Composer Robin B was looking at the scores for Death Note anime music. He found something very interesting in the signature of Wammy House alumni themes. They're all in uncommon time.
Common time, as the name suggests, accounts for the majority of music out there. It's the 4/4 rhythm that underlines practically every song you ever heard. That beat overwhelmingly dominates the popular download charts, and all other tracks besides.
The Death Note theme songs, plus Light's Theme, Misa's Song, Fuan and all of the themes associated with the shinigamis are in 4/4 throughout.
But it is not present in the themes of L, Near and Mello.
There the common time signature of four beats to a bar disappears under a riot of changing rhythms. It happens with such a regularity that barely two bars ever match the same beat. The Wammy House themes are ALL in uncommon time.
Apparently Hidecki Taniuchi - who composed this and all the Wammy House themes - was told to wrote something akin to Tubular Bells for L. He began with a direct lifting of the opening bars, then developed those in a different direction to represent L.
The uncommon time signature starts at 7/8 (or 14/16), then alternates each bar with another at 6/8 (or 13/16), until it reaches the chorus. Suddenly we're in familiar territory with 4/4 (indicating L solving a case?), before it scoots off again into 7/8.
This exact time signature is repeated in Near's Theme.
You're hearing here an alternating pattern for each measure of 6/8, 7/8, 6/8 then BAM 8/8. Songsterr has helpfully provided the sheet music for Near's Theme to demonstrate this.
Two Wammy's House kids and so far, so musically identical.
So what about Mello the second of L's successors, and the only other genius detective to have a bespoke theme?
In short, it's nearly in Common Time. Good old 4/4, with the only remarkable feature being that it alternates with 3/4 (aka 6/8). Those 6/8 bars have been seen in both L and Near's Death Note themes, and could be accordingly viewed as the time signature pattern for Wammy's House.
Once again, I've lifted the tab score from Songsterr. This is how Mello's Theme begins.
My friend Richard Mak just looked at the tabs and told me that this is extremely weird. Songs usually stay with one measure per bar throughout the piece. They don't alternate like this, and they certainly don't soar off into 3/4 for several bars before coming back to the same unusual pattern.
The 3/4 isn't precisely the same as the 6/8 prevalent in the other two detective themes, but it's close enough. It links Mello, at his most musically rebellious, straight back into the Wammy House stable.
These Uncommon Time signatures are so strange as to not be coincidental. Hidecki Taniuchi knew precisely what he was doing.
Edit: I've now added the Death Note music soundtracks to our goodies section.