Wow. I happened to be looking for something else, (non-musical), and noticed a lot of bad advice, precious little good advice, but no correct answers.
Don't be angry for my saying so, but I think "Ticks and Leeches" is almost entirely, from beginning to end, and to the last notes before, during part of, and after the interlude: in 13/16. (The most difficult parts are, anyway.)
There are places where the one measure of 13/16 becomes two of 7/16 by adding an extra note, and some might call that a 14 time. But I think of 14 having a straight dispatch through 14 counts, not two sevens, though technically, there is no difference....."Little Fly..."(2@7/16)
Basic 13/8 or (13/16)
Played on the spot to help give an example of the time signature involved, here....
"This is what you wanted...": posseses an even count at 16, which works as if we blended a 12/16 and accented four more at the end. Thus, drummers can call that 4/4. But due to the insistent renewal of the downbeat, this needs to be reflected in the Time Sig, cut time can be ruled out because it does not function this way. Thus, "This is what you wanted..." has a solution for everyone at 4/8, describing the blend of cut time intensity, and 12/8's triplet potentials in the bottom-end.
The interlude, though slowly, is also 4/8.
There are 7/8 parts, like the slow, grinding riff which immediately precedes the interlude.
If I didn't address your question, leave it in the comments.
How Odd Times Work, The Easy Explanation...
- And play this figure in your head until it matches the figure DK plays at the very beginning of Ticks and Leeches, perfectly.
What makes the count 13/8, or 13/16, is basically whether we count it with "one an two an..." as shown, which makes it 13/8 because we use the downbeat and its "an", or whether we use the down beat and its "e" "ans" "das", as in 13/16.
- The final authority in determining a time signature is "does one repetition of one riff fit exactly into the time I am theorizing?"
- There is no such thing as 1.5 beats per measure, because, if you played two measures, you would have three beats. Same with 4.8, after five measures, you have 24 beats, and 6/? @ 4, 12/? @ 2, or six bars of 4/4: these are a few examples of what time signature does. It is not an attempt to limit anything.
- Otherwise, we cannot have one fifth of one beat, because after five beats, we would now have one beat extra, making it a 6 time.
- The beat exists as a whole unit. We can have a fraction of a measure, but we cannot sustain an expression of a fraction of one beat.
- When determining times, we are only assessing what the value of that unit is, then expressing it as a ratio. For example, 7/16 describes Seven beats in a measure, where each beat is a sixteenth note.
- And for each situation, there is no magic: only math and rational thinking.
- "I hope you're choking..." 13/16 fits for each voice of each instrument in the sonic landscape, here: so it is the time..whereas
- "Little Fly!.." two 7/16ths could describe the drums, but the rest of Tool could be scored without much difficulty at 7/8. Who wins? Experience! Pretend they do, but know that, when it comes to time, the drummer is the last and final authority, the drummer is the lawgiver. But discretion is the better part of valor.
- The part leading into the interlude, the kind of slow and grindy, palm muted deal, I forgot (when I first wrote this) to say that this is a sub of 7 and a sub of 8. They can alternate, but a drummer needs to be comfortable describing this as a bar of 7/8 followed by another @ 2 bars of 4/8 (4/4 is also OK), as well describing it as one whole character @ 15/8.
No need to explain the dozen or so places the time changes, but I will give you how I do it for my band: nobody likes me, if, say for instance, I enforce some 11/8 riff on them. And, for ease of transitioning from 11/8 verses to choruses, back to verses, bridges, whatever: I find myself on the losing end of compromise trying to force tight musical turns when they just wish "...man, what difference is it gonna make?"... when it is my job to write out "when 13/8 becomes 4/4 or 7/8", and that is a pain!
But, if the tolerances in the odd time are too tight, and what is being suggested as a compromise is something where the singer and guitarist feel that they need a restoration of "normal abstract" because it is easier for them, compromise can be the hardest thing!
So, in Tool's Ticks, those places where changes occur, look for there to also be 3 bars at 13/16, and one leg of the 7/8 and 2 bars of cut time, for example.
How Do I Know When I Am Counting A Time Incorrectly?
- Cycling: When we count say, just for argument's sake, a 6/4 riff, such as Synchronicity 1 by the Police, and we count it in 4/4, the One Two Three Four is going to start over on the Five Six count of the first bar, and then, this count shall invert every other bar:
5/4, 5/8, are essential to all odd time skills in playing the drums. From there, the foundations are established in all odd time signatures.
For 7's (8, 16) think of these as being a measure with four beats, and a second leg with three.
For 9's (9/4, 9/8, 9/16, 9/32, etc) remember: in a slow four four count with nine down beats, a lot of magic can happen distinguishing it from simply being three measures of 3/4, 3/8, or 3/16, etc. Also, 9/8 can be very cool when used to sound like four bars at cut time, with one extra note tacked-onto the end,
The 11's are either one leg of 5/8 or 5/4, and a second leg of 6/?, or vice-versa. They can also have a seven beat four beat effect, or eight, (2 @ 4/4) and one @ 3/4, or changing bottom numbers from 4's, to 8's, 16's, etc...
13's have the two legs, one six the other seven. But, it could be nine, and and four, or vice versa, another trick for defining that you are in 13 and NOT 12/something is that one leg is even, the other odd. If both legs are odd, check for the definite presence of a five count sequence, if you find it, and hear another seven count sequence, it is 12.
Remember: 15/8 is an expression of three 5/8, but Meshuggah, in their Scandinavian evil, often downbeats a slow count of 15/8, and riffs the sixteenth note accents in subdivisions. I heard the Sweetwater Tama snare guy, Nick DiVrigillio, playing a 11/8 riff on YT, same thing, he uses a subdivision on the 5/8 leg at the end, two entirely different genres. The uniting clinch? Both drummers have an almost omniscience in 5/? times, thus the beat follows instincts.
29/16 is a time where you have six sets of four 16th notes, and five more 16th notes tacked on at the end.
Here is the 11/8 Tama demo piece. Really ingenious all-around, but the point is, that I am not selling a drum. Just listen to the first parts...Count it 1 an 2 an 3 an 4 an 5 an 6 1 an 2 an 3 an 4 an 5 an 6...