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Zepplin's Ocean. Really 15/8?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Funkateer, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    My drummer wants to cover this tune, and I have this MP3 of unknown origin of Zepplin doing it. You can hear them count the tune in in 4/4, but once it gets going, the A part is clearly 15/8 (i.e. 1/2 a beat of 4/4 gets dropped). I count the 15 as 4/4/4/3.

    However, it seems to me that if I was going to count this in and it was really in 15/8, I'd be counting twice as fast and probably just give the last 3 of the 15.

    Is this part really in 15? Or do you think the whole band rushed 1/2 a beat? If it really is in 15/8, counting quarter notes seems strange.
  2. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    They're just dropping an eighth note - 4/4 with the occasional measure of 7/8. Trust Bonham's part.
  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    +1 to Lyle
  4. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    yep....4/4 and 7/8.
  5. Joe Garage

    Joe Garage

    Mar 13, 2005
    The 7/8 part is the chorus?
  6. 60hz


    Oct 7, 2005
    Chorus and guitar solo are the alternating 4/4 and 7/8 parts.

    The chorus bass part is cool because it doesn't exactly double the guitar part.
  7. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    Except it isn't 7/8. It's three bars of 4/4 and one bar of 3/4, I'm almost certain.
  8. thewanderer24


    Apr 29, 2002
    SJ, CA
    It's 3 bars of 4/4 and one bar of 7/8 when that section of the song comes along. If you wanted to, you could count that as 2 bars of 4/4 and one of 15/8, or one insanely long bar of 31/8.

    But, it's easier to just think of it as 3 bars of 4/4 with one bar of 7/8, or straight 4/4 with an eighth note dropped every 4th bar.
  9. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    I guess I'd best defer to the prevailing wisdom! I could very easily be -- am often -- quite wrong.
  10. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    If you count the verse as common time and the bridge as double time, the big guitar riff 3 bars of 4/4 followed by a bar of 3/4.

    If you count the verse as half time and the bridge as common time, the guitar riff is a bar of 4/4 followed by a bar of 7/8.

    Make sense?
  11. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Given Bonzo's "we've had four already and now we're steady going 1, 2, 3, 4" I lean towards the 4/4 and 7/8 notion.
  12. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    You guys figure it out yet?

    Seriously though, I've done that song. Oddly enough, the time was never an issue. We never even discussed it. If I had to count it, I couldn't play it. ;) But I do believe that Lyle nailed it down.

    Here's what it looks like when a coupla drunk, pushing 50, amateurs play it:
    video linkage

  13. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    The transcription from my teacher has it in 8/8, 7/8. and 4/4. He has the intro written as 1 measure of 8/8, 1 measure of 7/8. Then the verse in 4/4.
  14. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Really? When I play it, it's just the 7/8 and 4/4 no 8/8.
  15. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    given that there are 4 heavily emphasised beats on the 1st bar of the riff, i'd say 4/4 is a more accurate way of showing it than 8/8... although I agree there are times when switching meters it's sometimes more clear to keep a constant denominator

    like all the others have said, it's a 4/4 and 7/8... the 7/8 functioning as basically a 4/4 with an eight note lopped off

    My fave bit is the end where they use the 'two groups of three 8th notes' as a pickup to change into a 12/8 swinging rock n roll finale :)
  16. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Nicely done, Tom and co. I'd come out and see you guys. :bassist:
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    OK, so we've figured out about 6 or 7 different ways to count the exact same thing. And guess what? It works for everyone! So quit nitpicking!
  18. klharper

    klharper Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Yep, what Lyle said.

    It's actually a pretty common thing to have 3 measures of 4/4 followed by a measure of 7/8, "skipping" a half beat. I know a few songs but can't recall their names right now.

    In order for something to be in 15/8, which is a coupound quintuple meter, it has to be counted in 5 beats with subdivisions of threes inside each beat. It can't be some awkward count of 4/4/4/3, only 5 beats divided in three (3/3/3/3/3 in the way you said it).

    For example, 6/8 is always counted in two, with subdivisions of three. 6/8 should not be counted in three with subdivison of two - in such case, it should be in 3/4.

    Compound meters (such as 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, 15/8, 6/16.... etc.) are always subdivided in threes, while simple meters (4/4, 2/4, 2/2, etc.) always subdivided in twos.