Today we will be covering the Music Theory topic of Mixed Meter
Blake Shelton’s country hit “Mine Would Be You” is, at the time of this writing, #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The piece is very simple from a harmonic point of view. It never strays from the tonic, which is C Major, and it stays diatonic to C throughout the work. The primary point of interest, however, is found in the meter. Let’s have a listen:
During the intro and verse section, Shelton presents us with alternating time signatures of 3/4 and 4/4. This is called mixed meter. In other words, we hear one measure of 3/4, followed by one measure of 4/4, followed by one measure of 3/4, and so on.
Shelton uses mixed meter to add rhythmic interest to the song. “Mine Would be You” is an appropriate context for rhythmic interest, because the other fundamentals of the song, harmony and melody, are very simple.
Remember this law of pop music theory: True pop music, by definition, never adds too much interest at once, or else it risks confusing the listener and no longer being pop music.
Above is a portion of the verse which has been notated (0:27 – 0:39 in the YouTube clip). You can clearly see the meter alternating between 3/4 and 4/4. As the verse section ends (0:54 “That’s easy ’cause mine would be you…”), the chorus brings us back to common time and acts as a return to normalcy.
Mixed meter is a great way to add rhythmic interest to a song. It is a technique you will see from time to time in pop music (for example, “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles). Other ways to add rhythmic interest include polyrhythm (which we discussed in Taylor Swift “22″) and syncopation (which we discussed in Katy Perry’s “Roar”).
Thank you for reading today’s post about mixed meter! Can you think of any other songs that are in mixed meter? Are you wondering why we don’t simply notate the verse as 7/4 instead of alternating 3/4 and 4/4? Do you have any other questions about mixed meter? Please ask away in the comments, or tweet me!
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