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

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54
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6answers
23k views

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 ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

(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 ...
30
votes
7answers
19k views

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 )?
17
votes
6answers
3k views

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) ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

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 ...
16
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
7k views

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 ...
13
votes
5answers
426 views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
449 views

C in Treble or Bass Clef

I see a 'C' like sign in the beginning of the staff. What does it mean?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

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, ...
11
votes
7answers
638 views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
164 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. ...
9
votes
4answers
775 views

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?
9
votes
6answers
838 views

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.
9
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
339 views

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 ...
8
votes
6answers
190 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
341 views

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?
7
votes
4answers
461 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
747 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
520 views

Need help with notation and time signatures

This is my first twelve-tone composition, and I realize that it's terrible. My problem is that I was told that I'm not writing in 4/4 correctly, and I have no idea how I'm supposed to interpret that. ...
6
votes
5answers
554 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 ??
6
votes
4answers
283 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
439 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
339 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

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?
6
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
94 views

short segment of different time signature

Is it frowned upon to have a short segment of a song, perhaps only one measure, to be in a different time signature? Does the level of frownage vary by style? Background: I'm working on a classical ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
87 views

Switching Gears from 4/4 to 7/8 and back to 4/4

When I count 4/4 time signatures like the one bellow, I do it like this 1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a My question is, how would I switch gears and count the 7/8 bars? How do you count 8th ...
5
votes
2answers
175 views

What is the meaning of the song “Solid Four”?

There is a song by the Andrews Sisters from the 1940s whose lyrics talk about a difference between eight-beat rhythm and four-beat rhythm. For example: The boogie woogie was never like this, ...
4
votes
5answers
740 views

Is it okay to have number of notes in a bar that doesn't conform with the time signature?

Just a newbie question. In musical notation, is it okay to have number of notes in a bar that doesn't conform with the Time Signature? For example, look at this music sheet: Can you see that the ...
4
votes
2answers
578 views

Is the time signature switching every measure?

I think that the reason my compositions in DAW's have seemed off is because they've actually been changing time signatures throughout, and I haven't accounted for it. I tested this by making this tab ...
4
votes
2answers
719 views

3/2 Time signature

So a bar's duration is measured in beats. A bar's duration can be represented using the whole note, so bar duration in beats is a whole note. Isn't a 3/2 measure just spilling over? 3 half notes is ...
4
votes
3answers
158 views

Tempo, time signature and note lengths [duplicate]

Is there any sound numerical correlation between tempo, time signature and note lengths(duration in time)? For example: With some certain time signature like 6/8 or 4/4 and with a 120 bpm tempo what ...
4
votes
2answers
660 views

I have a song in my head, I know how it sounds, but I can't get it to translate well to DAW

I've had a full-fleshed out song in my head for days, but I can't figure out how to get it started. I THINK I have the tempo correct, but when I play it out, it doesn't line up with the measures, and ...
4
votes
3answers
120 views

What happens technically when you accentuate on a time-signature?

When you have a 4/4 time signature you typically accentuate beats "1" and (minorly) "3" for every measure. On a piano, what does that mean technically? Is beat "1" just louder or is it also a (little) ...
4
votes
1answer
323 views

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?
4
votes
1answer
247 views

The importance of cut time [duplicate]

I have wondered for a while what the purpose of Cut Time (2/2) actual is. While studying music theory I've always been told the reason is to reduce the use of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in a ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

What beats does the horn typically play on in a 2/4 march?

Wikipedia states: French Horns tend to always carry the rhythmic backup of a march. For example, in cut-time marches, they are typically assigned upbeats (the + of 1 and 2) to provide the "pah" ...
4
votes
3answers
138 views

Beginner's question about compound time signatures

Hello I am learning musical theory, I have a question about compound time signatures : I read that for a compound time signature, like 6/8, "the upper number is the number of divisions thus you ...
4
votes
2answers
960 views

How to determine time signature of drum tab?

Recently I started playing drums on the side just to relax, so nothing serious. I picked up this song because the drums seemed reasonably complex so that they would present a fair challenge for the ...
4
votes
3answers
314 views

I need help understanding a complex (or maybe compound) time signature

I composed this song a few years ago originally using a tracker (an old-school, very freeform compositional workflow), and have been recently trying to transcribe it into a more modern DAW (Ableton ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

Guitar Bluegrass basics

I've recently gotten interested in learning to play bluegrass and need some direction for how to use previous knowledge and experience to pick up this style as quickly as possible. A summary follows ...