Matt Cameron and unconventional time signatures

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  • rriversrrivers Posts: 3,666
    surferdude wrote:
    Biggest problem with Not For You live is that Matt drums it nearly identically to Light Years. There's no sense of urgency in the drums, mid-tempo slush.

    First off, great thread! Nice discussion of drumming and time signatures (two things I could not know less about but it is still interesting to read the discussion).

    Funny that you said Matt drums Not For You just like Light Years. They played Not For you at the show I went to in 2003 and I thought it was light years!!! It had a long build up of just drums before the guitars came in with Ed talking about Michael Powell.

    I'm not much of an Evacuation fan but I do like the line "he sensed worry could be strength".

    I love "You Are". Great, great song.
    "We're fixed good, lamp-wise."
  • Just because a song isnt in 4/4 doesnt mean its a weird time signature. Matt is such a more versatile drummer than the others and he brings much more to the table than Dave and Jack. Listen to a song like Sleight of Hand, and it will boggle your mind sometimes. Ask someone to play along with Roit Act and Binaural compared to Vs and Vitalogy and anyone will say Matt is the best drummer, not to mention his soundgarden days which he produced some sick beats and time signatures.
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  • awakeawake Posts: 35
    as a drummer, who loves listening to, but hates playing, odd time signatures. Some of what Matt does is not so much odd signatures, but odd accents and beats over 4/4 which make it sound odd. Even as far back as Temple of the Dog, his beats and fills sometimes seem out of place, until you listen to it a few times, and then you realize his original approach.

    That said, there are tons of examples of his odd signatures. My Wave is a classic 5/4 groove from Soundgarden, and Outshined is 7/8.

    Easiest way to find an odd signature is try and tap your foot on 1 and 3 and clap hands on 2 and 4. (like you can to every single Beatles song)
    If you lose the beat after a bar or 2, it's probably an odd signature. Try it with the above 2 songs, you'll see.

    some examples of mainstream odd signatures are Money (Floyd), Turn it on (Genesis), Hold On (yes).

    i think it's best when the odd signature is subtle like the above examples, and the listener sings and taps along not noticing

    hope this helps. If you really want to hurt your brain, listen to Dream Theater or Tool.
  • mike_s_6mike_s_6 Posts: 160
    I've been listening to Superunknown, tapping to all of their songs. What's the signature of Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, and Half? It seems, in both songs, that he's not just providing the groove, but he's actually playing alongside the melody.

    Just Like Suicide sounds to me like it's missing a half note somewhere. Sometimes, I think he's drumming a typical 4/4, except the embellishments he puts on the songs make them sound odd.

    Most of his technical skill are lost to listeners who are not too keen on rhythm.
  • Just thought of a new non-Matt example for anyone who still cares: Low Light. For the people who are trying to figure out this time signature stuff, it's pretty easy to pick up on the extra beat at the end of each measure in the verses.
    damn man you beat me to it! but i will add that the extra beat you hear is not the odd signature. the entire song except for that one measure that you mentioned is written in 3/4. the measure that you mention is actually 4/4. what makes it sound off is the switch from 3/4 to 4/4 for that particular measure and then back to the 3/4 that the song is following.
  • By the way, no one's said anything about 1/2 Full yet. Does anyone know if he's doing anything "unusual" at the end there?
    i would have to listen to it again more closely, but humming it in my head....its just very cool and very tastefull drumming on matt's behalf. the signature is in 3/4.. maybe that is what you are feeling, but i don't think the signature changes the entire song. i'll have to listen to it again. just humming the main melody in my head, im pretty sure what im saying is correct.
  • Another vote for 'You Are'.

    To my mind, their best track since Ten.

    I also agree with a previous post - I don't think Matt shines as much with PJ as he did with Soundgarden. You only have to watch Jesus Christ Pose on the Motorvision video to appreciate how fast & precise he is. Head down is drumming genius also.
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  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    There's nothing unconventional about those time signatures. They're all fairly commonplace.
  • PJ-SinPJ-Sin Posts: 348
    The easiest way to figure out time signatures is by counting the cymbal hits.

    And, I agree with enharmonic, they (pj) dont do anything really out there. Try listening to some Meshuggah or Candiria and try to figure that shit out! LOL
  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    PJ-Sin wrote:
    The easiest way to figure out time signatures is by counting the cymbal hits.

