Songs that use 13/8 time

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Time signatures with a thirteen on top certainly live up to the name "odd" . In this video we'll take a look at some in 13/8, 13/4 and even the much rarer 13/16 time.

And, an additional unique thanks goes to Douglas Lind, Vidad Flowers, Ivan Pang, Waylon Fairbanks, Jon Dye, Austin Russell, Christopher Ryan, Toot & Paul Peijzel, the channel's Patreon saints!.

This video was modified by David Hartley. Check out his YouTube channel here:.


that use 13/8 time

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About the Author: Virtual Piano Online


  1. I know this isn’t about 13/8 but this song is a bit too wild to ignore. In You Move by Depeche Mode, the verse alternates between 15/16 and normal 4/4, which means you could kinda say that the verse is could be interpreted as being in longer bars of 31/32 which is pretty interesting.

    1. @Philip Sharp yeah, that’s a tough one to count, as that weird little break even switches up in thr middle.. love that section, though

    2. Another crazy one is “The Art Of Dying” by Gojira. I’ve heard it explained before and my head still explodes

    3. while we’re mentioning 31, the song “fishing frenzy” from the splatoon series is written in 31/16. it plays during the special waves of the game’s PvE mode, so the lurching sensation is well suited to create a sense of stress

  2. I think it’s impressive how many examples you’re able to find that use such obscure time signatures that even I haven’t seen much in concert band music. Personally I would classify Schism as alternating between 5/8 and 7/8 and Jóga as 4/4 with some 5/4 bars thrown in because even though the constantly changing time signatures may confuse the performer, it does give the performer a better idea of where to use accents.

  3. I really like your explanation of the difference between13/4 and 13/8 – How one is an odd number of complete beats and the other has an extra half beat leading to it sounding more “wonky” than the quarter note version. Something I feel like I knew, but would probably not have been able to explain to anyone else – until now!

  4. The Nintendo and jazz examples never landed in my ear no matter how many times I listened. The rock songs were instantly familiar though, which probably highlights the way we have become to accustomed to typical drums patterns (snare on 2 and 4 etc)

  5. Joga is one of the most effortless pieces of music that uses an odd meter to me. I find it so pleasing.

    1. @David Bennett Piano i trust no one who doesn’t like that song, haven’t find such person yet tho.

    2. I always felt it as 4 4’s with 3 lopped off of the last one. It’s one of those songs where form follows functionin a beautiful way – she’s describing being urgently, overpoweringly in love so of course there’s no time for those last three notes of filler, we MUST jump right to the next line so she can tell us more. Beautiful song, and great description as always @David Bennett Piano !

  6. I always heard that section of Schism as 6/8 and 7/8 so the full 13/8 makes sense, also I grew up playing Ocarina of Time (which is still one of my favourite games of all time) and had no idea that part was in 13/8 so that was really cool to learn. Additionally, the verses of Vicinity of Obscenity by System of a Down alternates between 13/16 and 15/16

  7. During the formal music training I had back in the 1970s, weird time signatures like 5/4 (never mind 13/8!) were basically not mentioned. You’ve really expanded the horizons.

  8. Funny that for Turn It On Again, Mike Rutherford played a slow guitar riff at first. Phil told him to speed it up and said ‘Do you realise it’s in 13/8’ on which Mike replied ‘What do you mean it’s in 13/8, it’s in 4/4’ but it was in 13. Classic Genesis jam session

    1. Tony Banks (who doesn’t always enjoy playing live) found it amusing seeing people try to dance to this song because it has a strong pulse (making people want to dance) but the extra beat kept throwing them off.

  9. Antarctic Reinforcement by DM Dokuro off the Calamity Mod soundtrack for Terraria is the first example of a song in 13/8 I think of. The song primarily has this chopped up breakbeat which helps disorient your sense of time and you seem to get lost in the rhythm of the song. That is until the B section (or drop or whatever you want to call it) where you think you’ve found where the rhythm is but it’s still in 13/8 so even that part throws you off very quickly.

    1. Oh yeah, that came to my mind too! I’m gonna have to listen to that album again, it’s so good…

  10. The hook from Ontology by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is in rotating 7/4 and 6/4. The song has a super manic energy and the feel of the 13 very much adds to that crazy and manic feeling

  11. This is one of my favourite closing tunes to date, I could easily imagine it in a Ramin Djawadi score.

  12. I am unbelievably impressed and concerned that David has managed to make a time signature video without a single Radiohead song

    1. @Riah Lexington I do remember hearing a lot of odd-sounding time signatures on that Smile album. You’d swear 13/8 or 13/4 would have appeared somewhere on it…

    2. @David Bennett Piano have you checked out the Smile album? There’s barely a song in 4/4 there, maybe there’s a 13/8 hidden somewhere.

  13. “Concrete Jungle” from the Simcity 3000 soundtrack (by Jerry Martin I think) is another in 13/8. It gave me the feeling of things getting increasingly frantic as the city grows

  14. I want to mention Starless by King Crimson. It has that odd time signature of 13/4 in the second half of the song which is a masterpiece.

    1. Exactly what I thought of. The jam at the end of the track is mostly in 13/8 and yet has an incredibly infectious groove

    2. Gavin Harrison played in Porcupine Tree before (and after) his time in King Crimson, and there’s a great video in which he describes how he thinks of The Sound of Muzak in 7/16 rather than 7/8.

  15. I’m glad you referenced Turn It On Again, especially your word about it previously. I think in the comments on that video I mentioned that in interviews, Phil has always said it was in 13. Weirdly Mike didn’t realize it was an odd signature until Phil pointed it out to him.

  16. Great video, nice to see some Genesis songs being mentioned. Would be cool if you did a video on “How Genesis writes a song”, that would be super interesting, loads of slash chords and epic modulations in their music. I would add Free Will, Jacob’s Ladder and Natural Science by Rush as songs that have a 13/8 time signature.

  17. Weirdly, YouTube just suggested a great guitar cover of the song, but Plini’s “Electric Sunrise” is also in 13/8, and it is a fabulous 13/8. Its broken up into a 26-beat pattern of 3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-2 (cover by Yuichi)

    1. A friend of mine also did a cover of this one, i think its on spotify! Nick Loduca, Electric Sunrise :)))

  18. 10:26 On the topic of alternating time signatures, Mastodon’s “Sickle and Peace” verse section has three 7/8 measures followed by an 8/8 measure, which finally feels “complete”. Then, they stop with the 8/8s before changing to 6/8 for the chorus. Really interesting use of this concept.

  19. The track ‘Knowledge’ from the OST for the indie game FEZ is a good example of 13/4. The whole song is actually a really cool rhythmic anomaly, it builds up a big polymeter stack of 4/4, 3/4, 5/4, and eventually 13/4. The harmonic idea of the song is also intriguing, it switches back and forth between A minor and F# Melodic Minor.

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