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WNYC's Fishko Files: Five Four Time

From: WNYC
Series: WNYC's Fishko Files
Length: 07:22

Listening for the number 5. Read the full description.

Saraflat_small A recent song by the popular Icelandic group Sigur Ros is notable for having no time signature at all; it’s impossible to count. It has WNYC’s Sara Fishko pondering time, music, and especially the number 5. Here is the next Fishko Files.

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Piece Description

A recent song by the popular Icelandic group Sigur Ros is notable for having no time signature at all; it’s impossible to count. It has WNYC’s Sara Fishko pondering time, music, and especially the number 5. Here is the next Fishko Files.

Transcript

Five Four Time Script

Among the most celebrated themes in TV history is Lalo Schifrin’s piece written for Mission Impossible. One of the appealing things about it, whether you’re aware of it or not, is that it is written in 5/4 time. 5 beats to the measure, instead of the usual 3 or 4. Count and you’ll see; 1,2,3,4,5; 1,2,3,4,5. It was written in the 1960’s, for that iconic television series. You’d think by now, in our very sophisticated 21st century world, 5/4 time would be commonplace. But in Western music, it’s not; and it never was! In fact in the world of musical rhythms, things started out much more ambiguous than they have become….

...there was a time if we look back for example, to medieval music where you have endless streams of notes that form vague contours….(Isacoff 1:00)

By vague contours, Pianist and writer Stuart Isacoff means no strict rhythm or beat. But a bea...
Read the full transcript

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Theme from Mission: Impossible Lalo Schifrin :00
Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathetique, Op. 74 — "Allegro con grazia" Tchaikovsky :00
Castles Half-and-Half James Reese Europe :00
Sonata No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 4 — Larghetto Frederic Chopin :00
Take Five Dave Brubeck :00
Light Flight The Pentangle :00
The Planets — Mars, Bringer of War Gustav Holst :00
I Didn't Know What time It Was Brad Mehldau :00
15 Step Radiohead :00