Seven Days

Seven Days in 7/8 Time. Counting, counting, forever counting and counting…

Seven Days
Counting like a fool
Trying to keep it cool

Another seven days
Winding up the clock
Going tick tick tock

Another seven days
Grinding out the hours
Holding on to ours

Another Seven days

I’m lost in a cycle
The endless reprisal
Of seven days

This song seems to be about our obsession with counting, mine in particular. We (I) count everything: time, steps, calories, and beats per measure. This song, for example, is, of course, in 7/8 time, meaning there are seven beats per measure. 7/8 is an asymmetrical time signature, and while it’s pretty standard, it’s not used nearly a frequently as 4/4 (appropriately called common time) or 3/4 (waltz). Even experienced musicians need to devote at least a part of their brains to counting to seven when playing in this time signature since we’re habitually used to counting in 4s and 3s. Luckily, 4+3=7, and that’s usually how we feel it (unless it 3+4, a little less common, or 2+3+2, much less common.)

You may be surprised if you’re a non-musician, just how much of a musician’s brain power is devoted to counting in some form. But music is a numbers game (Stravinsky called it the “game of notes”) being all about ratios not only in rhythm but in harmony, melody, and form. We count larger units of measures, taking note of the passing from the “A” to the “B” section and then back to the “A.” We compose music with these ratios in mind: does this section balance out with another so that everything weighs the right amount when the song is over? And so on.

Music is the sound of math moving through time. There is a reason the ancient Greeks considered music to be the original, foundational math.

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