Music with five beats in the bar was almost unheard of in Western music prior to the 20th Century. In fact, it wasn’t really in the public consciousness until Dave Brubeck’s Time Out album was released in 1959. Here’s Take Five from that album:
As you can imagine, five beats in the bar was almost unheard of in the baroque period of classical music. All the more reason to see whether it would have worked. So I wrote this short piece for harpsichord, called Pentacordia, in 5/4 time, to test out the idea. Would Bach have approved?
I don’t know about you but I don’t think 5/4 timing and harpsichords really clash at all. Once you get used to the unexpected rhythm it flows quite well, although perhaps with a bit more impatience than you’d expect for the 18th Century – “can’t be bothered waiting for the sixth beat – let’s just get on with it!”