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The Songwriters’ Collective’s second offering of 2016 is ‘Odd Time Signature’ month. Some have been braver than others but stepping out of the conventional 4/4 was the aim.


1. Cocky
Stephen Clarke
A song in 3/4 is a departure for me. I even brush my teeth in 4/4. Apart from the Blue Danube and Joe Cocker's cover of With a Little Help, I usually think 3/4 is a bit gloomy, hence the negative theme of this song. The second line of the chorus, by the way, is "you'll never get even, you'll only get mad" (it sounds a bit like "bad").
One thing that was fun with 3/4, I found, was combining the lilting rhythm with moody pass patterns and then breaking it up at the end with distorted guitar. Not sure Johann Strauss would approve.

1. Stephen C Cocky V3






2. The Boy Who Never Was
Christian Duffin
This is mostly two acoustic guitars and a piano, and I think it's in 6/8. I'm afraid it's a sad lyric, about a couple who experience a miscarriage and who are imagining which of their features or character traits the boy might have had. It could have been a girl of course, but the words didn't seem to fit quite as well. I'll try to do something a bit cheerier for next month.
2. Christian D The Boy Who Never Was MP3





3. Choice (Slave)
Tim Warner
This was much harder than I thought I really needed to concentrate, especially on the bass which is always a struggle. I’ve kept it short hoping I get points for not labouring the point, on the other hand, it may not be long enough to soak in the time/rhythm.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a video of Nat King Cole sing. I love to hear him but watching him is difficult. He just seems to come in so late on every line, it turns it into an ‘edge of the seat’ experience which, given the laid-back nature of the material, is quite an achievement. I tried to do something similar by simply adding an extra beat to every bar.
3. Tim W choice (slave)





4. 7 Days
Rob Warner
Ever the deadline junkie, I started work on this on Saturday 30th and finished it on the night of my 50th birthday (Sunday 31st.) I knew it would either be a ⅝ or ⅞ song but didn’t really have a tune or chords (or lyrics!) So I sat at the piano for a while and came up with a very simple chord structure and decided to not bother with a chorus but merely have a guitar refrain. It was going to stay as just an ‘a’ part and a ‘b’ part but then the middle 8 just sort of happened. I apologise if the bass is a bit ‘up there’ in the mix. It’s my new Fender Jazz Bass and I wanted it heard!!

The ‘7 Days’ lyric was inspired by the ⅞ time signature and deals with people’s obsession with anniversaries or knowing what we’re doing in a week or having seven years of bad luck after breaking a mirror etc etc. And in the end, we will ALL have 7 days to live...we will just never know when the countdown begins.
4. Rob W 7 days



5. Head in the Sand
Phil Sanderson
For the first time since SWC started I've returned to a previously unfinished track ( from instrumental month).  Two of the sections of the  song are in successive bars of 5,3,5 beats and another( the sort of chorus ) comes out as 3,2,3,5,5. ( and there are bits in good old 4/4 time, too!) When I wrote the ideas way back in July it was with no intention of writing a song with a weird time signature, it just sort of happened, which is usually a good thing in my book.
The bass, drums and occasional keyboard sounds are all programmed, leaving the many guitar parts and vocals as 'live' recordings. As for the lyrics.. there are so many half versions of this in my songbook that it's ended up quite difficult to settle on one set and I'm not sure if I've chosen well...

5 PhilS head in the sand v2



6. Rhythm of Life
Tim & Glyn
I confidently predict that if the rhythm of life turns out to be 15/16 then we're all doomed! I was aiming to push us both musically with this choice of rhythm but not intending to push us both to breaking point. There were several points where I nearly turned to 3/4 in desperation. 

Apart from the drums, all the instruments were played 'live' which explains my anguish. I should have turned to a sequencer. I definitely think I could do with an internal 'quantise' button. 
Hopefully you'll listen and say how natural 15/16 sounds, or how easy we make it sound. Don't be fooled!
6 TimandGlynn Rhythm of Life mp3