Music Monday! Buckle up for Lateralus by Tool:

This is an epic song that has had many covers, including one with cellos + drums (by Break of Reality: and one with a very prominent horn section (by Brass Against: There are many things to notice about this song, but I'll focus on three: the Fibonacci series as an inspiration, polyrhythms, and the concept of _motif_.

Fibonacci series: in the verses, the vocals follow the Fibonacci series in the number of syllables. Listen, starting at 1:37, at the number of notes/vowels in the lyrics: "black", "and", "white are", "all I see", ... The number of syllables are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3. Then, at 2:04, the numbers are 13, 8, 5, 3.

Polyrhythms: appropriately enough, when the lyrics go "feel the rhythm" at 5:37, then vocals fit on groups of 3 beats, but the drums don't quite sync up because they are in groups of 5. This happens until 6:20, then they all go to 3.


And last but not least, motifs: music motifs are parts of a melody or rhythm that are used in several places, that give the piece a certain identity or recognisability. In this case, there's a rhythm motif that can be heard starting at 0:30, then at 1:00 with the guitar+bass+drums, then at 2:30 right before the chorus, then at 4:48 on the bass. You can listen to it isolated at (PDF:

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