You’ll Come A-Waltzing

Time signatures are the best. After hearing so many song in 4/4, any unusual meter can break the monotony in the best way. Of course, jazz and classical pieces come in all kinds of time signatures, but rock and pop music rarely stray from the four-to-the-floor standard. It’s a shame, really, because so many great tunes are made even better with a shuffled meter.

My favorite is the ever-elegant waltz time. There are so many songs, ballads in particular, that could have been made so much more romantic in three-quarter time. Sure, there are plenty out there already, and maybe it’s that scarcity that makes them each so enjoyable, but more musicians should think twice before using that stodgy old 4/4 beat for their next song.

Some of my favorite songs written in waltz time were composed by Kurt Weill. His masterpiece, the Threepenny Opera, features many great, cabaret-ready songs, many of which are in waltz time. Recent bands like The Dresden Dolls and the World/Inferno Friendship Society have taken the cabaret style to a new, rockish level, but their songs lack the mournful punch of Weill’s originals. Judge for yourself:

Listen: Lotte Lenya – “Solomon Song” from The Threepenny Opera (1954)


~ by E. on June 24, 2009.

One Response to “You’ll Come A-Waltzing”

  1. “And this song of mine/In three-quarter time/Wishes you and yours/The same thing too.”

    Jules Styne and Sammy Cahn knew their shit.

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