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Asymmetrical Simple Meter in XTC's "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty"

British former post-punkers, again?!  Yes again.  I love XTC, and this song has some tasty 5/4 time licks toward the end.  Listen and enjoy!!

"When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty" - XTC

Intro: Although they have not toured since 1982, when guitarist and songwriter Andy Partridge developed a nervous breakdown, XTC has seen over 20 years of prolific creation, evidenced by the release of 13 studio albums as well as work on side projects (i.e. Dukes of Stratosphear, Fuzzy Warbles box set). “When You’re Near Me I Have Difficulty” appeared on the band’s 1979 album Drums and Wires, which reached #34 on the UK Albums chart and #176 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Analysis: Much of this song is performed in 4/4, with heavy emphasis on the eighth note upbeat (similar to the style fellow British bands of the time who were a part of the second-wave ska movement, e.g. Madness). However, at 2:45 (out of 3:22 of the song), the most prominent line of the song (also the title) is repeated and the meter changes to a quick 5/4, likely to fit the number syllables in the repeated line (10 syllables, each expressed as eighth notes). The meter is clearly 5/4 because the guitar is still playing a ska-style eighth note pattern.

Considerations for Teaching: The end of the song is the most appropriate part to play for the purpose of demonstrating asymmetrical simple meter, but the song contains no inappropriate lyrics or subject matter.

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