Deep Thought

Can’t decide between 3/4, 2/4 or 7/4 time? How about all three at once? Disquiet Junto 0327 is a musical mathematical exercise based on the number 327. The task: compose three lines of music: one in 3/4 time, one in 2/4 time, and one in 7/4 time, and perform them simultaneously.

So how exactly does that work? Math.

The Least Common Multiple of 3, 4 and 7 is 42. Therefore, a song composed in 3/4, 2/4 and 7/4 will converge every 42 beats: 14 measures of 3/4, 21 measures of 2/4, and 6 measures of 7/4. Here’s a visual representation:

More math: I decided to use three chords during each 42 beat phrase, and make the chords change on measure boundaries even though the measures don’t line up. The 7/4 line plays each chord for 2 measures. The 2/4 line plays each chord for 7 measures The 3/4 line plays 5 measures of the first chord, 4 of the second, and 5 of the third. Careful selection of the individual notes around the chord changes allowed this to work without dissonance.

Of course, 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, so I named this track after the computer that spent seven and a half million years coming up with that answer. Now, what was the question?

Created in Live with Ableton instruments. Playing each time signature are: cello on 3/4, bass on 2/4, and guitar, violin and flute on 7/4. Live handled the multiple simultaneous time signatures pretty well.

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