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Time Signature

Do you know how to count music?

Time signatures are placed at the beginning of a piece of music. They contain two numbers that show the number of beats (or counts) in each measure and the kind of note that receives one beat. In other words, it indicates the pulse of a music piece, the rhythm.


Time signatures are used to identify a measure as to both the number of beats and the value of each beat because we divide music into beats. You can think of the beat as the 'pulse' of the music. It consists of two numbers; the top number represents the number of beats contained in a measure. The bottom number represents what type of note gets one beat.
 
 
 
This time signature means there are four quarter notes (or any combination of notes that equals four quarter notes) in every measure. A piece of music with this time signature would be "in four four time" or just "in four four" or common time.
 
4/4 TIME SIGNATURE
 
The 4/4 time signature is the most commonly used in almost every genre of music. It means there are four quarter notes (or any combination of notes that equals four quarter notes) in every measure. A piece of music with this time signature would be "in four four time" or just "in four four." 4/4 time doesnt have to be written as numbers. Four four time is used so much it's often called common time, written as a bold C instead of the two numbers.
 
Counting in 4/4 Time
 
 
 
 

3/4 TIME SIGNATURE

 

The 3/4 time signature means there are three quarter notes (or any combination of notes that equals three quarter notes) in every measure. A piece of music with this time signature would be "in three four time" or just "in three four."  The 3/4 time signature is sometimes called waltz time. If you're writing a piece of music to sound like a waltz, you would really want to use the 3/4  time signature.
 
 
 
 

6/8 TIME SIGNATURE

 

A piece in six eight might have six beats in every measure, with an eighth note getting a beat. This is also a very often-used time signature. You would count the beat: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Since beats normally get divided into halves and quarters, this is easier for composers to write beats that are divided into thirds.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Time signature can help you set the basic mood for your piece. For example, in 3/4 time the music will more than likely feel like a waltz and make you dance, while composing a piece in 6/8 time may sound romantic.

 

Yoke Wong recommends the following piano course

Easy Beginner Piano Course




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