November 19, 2014

Young Composers Project

When Kirsty asked me to write a bit about pulse and rhythm in the lead up to the next session, I immediately thought of doing something one of the many, innumerable “pop” songs in my collection that incorporate weird time changes or dramatic hemiolas. But then it struck me, time signatures are easy; groove is hard.

So, therefore, please enjoy this slice of musical history, a landmark piece without which we would have a much more miserable world:

Yes, Good Times by Chic.

Eight whole minutes of 4/4, with relatively little syncopation and no deviation from a single riff – sounds like hell right? But what makes this tune is something almost indefinable: groove (or, if you prefer, feel). The way in which the bass and drums fit together, the light guitar work of Nile Rodgers, the push and pull of musicians playing together. This is the difference between…

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