    And, I agree with enharmonic, they (pj) dont do anything really out there. Try listening to some Meshuggah or Candiria and try to figure that shit out! LOL

    Good looking out on Candiria. Kenny's a friend of mine. I'll let him know that he's getting props on a PJ thread about Matt Cameron. He'll get a kick out of that :D
  • PJ-SinPJ-Sin Posts: 348
    enharmonic wrote:
    Good looking out on Candiria. Kenny's a friend of mine. I'll let him know that he's getting props on a PJ thread about Matt Cameron. He'll get a kick out of that :D


    I thought your name looked familiar, you are on the Candiria board too arent you?? I havent posted there in awhile, but when I do my username is jchordz

    ..and yeah, they are some great guys, Ive hung out with them quite a few times after the shows here in STL, and once down in Springfield when me and a friend took a road trip. So how is Kenny anyway, I heard he left the band to get in a better headspace. Tell him I said hey, and to keep doing what he needs to do.
  • weenieweenie Posts: 1,621
    Today when I listened to Riot Act for the first time in awhile, I noticed for the first time that not only Cropduster (which I already knew about) but also You Are and Get Right are played in unconventional time signatures (which, to me, means anything other than 4/4, 3/4, or 6/8). This means that every Matt Cameron-composed Pearl Jam song is in a "weird meter" with the possible exception of Evacuation--which, metrically speaking, I can't remember the sound of right now. Does anyone remember or know the time sig for that tune?

    Aside from that, can anyone think of non-Cameron-composed PJ songs in which Cameron does "metrically weird" things with his drum performance, like play 3-against-4 and that kind of thing? There seemed to be something metrically unusual in the drumming at the end of 1/2 Full but I couldn't tell for sure. And while we're at it, can anyone think of any non-Cameron PJ songs written in unusual meters? From what I remember it sounding like, I think the coda of Stone's All Those Yesterdays is in 6/4 or something of the like. But that's all I can think of off the top of my head, and I might even be wrong about that one.

    In any case, thanks for discussing. I should mention that I'm a bassist/guitarist and not a drummer, so I apologize to the drummers if some of my terminology is a bit off. Looking forward to hear any examples anyone can think of.


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  • awake wrote:
    If you really want to hurt your brain, listen to Dream Theater or Tool.

    Agreed... check out some of the Dream Theater instrumentals like Erotomania from Awake, Dance of Eternity from Scenes From a Memory or the middle of Metropolis Pt. 1 off of Images and Words.
  • PJ-SinPJ-Sin Posts: 348
    Al DiMeola has some crazy time signatures as well. Plus he is insane on a guitar!!
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    mike_s_6 wrote:
    I've been listening to Superunknown, tapping to all of their songs. What's the signature of Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, and Half? It seems, in both songs, that he's not just providing the groove, but he's actually playing alongside the melody.

    Just Like Suicide sounds to me like it's missing a half note somewhere. Sometimes, I think he's drumming a typical 4/4, except the embellishments he puts on the songs make them sound odd.

    Most of his technical skill are lost to listeners who are not too keen on rhythm.

    spoon man is 4/4 (chorus) and in 7/4 verse.

    some of day i tried to live is in 15/4 which usually breaks down to 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 3/4 but doesn't have to.

    modern drummer in the mid 90's did a good article on him and had some of the above songs transcribed with the funky signatures. wooden jesus, pushin forward back, limo wreck.

    With soundgarden, matt helped reinforce the rhythm of the guitar much more than establish a groove as most of PJ's songs are. The drums are trickier in SG b/c of the approach of that band.
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  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    make sure the fortune that you seek...is the fortune that you need
  • chopitdown wrote:
    spoon man is 4/4 (chorus) and in 7/4 verse.

    some of day i tried to live is in 15/4 which usually breaks down to 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 3/4 but doesn't have to.

    modern drummer in the mid 90's did a good article on him and had some of the above songs transcribed with the funky signatures. wooden jesus, pushin forward back, limo wreck.

    With soundgarden, matt helped reinforce the rhythm of the guitar much more than establish a groove as most of PJ's songs are. The drums are trickier in SG b/c of the approach of that band.
    In The Moonlight is probably the weirdest time sig. in his Pearl Jam catalouge.. or maybe it just sounds like it is.. I haven't checked the time sig for it, but the guitar work is funky enough to be really fucked up :D
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  • chopitdown wrote:
    spoon man is 4/4 (chorus) and in 7/4 verse.

    some of day i tried to live is in 15/4 which usually breaks down to 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, 3/4 but doesn't have to.

    modern drummer in the mid 90's did a good article on him and had some of the above songs transcribed with the funky signatures. wooden jesus, pushin forward back, limo wreck.

    With soundgarden, matt helped reinforce the rhythm of the guitar much more than establish a groove as most of PJ's songs are. The drums are trickier in SG b/c of the approach of that band.

    Thanks!

    I'm tapping to Day I Tried to Live with the song in my head and the order sounds like 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 4/4.

    Wooden Jesus is 6/4 then 3/4 for the chorus... you wouldn't have that modern drummer article would you? I'd like to give it a read.
  • voodoopugvoodoopug Posts: 1,010
    enharmonic wrote:
    There's nothing unconventional about it if you dig jazz. It's a different way of thinking and playing though for sure :)

    Check out Matt's band, Wellwater Conspiracy. Plenty of sick drumming :)


    agreed.....Matt has a "Charlie Watts" feel to many of his differnt time measurements. It takes some "standard" playing in jazz style and adapts them to Rock. Midnight Rambler by the stones is a good example of this, also if you are into deeper stones cuts, try "High and Dry" off the Aftermath album
    There's Pearl Jam, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson......and then everybody else.
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    mike_s_6 wrote:
    Thanks!

    I'm tapping to Day I Tried to Live with the song in my head and the order sounds like 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 4/4.

    Wooden Jesus is 6/4 then 3/4 for the chorus... you wouldn't have that modern drummer article would you? I'd like to give it a read.


    i have a link to the article...it doesn't have the transcriptions though (they're images in the mag and my guess is that people haven't taken the time to scan them in) and i have absolutely no idea where my original copy is. But here's the article...it's a good read from the superunknown days

    http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/mdrummer_6-94.shtml
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  • ^ Oh :( I want the score too...
    In The Moonlight is probably the weirdest time sig. in his Pearl Jam catalouge..

    Well they gave him a chance to write the music, guess he made the most of it :)
  • I have it at home, I'll try to post tonight.....
    If I remember correctly Wooden Jesus is in 12/8, at least the "main" groove.
    AW
    mike_s_6 wrote:
    Thanks!

    I'm tapping to Day I Tried to Live with the song in my head and the order sounds like 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 4/4.

    Wooden Jesus is 6/4 then 3/4 for the chorus... you wouldn't have that modern drummer article would you? I'd like to give it a read.
  • one thign i dotn like about drummers, and the production of drums either studio, live recorded, or live in general, they never think about tone! drums have tone, and it can be tweaked post microphones. Matt (and his tech) are GENIOUSES at achieving great drum tones through microphones. Forget his gear, i'd like to know what they are running for mic's and processers in the studio and on stage. They are GREAT
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  • appleworm wrote:
    I have it at home, I'll try to post tonight.....
    If I remember correctly Wooden Jesus is in 12/8, at least the "main" groove.
    AW

    Here's my question, when do you know it's 6/4 or 12/8? I also noticed the high hat drumming 8th notes at the background, so I suspected that it was 12/8, but I wouldn't really know the difference.

    I'm not a drummer, I know time signatures from my piano education :p Please try to post! :)
  • Oh, JimmyOh, Jimmy Posts: 957
    mike_s_6 wrote:
    I've been listening to Superunknown, tapping to all of their songs. What's the signature of Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, and Half? It seems, in both songs, that he's not just providing the groove, but he's actually playing alongside the melody.

    Just Like Suicide sounds to me like it's missing a half note somewhere. Sometimes, I think he's drumming a typical 4/4, except the embellishments he puts on the songs make them sound odd.

    Most of his technical skill are lost to listeners who are not too keen on rhythm.


    Spoonman may be 6/4

    Day I Tried to Live-7/8
  • Oh, JimmyOh, Jimmy Posts: 957
    one thign i dotn like about drummers, and the production of drums either studio, live recorded, or live in general, they never think about tone! drums have tone, and it can be tweaked post microphones. Matt (and his tech) are GENIOUSES at achieving great drum tones through microphones. Forget his gear, i'd like to know what they are running for mic's and processers in the studio and on stage. They are GREAT


    Danny Carey always has the best drum sound possible. The sound itself wouldnt fit alotta bands, but its always perfect with TOOL. He takes tons of time and care to get his recorded sound just so.
  • Ian MIan M Posts: 123
    seems to me Matt has troubles playing in compound (3) time
    songs like Elderly Woman for e.g. sound a bit square to me when he plays them, especially when compared to Irons' playing
    he makes a good job of it in 1/2 Full though, where at the end it sounds like he's playing 4-time across the three (so it joins up after 3 bars) to pretty cool, head-fucking effect
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    Oh, Jimmy wrote:
    Danny Carey always has the best drum sound possible. The sound itself wouldnt fit alotta bands, but its always perfect with TOOL. He takes tons of time and care to get his recorded sound just so.

    on the first album he tuned every drum head to the key of the song which def helped with the recording sound.
    make sure the fortune that you seek...is the fortune that you need
  • Oh, JimmyOh, Jimmy Posts: 957
    chopitdown wrote:
    on the first album he tuned every drum head to the key of the song which def helped with the recording sound.

    I am pretty sure he has done that on every album, and his live kit is tuned mostly to d but a few of the drums vary a little.
  • StereotypeStereotype Maribor, SloveniaPosts: 871
    Hello! I just spotted this thread and wanna join:)I'm a girl and also play drums (and a piano). It' hard for me to explain this tehnical terms in english but I can try, right:)
    Just wanna say that music that falls in the "odd time" category is usually a combination of common rhythms played in the same measure of music. For example a seven beat rhythm may consist of 4 beat pattern followed by 3 beat pattern (or vice versa) and if this happens only in some part of the song it does not mean that the whole beat is uneven. I think Matt sometimes adds some parts so it seems odd but it's actually not..sometimes he also plays over the beat..but that doesn't change it.

    Someone asked how do you know if it's 3/4 or 6/8.. Well...first one has three beats in a measure and the second has got six :D..It's also written differently...but that doesn't help if you're listening...but you can tell because of the repetition in melody..O shit..I'm awful in explaining theory..

    The song that I like most and it's in "odd time" is Seven days from Sting.
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