Can you change meters or use unusual meters in your music? Absolutely! Please do! Unusual meters or changing meters were an outgrowth of Gregorian chant and music of the Renaissance, but re-introduced heavily in early 20th century music by composers like Erik Satie (who sometimes didn't even use barlines), Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, and numerous others. It's not all that uncommon in popular/commercial music, used by bands like The Beatles, U2, Frank Zappa, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and others. You can use 5/4, 7/4, and numerous others, but my personal favorite is 8/8, which you divide into 3+3+2, 3+2+3, or 2+3+3. 7/8 can be divided into 3+2+2, 2+2+3, 2+3+2. Changing meters can be done by sections (different meters for the chorus and the verses) or within sections. Don't be afraid to experiment. In my "art" music for print music, I change meters or use unusual meters frequently to accomplish what I want musically or emotionally. My personal record is 22 meter changes in a piece that's 37 measures long (see picture or the first page of the score). Changing meters or using unusual meters are just more tools to experiment with and incorporate in your music as you deem appropriate.
I am a huge fan of meter changes and "odd" meters, as well as various methods of breaking the signature to provide different 'feel(s)'. Another thing I have experimented with is superimposing one meter over another... for instance 6/8 over 4/4. I have a track that I did that on and at first listen it sound a bit like a shuffle.. if you pay closer attention it becomes obvious. Out of everyone that's listened to it, I received an email from one person that described it accurately and found it very interesting.
Can someone explain to me how to do this in a DAW!
I'm a big Bela fan.
Stephen Weber, do you play your music in and determine what meter it is later, or decide on your meters before you write?
I have an old song that I wrote about ten years ago that only seems to work when the verses are in 4/4 and the chorus is in 6/4. I might just have to try recording it again...