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Tricky timing

Tom Service on the fascination of music written in unusual time signatures.

Two, three and four beats in a bar are pretty standard in music. But what happens when a composer decides to go with 7 or 5 or 13 as the underlying structure? And why would they do that?

Tom Service talks to composer Anna Meredith and conductor Martyn Brabbins about the fascination and challenge of the off-beat beat.

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Fri 6 Nov 2020 16:30

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 5 in C minor Op.67

    Conductor: Charles Mackerras. Performer: Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
    • Hyperion.
    • CDS44301/5.
  • Donna Summer

    I Feel Love

    • MERCURY.
    • 526-217 2.
  • John Philip Sousa

    The Liberty bell - march

    Performer: Eastman Wind Ensemble.
    • Mercury.
    • SACD 475 6182.
  • Émile Waldteufel

    Les Patineurs [The skaters] - waltz Op.183

    Conductor: Sir Charles Groves. Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra.
    • Denon.
    • CO73674.
  • Lalo Schifrin

    Mission Impossible

    Performer: Ensemble Triptikh.
    • Ad Vitam Records.
    • AV200615D.
  • Christopher Tye

    In nomine (Trust) for 5 instruments

    Performer: The Newberry Consort.
    • hm-1106.
  • Dave Brubeck

    Unsquare Dance

    Performer: Dave Brubeck.
    • CBS.
    • CDCBS-32046.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Symphony no. 41 in C major K.551 (Jupiter)

    Conductor: Iván Fischer. Performer: Budapest Festival Orchestra.
    • Hungaroton.
    • HCD12982.
  • Gustav Holst

    The Planets - suite Op.32

    Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle. Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • EMI.
    • 0946 369690 2 2.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Sonata no. 1 in C minor Op.4 for piano

    Performer: Leif Ove Andsnes.
    • Warner.
    • 5099923228856.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Orlando - opera in 3 acts

    Conductor: Bernard Labadie. Performer: Vivica Genaux. Performer: Les Violons du Roy.
    • Warner.
    • 0724354573750.
  • Traditional


    Performer: La Nef.
    • Atma.
    • ACD22390.
  • Paul Desmond

    Take five

    Performer: The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
    • Polygram.
    • 819 882-2.
  • Juan de Anchieta

    Con amores, la mi madre for 4 voices [Cancionero de Palacio, c.1505-20]

    Performer: Tenebrae.
    • Signum.
    • SIGCD903.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Symphony no. 6 in B minor Op.74 (Pathetique)

    Conductor: Teodor Currentzis. Performer: Musica Æterna Orchestra.
    • Sony.
    • 8898 5404352.
  • Frank Zappa

    Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

    Performer: Frank Zappa.
    • Rykodisc.
    • RCD-80519.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Firebird - ballet

    Conductor: Andris Nelsons. Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
    • Orfeo.
    • C804101A.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    Candide - comic operetta in 2 acts

    Performer: Fleur Mino. Performer: Jennifer Hardy. Performer: Juan Carlos Echeverry. Performer: Kevin Amos.
    • Klarthe.
    • KLA030D.
  • Ron Jarzombek

    A headache and a sixty-fourth

    Performer: Ron Jarzombek.
    • Mr. Kitty Records.
    • MK 1302.
  • x Meshuggah

    Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 336-2

    Performer: x Meshuggah.
    • Nuclear Blast.
    • NB 336-2.
  • Alan Hawkshaw

    Countdown Theme

    Performer: Margaret John.
  • Anna Meredith


    Performer: Anna Meredith.
    • Moshi Moshi.
    • MOSHI161.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring

    Conductor: Valery Gergiev. Performer: Mariinsky Orchestra.
    • Philips.
    • 4680352.
  • Brian Ferneyhough

    La Terre est un homme for orchestra

    Conductor: Martyn Brabbins. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra.
    • NMC.
    • NMCD231.
  • Gyorgy Ligeti

    Poeme symphonique for 100 metronomes [1962]

    Performer: Aurora Orchestra.
    • Warner.
    • 2564608223.


  • Sun 1 Nov 2020 17:00
  • Fri 6 Nov 2020 16:30

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