Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time Out



"Quintuple meter or quintuple time is a musical meter characterized by 5 beats in a measure. Like the more common duple, triple, and quadruple meters, it may be simple, with each beat divided in half, or compound, with each beat divided into thirds. The most common time signatures for simple quintuple meter are 5/4 and 5/8.

Until after the Second World War, quintuple time was virtually unheard of in the American genres of jazz and popular music. When in 1944, Stravinsky was commissioned by Billy Rose to compose a fifteen-minute dance component to be incorporated into his Broadway revue, The Seven Lively Arts, Stravinsky composed Scènes de ballet, to be choreographed by Anton Dolin. Rose was enthusiastic about the new score when initially he saw the piano reduction made by Ingolf Dahl, but later was dismayed by the sound of the orchestra, and offended the composer by telegraphing the suggestion that Stravinsky should allow the scoring to be "retouched" by Robert Russell Bennett, who "orchestrates even the works of Cole Porter". Whole sections of the score had to be cut for the Philadelphia premiere, because the New York pit musicians, accustomed to the conventions of Broadway musicals of that period, were unable to manage the 5/8 bars that feature in Stravinsky's score.

In 1959, the Dave Brubeck Quartet released Time Out, a jazz album with music in unusual meters. It included Paul Desmond's "Take Five", in 5/4 time. Against all expectations, the album went platinum, and "Take Five" became a jazz standard. Brubeck had studied with the French composer Darius Milhaud, who in turn had been strongly influenced by Stravinsky, and is credited with the systematic introduction of asymmetrical and shifting rhythms that sparked a far-reaching surge of interest in jazz and popular music in the 1960s."  (Wikipedia)

I had the privilege of seeing Dave Brubeck live back in the Seventies.  I used to play the trumpet, and  5/4 time is tough.  

David Warren Brubeck, 12/6/1920 - 12/5/2012.