Tag Archives: time signatures

Timing is Everything: 4/4 vs 6/8

One of my favorite songs from Bee Gees’ pre-disco era is “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” It’s a classic pop song from the early 1970’s era, complete with a lush string section and beautful harmonies from the Brothers Gibb, It’s also a song that uses a 4/4 time signature – the most common time signature in pop and rock.

Have a listen:

In 1972, the Al Green, before he was “Reverend Al,” did a cover version of the song, which in my opinion, takes the original and raises it to entirely new level. Of course, with Mr. Green’s enormous talent and soul, any song he does will sound amazing. With his version of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” he changes the time signature to 6/8 – a time signature that is popular with many classic soul ballads.

Listen to Al Green’s Version:

See the difference? To my ears, the 6/8 time signature is less “choppy” than the 4/4 version and leaves a lot of space for Reverend Al to do his magic. What do you think?