Master of Puppets – Metallica – VerseSteve Ley
The verse sections in "Master of Puppets" feature an unusual 'turnaround' rhythm in the fourth measure of each line. Even though the rhythm is played the same each time, it can be difficult to grasp, as it interrupts the pulse. In this article, we will compare several possible approaches to notating this unusual rhythm.
It is possible that the band originally wrote the figure in 3/4, but in performance, rushed the middle part of the measure. However, as they played this rhythm very consistently, I find it most satisfying to notate it the way it was recorded.
The turnaround rhythm is first heard at 0:55. It is most often notated using a 5/8 measure—which looks and sounds like this when played by a computer:
This way sounds too rushed, comparing it to the recording. The next logical way to try the figure is with a longer, 3/4 measure—which looks and sounds like this:
This way, the turnaround sounds too long. In order to find the middle-ground, we need to split the difference—which means moving to a sixteenth-note base.
A 5/8 measure contains 10 sixteenth notes, and a 3/4 measure contains 12. By splitting the difference (finding the middle point of 10 and 12) we end up with an 11/16 measure, which sounds just right!
The 11/16 version is played just like the 3/4 version, but with a slightly shortened rest on beat 2. To count it, you could simply count from 1 to 11, but I find the method below to be more practical. Note that there is no ‘a’ of beat 2.
For those of you who are interested in this measure, Stephen Hudson of ‘Metal in Theory’ explores the oft debated measure in great detail. You can read more about it on his site here.
Recommended For You:Want more Metallica? Get the note-for-note sheet music for Nothing Else Matters. Download and print today!