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unacornea's avatar

how do you count the "bada-bam-ba-bada-bada" part on the fratelli's song "flathead" ?

Asked by unacornea (314points) November 29th, 2007

my girlfriend and i are covering this song – there’s a breakdown part that’s really confusing. we know how to play that part but cannot figure out rhythmically how to count it. it seems like the first half of the phrase has a different time signature than the second half of the phrase. any music geniuses out there who want to explain this to me? it almost feels like flamenco.

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11 Answers

Tennis5tar's avatar

Firstly, nice choice of band/song. I would just listen to it over and over, just that one section unitl the timing was right in my head. Not technical… at all, but it works for me.

unacornea's avatar

thanks! yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing…. the only way we’ve figured out to count it is a reallyreallyreally fast “one-two-three one-two-three one-and two-and three-and four-and” which must break down into some known time signature but i can’t figure out what. since that is a total of six whole beats i guess it would be 3/4 time? mostly i need to know because we need to program our drum machine.

andrew's avatar

Great choice of song.

It’s still a straight 4, i think it’s just the syncopation that screws with your head.

I’m having a hard time nailing down the rhythm, though, I’ll talk to my composer friend tonight.

chris's avatar

I don’t think it’s still a straight four. the repeated phrase is 7 beats long, although it breaks up nicely as 3 – 4. The last four are straight quarter notes. The first three are “one and, and, and”. That is, the notes fall on the down beat of 1 and the up beats of 1, 2, and 3. I would count “1 and, and, and 1 2 3 4” and repeat.

Perchik's avatar

I’m thinking something like 1e 2 & 3 & 4 & ?

No. Maybe not.. I’m having trouble just focusing on the singer.

Poser's avatar

Chris is right. It’s a two-measure phrase: a 3/4 measure followed by a 4/4. His 1 & & &/1 2 3 4 count is right on.

andrew's avatar

I was just about to write that. 3/4 -> 4/4. Absolutely. I had only listened to it once before and ended up fitting the whole thing in a straight 4 with a different tempo.

Eighth notes remains the same.

SC's avatar

all the answers so far are on the right track. technically, the song is in 4/4 and the breaks are in 7/4. listening to the emphasese that the band uses during the breaks, the easiest way to hear it might be as two bars of 3/4 plus one extra beat. (i.e., it’s not one bar of 3/4 followed by one bar of 4/4, it’s actually one bar of 3/4, a second bar of 3/4, and then one extra beat).

so in summary, program the drum machine for 7/4 but think of it as two bars of 3/4 plus an extra beat.

Perchik's avatar

How is that different than one 3/4 followed by one 4/4? To me that’s “1 & 2 & 3 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ” vs “1 & 2 & 3 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 1 &” the only difference (in my mind) is whether you call that last beat 4 or 1.

unacornea's avatar

it’s fun to know that people are actually giving serious thought to my question. i get it now! :) you guys are awesome, thanks so much.

SC's avatar

hey perchik, your question is totally on point—sorry I wasn’t clear. there’s no technical difference between counting something as 3/4 followed by 4/4 or as 3/4 followed by 3/4 followed by 1.

however, if you listen to the emphases the band places on the different beats, you’ll hear that it’s easier to follow as two bars of 3/4 plus an extra beat. no technical difference, but if you think of it as 2 3/4’s followed by an extra beat, you’re more likely to closely approximate the way the band treats it.

that being said, if one works in your head and the other doesn’t, by all means follow the one that personally makes sense!

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