# Tagged Questions

Numeric ratio indicating the subdivision of measures according to groups of beats.

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### Is there any real-world difference between time signatures such as 4/4 and 8/8?

These days I pretty much play everything by ear, but was originally trained in strathspey and reel violin so realise I should know the answer to this, but I can't remember what, if any, the practical ...
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### (1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?

I recently found this article on wikipedia about lists of musical works in unusual time signatures and the first unusual time signature is (1/√π)/√⅔. I looked up the piece that was listed as having ...
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### Is there a difference between 2/4 and 4/4

I cannot figure out the actual difference between these two beats. Isn't it sufficient to have only 2/4 (or 4/4 )?
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### Is there any practical difference between 3/4 and 3/8 time?

Is there any practical difference between 4/4 and 8/8? regards a common and unusual time signature; both 3/4 and 3/8 time are pretty common. What difference in performance is implied in the the ...
13k views

### What is the “theory” behind “odd time signatures”?

There are a number of bands, Genesis, The Police, Crack the Sky, Gentle Giant, that have all incorporated unusual time signatures as their core sound - some entire "pop"songs, "Ordinary World - Duran ...
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### How is it that 12 eighth notes fit in a measure labeled as common time?

I am looking at Franz Liszt's Consolation S.172 No.3. I have checked out two different music scores of the same composition and they both have the same time signature (standard), however the base line ...
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### How to tell the time signature of a song by listening?

Every song has some kind of time signature; even if different parts of the song have different time signatures, there is always a time signature. When learning a song by ear and no score, knowing the ...
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### Relationship between 3/4 and 4/4

I understand the meaning of music notations such as 3/4, 4/4 and so on. The first number is the number of beats per measure, while the second number is the note-duration (quarter, half, one-eighth) ...
27k views

### Does 3/4 time signature differ from 6/8?

I've always wondered how time signatures were thought of- I got the question because I noticed that well in terms of 'fractions', 3/4 is just half of 6/8. Does that apply to music when counting beats ...
16k views

### Tips on counting and playing odd time signatures

I'm pretty interested in learning, composing and playing along to songs using odd time signatures (3/4, 5/4, 7/8, ...) and I'd like some advice on how to wrap my head around all this stuff. For ...
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### The practical difference between 2/2 and 2/4 time [duplicate]

In practice, what is the difference between 2/2 and 2/4? Doesn't the emphasis fall in the same place either way?
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### When practicing a song with frequently changing time signatures, what is the best way to count in?

My percussion ensemble is working on a song with different time signatures, i.e. it is constantly changing between 4/4, 7/8, 5/16 and so on. During the rehearsals, we sometimes want to start somewhere ...
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### Whole bar rest in 6/8 time?

Can one expect to find a semibreve rest in 6/8 compound time?
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### C in Treble or Bass Clef

I see a 'C' like sign in the beginning of the staff. What does it mean?
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### What time signatures are used in flamenco and related styles?

Recently I've been trying to get some flamenco spirit into my playing. I've already experimented with some 'gypsy' scales and it feels good ... but I've also realized that part of the secret is in ...
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### How do you know what beat to emphasize based on the time signature?

In learning the guitar I have run across various time signatures. In each time signature it seems as if you are supposed to emphasize different beats. Is this something that you just have to intuit, ...
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### Are odd time signatures perceived as execution errors by layman people?

I recall being told once that odd time signatures like 5/8, 7/8, etc. are perceived by layman people as if the interpreter had an execution error (like he/she made a tempo mistake). Is it common ...
75k views

### What do the 3/4 and 4/4 numbers mean?

In music notation, I've always been looking for a simple explanation of those numbers that appear on the far left of musical piece, such as 3 over 4 or 4 over 4. I have a hunch they affect the ...
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### What is the importance of tempo and time-signatures?

I would like to ask what is the importance of tempo and time-signatures. By this I mean, aren't tempo and time-signatures all interchangeable. For example, a 4/8 60 BPM can be also described as 4/4 ...
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### 8 beats per measure

I found this typesetting of a Late Renaissance cornetto piece, and I was instantly perplexed when I tried to hear it in my head when I noticed that there were 8 beats per measure. Is this something ...
26k views

### What is the connection between time-signature, beat, and tempo?

What is the connection between time-signature, beat, and tempo? Mainly time-signature and tempo. Tempo is beats-per-minute I know, but does the time-signature affect it? For example, in a 120bpm ...
878 views

### What does it mean when there are two time signatures

I am learning the Blazhevic number 34 for tuba and it is in (9/8 3/4) time. What does that mean? It seems to me that some measures equate to be in 3/4 while others equate to be in 9/8. Very confused. ...
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### Does the line between the time signature have a name?

In a time signature (4/4 for example), does the / have a term or a name?
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### Triplets in 9/8 time

How do eighth note triplets work in 9/8 or 6/8 time? I know in 4/4 they take up the space of two eighth notes but haven't been able to figure out how they work in 8.
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### Making sense of 5/4 time signatures

Normally, we're told that 5/4 is usually 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. (At the very least, it's unusual to have a meter that large without "secondary stress" beats.) However, how do we make sense of the ...
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### What is the rhythmic notation for 5/8 the duration of a whole note?

