Prog-Gnosis: Playing in 6/4, and the Hybrid-Picked Arpeggios in “David”

by Tosin Abasi
Posted Jan 2, 2013 at 11:02am

In my last column, I discussed my penchant for employing odd meters in much of the music I write for Animals as Leaders, using the song “Cylindrical Sea” as an example. While “Cylindrical Sea” moves back and forth freely between 7/8, 5/8 and 6/8 time signatures, the idea was not simply to write a tune for the sake of complexity. In fact, I rarely even think about specific meters when constructing a tune. My goal is to create interesting musical compositions without taking an analytical or theoretical approach. Usually, it is only after a song is coming into focus that I will analyze the inner workings of the time signatures and harmonic structure of the chord progressions.

“David,” the last track on the most recent Animals as Leaders album, Weightless, was recorded using a seven-string guitar tuned normally (low to high, B E A D G B E). I think of the song as being in 6/4 time, though one could just as easily reckon it as bars of 4/4 followed by bars of 2/4.