True Track 7: “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck

Sometimes, the most creative songs don’t seem to make themselves known until you really listen to them. Really hard. And they continue to echo in your head afterwards. This track is definitely an example of that.

The piece starts with a drum beat that is commonly used in jazz, which is nothing extraordinary, but still very pleasant to hear. And then the piano comes in, with an accompaniment that is emphasized/accented on the weak beats of the bar! This accent on the weak beats of the piano contrast very heavily with the drums. When I heard this piece for the first time, I was bopping my head along with the piano, and could have listened to that rhythm for days.By the way, the song”Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin famously uses accents on weak beats for its famous guitar riff that starts off the song!

Once the drums and the piano have set the beat, the trumpet begins its riff, which seem to occupy another area of the rhythm spectrum. The trumpet blows away with a different rhythm compared to the drums and piano.

Here’s what makes the track incredible. If you took the three instruments, and listened to them separately, you would probably have never imagined that those unique rhythmic patterns so well!

And one more thing. The piece is in quintuple time. That’s 5 beats in a bar! Try clapping along with the music, preferably counting “1 2 3 4,1 2 3 4″ , and you will notice that you seem to lose a beat here or there. Now try clapping 5 beats, and counting ” 1 2 3 4 5, 1 2 3 4 5″ and you’ll notice that it unusually works!

Music in time signatures other than 4/4 or 3/4 seem choppy or unusual to the ears. But the combination of the different rhythmic patterns of each instrument miraculously make this 5/4 piece sound uncomplicated, and even singable! There are many more incredible jazz pieces out there, but this is one of my personal favorites because it sounds straightforward and simple, when there is so much more to it.



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