Assume that the whole note time equals 8. Then a note which time equals 3 will be written as 1/4 note and dot. How you write down a note that time is equal 5/8 of a whole note?
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### How can I learn timing from a guitar tab?

When playing guitar/bass from tabs, I find that I can learn the fingering easily, but the timing is often wrong when I play with a backing track. I'm fairly noobish to music notation/tablature, but I ...
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### How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4?

How do you know if a song has triplets in 4/4 or if the tempo is 3/4 ? For example, consider this song : For the first line , I can count 1,2,3 ,1,2,3 ,1,2,3 ,1,2,...
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### What time signature has 3 out of 8 beats accented?

It's been a very long time since I've done musical theory but I know this rhythm is quite common, especially in dance and even some punk/metal. So, some songs have 4 beats to a bar but it has 2 ...
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### How the time signature affects how to play a melody

I was playing on my clarinet the song Memory from the musical, Cats. It is written in 12/8 time. Although I know what that means -- the equivilent of 12 eight notes in a bar, I don't understand how ...
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### Are there names for referring to the top or bottom numbers in a time signature?

In a time signature of 3/4 (three by four), what is the name given to the 3 and the 4? I know it in my own language, but can't find the answer for the English equivalent.
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### How drummers and percussionist should handle change in time signature?

I'd like know how a drummer or percussionist should handle a change in the time signature of a piece such the one found in Low Light by the Pearl Jam. I am familiar to syncopation as "placement of ...
3k views

### When is it proper (if ever) to extend time signatures (8/4 vs 4/4)?

When listening to most contemporary music, in my experience, time signatures tend to be in "common time", or 4/4. But sometimes it feels like the phrase or measure extends beyond the four quarter ...
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### David Brubeck's “Take Five” in 4/4 Time

Dave Brubeck's famous hit "Take Five" is traditionally arranged in performed in 5/4 time. My jazz ensemble instructor, however, said he once witnessed a performance of "Take Five" in a "funky 4/4 time....
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### How can I find the length in seconds of a quarter-note (crotchet) if I have a tempo marking?

Given a tempo marking in bpm (beats-per-minute), how can I work out the length of a crotchet (quarter-note) beat?
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### Strumming, picking patterns for unusual time signatures

If the time signature is 8/8 or 4/4 and let's say we have 8 eighth notes in a bar the picking should just be down up down up down up, etc. But what happens if we have 7/8? Particularly in the next bar....
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### What's the correct notation for a full bar note or rest in non-common time?

Obviously for 3 and 4/4 you use the respective semebreve or dotted minim, but what about 7/8, 9/8 and 15/16? I heard the convention is to just use a semibreve, but that doesn't make sense to me ...
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### When does the amount of beats not add up to the time signature? (Besides pickup measures)

I read from https://www.boundless.com/users/232513/textbooks/understanding-basic-music-theory/notation-1/time-8/pickup-notes-and-measures-54-13529/ that there are exceptions to the rule that there ...
785 views

### What do these numbers at the start of the music score mean

At the start of a guitar or drum score , there are always these 2 numbers which I don't understand What do the 2 numbers circled in red mean ??
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### Does 4/8 Have a Faster Tempo Than 4/4 at 60 BPM?

When playing 4/8 at 60 bpm will the rhythm or my foot tapping should be twice as fast compared to 4/4 at 60 bpm? If that's the case then does that mean bpm has been changed to 120? But I have read ...
510 views

### Best way to indicate a time signature in inline text?

If I want to express the time signature for common time in inline text (like the text you're reading), without the use of special graphics or symbols, I find it tempting to type it this way: 4/4 But ...
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### Tips for using complex time signatures in a “catchy” pop song?

I'm looking to write some music in the vein of a band I discovered recently called Icarus The Owl, who use some pretty wacky time signatures (anything from 21/16 into weirder territories) but always ...
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### Which time signatures are associated with particular types of music?

A waltz is always played in 3/4 time, but are there any other types of music that are associated with specific time signatures?
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### Will straight crochets in 5/4 and straight quavers in 5/8 at same BPM sound the same?

If you write 5 1/4 notes in 5/4 at a tempo of q (quarter note)=120 and write 5 8th notes in 5/8 at e(eighth note)=120, one after another would they sound the same?
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### An effective method for counting and identifying time signatures.

When I listen to some odd time signature songs I have some serious trouble dissecting the time signatures at times. Songs with 6/8 or 3/4 are easy enough to identify, but some progressive rock/metal ...
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### How does one analyze tricky time shifts?

It can be hard to analyze time changes if one isn't used to odd rhythms. If we take a section of the track Divine Moments of Truth by Shpongle as an example, since it's changing timing several times (...
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### What is the percentage breakdown of different time signatures and their rate of occurrence in popular music?

I'm currently working on a probabilistic, procedural music engine and although I could choose relatively decent arbitrary distributions, I'm curious as to whether or not there have been any formal/...
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### How do you count many bars of silence (rests)?

Playing in a jazz band there are often 5,6 or 8 bars of silence. This is no problem as I can count them on my fingers. But how do I count larger rests, for example 52, 112 or even longer rests, as in ...