p.116 Make Ready Peter Maybury ISBN 978 0 9566293 3 3, Gall editions, 2015
Time signatures aren’t widely explored in western popular music. They got an outing in the seventies, but these days it’s mostly common time or four-on-the-floor. The reasons are obvious: the heartbeat, the dancefloor, keeping focus on the tune. Sometimes though, uneven numbers prove more efficient. Perhaps the best known example is Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill, in 7/4. When you listen to it you understand the economy of the decision: the melody line is delivered in seven beats; an eighth, were it there, would be dead-air: an energy loss. These days quite a lot of Thread Pulls material develops in less common time signatures. We play in 9/8 and 3/4 (as well as standard 4/4), and we’ve titled one of our songs 5/8 rhythm here. Despite this, the pulse is always clear, and surprisingly, it makes people dance. We seem to have arrived at these odd metres in striving for efficiency. With only two in the band, every note needs to count. That makes me think more closely about each sound I make: does it add to, or subtract from the total energy of the song. Shifting the pulse adds a thought: it takes what is already there and makes a more complex sound.