Improve Your Production Using Odd and Complex Time Signatures

The greatest producers use complex time signatures. By creating tracks with odd and complex time signatures, it is a great way to make you stand out as a producer, and bring your beats that added flare. In the following post I am going to explain why you should create beats with odd and complex time signatures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZKW6-yQw9A

What Are Odd and Complex Time Signatures?

Odd Time Signatures

These time signatures have rhythms that do not follow the typical even 2/4, 4/4, and 8/8 measures. They are measures with time signatures such as 3/4,  5/8, 6/8, and 7/8 measures.

Complex Time Signatures

These time signatures vary from one time signature to another. For example, a 7/8 time signature that transitions to a 8/8 time signature. These complex time signatures are a great way to make your track sound unique.

Major Producers Who Have Used Complex Time Signatures

Q Tip

Q Tip is know for creating Hip-Hop classics with odd and complex time signatures . For example, both “Lyrics To Go” and “Electric Relaxation” off Midnight Marauders” are both in a 3/4 measure.

MF Doom

On his album Doomsday there are quite a few tracks that fluctuate between time signatures. The first track that comes to my mind is “Tick Tick”. This track fluctuates from a 6/8 to a 8/8 time signature.

J Dilla

J Dilla is probably the most notable for using odd and complex time signatures. On Slum Village’s album Untitled Volume 2.; there are several tracks that have complex time signatures. “Get Dis Money” is a 7 bar loop and “Untitled Fantastic” is in a 6/8 time signature.

How Odd and Complex Time Signatures Can Improve Your Production

Time signatures determine the groove and movement of a song. If your beat has an odd or complex time signature, your beat is going to have personality. Complex Time signatures can give your beat a hypnotic effect, and Odd time signatures give your track a unique rhythm. Out of the ordinary time signatures also show your versatility as a producer.

(To understand how odd and complex time signatures function in piece of music I recommend watching Mangold Project’s video,  “Odd Time Signatures: A Piano and Guitar Tutorial (5/4, 7/4, … )“)

(Another great article to read regarding odd and complex time signatures is Debone’s Article, “Mastering Odd, Complex Time Signatures And Rhythms,” by Kevin Ferguson.)

The Takeaway

Using odd and complex time signatures will improve your production. I recommend all of you listen to instrumental hip hop beats that have odd and complex time signatures. You will instantly hear the dynamic effect they have. Until next time, I hope all of you are still having fun making beats and I hope this post gave you some inspiration. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *