Pink Floyd’s Money and its Unconventional Time Signature

Welcome to the rhythmic world of Pink Floyd’s “Money”! Crafted by Roger Waters and brought to life by David Gilmour’s iconic vocals, this track stands out not just for its compelling lyrics but also for its intriguing musical structure. At its core, “Money” features a distinctive riff in the unconventional 7/8 time signature, a rarity in rock music that adds a unique twist to its groove. But as we dive deeper into the song, during the guitar solo and the ending, it transitions into the familiar terrain of 4/4 time. Join us as we explore how these rhythmic choices shape the listening experience!

A Rollercoaster of Rhythm: Exploring the Time Signature Shifts

David Gilmour’s legendary guitar solo takes us on yet another rhythmic excursion. While staying in 4/4, the feel changes to a swung groove, with the eighth notes played in a triplet feel. This change infuses the solo with a bluesy, introspective quality, inviting you to reflect on the song’s message.

As the song draws to a close, we return to the original 7/8 time signature, bringing our journey full circle. The unsettling atmosphere returns, leaving you with a lingering sense of unease and a powerful reminder of the song’s critique of the influence of money in our lives.

The Power of 7/8

The song starts with the familiar, cyclic rhythm of a cash register sound effect accentuating the 7/8 time. This gives way to the iconic guitar riff, where each measure is divided into three groups of two eighth notes, followed by a group of three eighth notes.

This grouping of (2+2+3) is an asymmetrical rhythm rarely found in rock music. The pattern never settles into a predictable groove, creating an edgy sense of forward momentum. During the verses, Roger Waters’ unusual phrasing works with this staggered rhythm. His vocal lines spill over bar lines and avoid landing squarely on downbeats. This enhances the feeling of imbalance, mirroring the song’s theme of money’s power to corrupt and distort life.

Full Circle Back to 7/8

As “Money” builds towards its climax, it returns to the 7/8 riff from the introduction. The cycle is complete as we leave rocking along to the same warped rhythm that began our journey. This bookending by 7/8 creates satisfying symmetry within the song’s unconventional structure. It also leaves the listener unsettled, emphasizing the lyrics’ themes of greed and materialism.

By boldly experimenting with time signatures, Pink Floyd crafted an enduring classic that continues to influence generations of musicians and fans. The rhythmic innovations of “Money” make it one of rock’s most distinctive and compelling tracks.