songs whose titles include some reference to their compositional construction.

Let me give you the examples I came up with (mostly from memory; a few from Googling), and you’ll see what I mean:

Apocalypse in 9/8,” Genesis. It is, indeed, in a 9/8 time signature.

12/8 Blues,” from the Stills-Young Band’s only album. Again, the title refers to the time.

“5/4” by Gorillaz is named for its time signature.

So is “7/4 (Shoreline),” by Broken Social Scene.

The Eleven,” by the Grateful Dead, is in either 11/4 or 11/8 time — I am not enough of a musicologist to know which.

Similarly, “The Main Ten” — a song that’s sort of the musical ancestor of the Dead’s “Playing In The Band” — is in what I’m guessing to be 10/8 time, and appears on Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s solo album Rolling Thunder.

If we’re counting generic, non-specific titular references to time signature, Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” would have to make the list … as for that matter would Pink Floyd’s “Free Four.”

Jimmy Buffett, meanwhile, has an album titled Living and Dying In 3/4 Time, but I am blissfully unaware of whether he has a song by that name as well, and intend to stay that way.

The lazy or less-than-inspired songwriter can also name his song after the key it’s in, like Bob Dylan’s “Ballad in Plain D” or the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Mellowship Slinky in  B Major.” (I tend to imagine this as a sort of folkie-troubador thing to do, but I have no examples to support that.)

The Jefferson Airplane’s “D.C.B.A.-25,” from Surrealistic Pillow, takes its name from some of its chord changes.

And finally there is Genesis’ “Abacab,” which was named for its musical structure during rehearsals, as explained here.

If anyone can think of any others, y’all know where the Comments are.

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5 responses »

  1. I just checked and AC/DC has no titular endeavor.

    Reply
    • No … but Angus has said that one of their earliest songs (“T.N.T.,” I think) was written as a conscious effort to build a song around the chords A-C-D-C.

      Reply
  2. Cream’s “Badge” is supposedly named for its opening chords: B-A-D-G-E.

    Reply
  3. victorvector

    Daryl Hall had “Something in 4/4 Time” (not sure if it is, though)

    Reply
    • I was not familiar with it; had to go YouTube it. Sounds like most of it is in 4/4 time except for the Fripp solo in the middle.

      I like the song; thanks for tipping me off to it.

      Reply

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