Music education always & always looking forward.

Up the Hill, Seven Steps at a Time: Changing Meter (emulating Asymmetrical Simple Meter!) in Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill"

Is it 7/4 or just alternating measures of 3/4 & 4/4? You decide!

There are many who would argue heavily for the merits of Peter Gabriel, citing him as one of the most important solo artists of the late 20th century.  All I've got to say is that I would not be inclined to argue with them.  Carry on!


"Solsbury Hill" – Peter Gabriel

Intro: Upon leaving the band Genesis in the late 1970s, Peter Gabriel released “Solsbury Hill” as his first single as a solo artist. The song would appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #68 in 1978 and as a top 20 hit in his native UK. It precluded a highly successful solo career, during which Gabriel released nine albums and won three BRIT awards and six Grammys. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2014, after already being inducted as a member of Genesis in 2010.

Analysis: While the meter of this song could be considered changing meter, the consistent change between 4/4 and 3/4 emulates 7/4 meter. The pattern continues throughout the entire song, changing only in the last two measures of each chorus, each of which are in 4/4 time.

Considerations for Teaching: The lyrics of this song describe a spiritual experience Gabriel had upon climbing Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. The lyrics contain no religious controversies, as well as no inappropriate language or other subject matter.

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