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A friend recently proposed a bit of a puzzle: How many times does the time signature change in the Rush song Limelight? I hadn’t ever really tried to figure it out before so I thought I’d give it a shot, and rather than just erasing my work, I thought I’d go ahead and post it here in case anyone else is interested.

I’ve chosen to use additive time signatures, which may look a bit odd at first. When you see something like “4+3/4” it means that there are seven beats in the measure (4+3), but that the beats are arranged in a group of four then three (as opposed to three then four, or two then three then two, etc.) You can just as easily write this as 7/4, or as alternating measures of 4/4 and 3/4.

It’s also important to note that music can be written down in any number of ways. For example, in the verses I heard two measures or 3/4 followed by two measures of 4+2/4 (or 6/4). This could have been written as six measures of 3/4, but it would have been more awkward to count and syncopated. The music felt like it should be broken down like I have done it here.

Also, interestingly, at the end of the bridge and the start of the last chorus, the drums are playing in 4/4 while the rest of the band is playing in 3/4.

If you want to follow along, you can listen here:


  • 6 measures 4/4
  • 4 measures 4+3/4


  • 2 measures 3/4
  • 2 measures 4+2/4
  • 2 measures 3/4
  • 1 measure 4/4
  • 1 measure 4+3/4

Fill 1:

  • 1 measure 4+3/4

Repeat: Verse


  • 7 measures 3/4
  • 8 measures 4/4

Fill 2:

  • 3 measures 3/4
  • 2 measures 4+3/4

Repeat: Verse, Fill 1, Verse, Chorus

Fill 3:

  • 2 measures 4/4


  • 30 measures 3/4

Repeat: Chorus, Fill 3


  • 12 measures 4/4

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Here are three more piano tunes that I wrote many moons ago. Click the “Play” icons to listen.

My wife named the first one. Its name is formally “Ducks with a Mission,” but I just call it “Ducks.” (I have no idea why she gave it such a strange name.) It starts off slowly and simply, with a melody that might sound a little familiar.
Alex Franke - Ducks

Next is my Minute Waltz, which (unlike the more common Minute Waltz)has the unique distinction of being precisely a minute long. (Before I get any nasty comments about this, I’ll say up-font that I did allow for a tiny fade-out at the end.)
Alex Franke - Minute Waltz

I’m not quite sure how to describe Flutterby, except to say that I can’t actually play it. 🙂
Alex Franke - Flutterby


Here are a couple more piano tunes I wrote a while back while I was tinkering around with the fugue style.

In a 3-voice fugue, the main theme is introduced in the first voice, then repeated an interval above with the second voice enters, then again below when the third voice enters. In most cases, after the voices finish their themes, they go off and do their own things for a little while (actually with some variations of parts of the theme) before the main theme comes back again at the end.

I chose a different instrument to record these (other than piano) mainly because I liked the sound of it.

Click the “Play” icon to listen.
Alex Franke - Fugue 1
Alex Franke - Fugue 2

Here’s a recording from an old reel-to-reel tape of a little boy singing. It’s cute. 🙂

Singing Boy

Wedding Song

Here’s a short piano tune I wrote back in the 90’s after I found out that a dear friend was tying the knot. Enjoy!

Click the “Play” icon to listen.
Alex Franke - Wedding Song

I was working on another rocking horse in the shop today and my son kept picking up a horse leg and pretending it was a violin. I didn’t want the leg to get damaged, but I also wanted him to be able to “play” violin so I banged out this little toy.

He loves it — even took it to bed with him! So I thought I’d share it. (He gets the hair from me.) Click for a larger picture.

And no, I did not glue the bridge on. 🙂