Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden – Bridge Groove


"Black Hole Sun" is Soundgarden's most popular song and is still one of the most loved songs of the '90s. It was written by frontman Chris Cornell, and released in 1994. The following year, the song won the award for the Best Hard Rock Performance at the Grammys.

The notation above depicts the first line of the instrumental bridge section, starting at 2:53. The nine beat riff is notated in three measures of 3/4. The riff is played six times with a different fill played in the third bar each time. In the demonstration audio clip, the example has been played four times.

Two pulses.

The ride bell is played semi-regularly in quarter notes, outlining the 3 beat pulse. There is also an underlying 2 beat pulse present, which is stated on the bass drum (and the snare in the first bar). The concept of playing a phrase that contains 3 and 2 beats simultaneously is called hemiola. The 3 pulse is felt every second eighth note, while the 2 pulse is felt every third eighth note. In the notation below, the 2 beat pulse is shown in red.

2 beat pulse in red:

Black Hole Sun is full of interesting rhythmic ideas. It’s a great piece to study!

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