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25

Time signatures and bars are not there arbitrarily, nor just to help count your way through a piece. They are there to provide guidance on the rhythm of the piece. Where it is accented, where it breathes. Some composers do write pieces with no time signature or bars, as an indication that there should be no consistent rhythm. Eric Satie did this for several ...


20

Your understanding of the math, as it were, is correct. And I would say yes, a multiple of 4 bars of music in 3/4 can be expressed as music in 4/4 (in a multiple of 3 bars), but I would dispute that the same can necessarily be represented as such. The bar line placement of a piece of music has tremendous impact upon live musicians' interpretation of, not to ...


18

In Printed Music In typeset music, time signatures are usually not written with a line between the numerator and denominator (at least no more of a line than is already there). In Text However, when writing text about music, it is an acceptable convention to use a slash to separate the numerator and denominator. See A Style and Usage Guide to Writing ...


13

This will just be an embellishment of @user15077’s answer. This is the beginning of your piece as you’ve notated it: Here is what it would look like with a more standard approach: As you can see, many of the notes are expressed as tied notes now. For example, the quarter-note D-sharp in the first measure is written as a sixteenth tied to a dotted ...


12

In practice, off the page, there is no difference to the listener. On the page, or the written music, each measure in 2/2 will hold the equivalent of 2 half notes and each measure in 2/4 will hold the equivalent of 2 quarter notes, which will simply be drawn differently.


10

Time signatures look like fractions, but are not really. I grew up on crotchets and quavers, so I'll use those words, but the American/German number-names drop naturally out of the time signatures. 3/4 does not mean "3 divided by 4", it means 3 times 1/4, or 3 beats of a crotchet. So the piece is "in 3". In all traditional notation (Beethoven, Mozart, et ...


10

You can't do this algorithmically -- or I really mean to say you shouldn't. But as a musician and arranger, there are infinite possibilities to take some material and rework it into a different format. To the specific example of "Take Five", consider the 5/4 rhythm groove: 5 | 1 2 3 4 5 | 4 | e e - e e - q q | For me, I answer the question ...


9

A bar's duration can be represented using the whole note No, not always! This is the incorrect assumption you're making. A bar's 'duration' depends on the time signature. So, in a standard 4/4 bar, the bar is 4 quarter notes long. (4 * 1/4...see where this is going?) Alternatively, in a 3/2 bar, the bar is 3 half notes long, or 3 * 1/2! So, whilst a ...


9

Let's just pick the first bar apart which is pretty much a mess. I'll write down the note durations as fractions: 3/8 1/16 1/4 9/16 (bar line after 5/16 of that, the 5/16 written as 1/4~1/16). This does not look as much like "composing" as it looks like "let the notation program break the mess across bars and fix this up in the next measure". If this ...


9

Yes. In the treble clef it's called the B line, whilst in the bass clef it's the D line. In alto and tenor it's different... Aw, c'mon, it's nearly Christmas. I'm working from the heading question!


8

Actually, in terms of fractions, 3/4 is the same as 6/8. But time signatures are not fractions. 3/4 means each bar has 3 notes of 1/4 each. 6/8 means each bar has 6 notes of 1/8 each. And yes, the difference is in the way you count it: In 3/4 you count 1,2,3 and in 6/8 you count up to 6 and the notes are shorter. The accents change as well; 6/8 is an even ...


8

My answer would actually be different for your two examples. That is, given no other indication in the score, when executing a time signature change from 3/4 to 6/8, I would keep the 8th note constant, whereas when changing from 4/4 to 12/8, I would keep the beat constant, making the 4/4 quarter equivalent to the 12/8 dotted quarter. But, if the 4/4 - 12/8 ...


7

To find the length in seconds of each beat for any given metronome marking in beats-per-minute (bpm), you would divide 60 (the number of seconds in a minute) by the bpm marking. For instance, if a piece has a metronome marking of crotchet (quarter-note) = 120, each crotchet beat is 0.5 seconds long (60/120). You can follow this simple rule to find the ...


6

The only reason not to use a slash is that it implies division. But it's the closest match to standard notation and the symbol there looks even more like division. You're trying to reproduce what standard notation does, so use / That / will be the least of your learners' worries. I'd say the numbers themselves will be more worrisome. Triple meter? Have ...


6

Lee is right, but there is a simpler way to think of triplets. Typically we break notes up into sets of 2 (or duples). For example, two half notes make a whole note, two quarter notes make a half notes, two eighth notes make a quarter note etc. All a triplet is is putting 3 notes where 2 normally go. So 3 eighth note triplets will always equal a quarter ...


6

I think triplets are always 2/3 of the duration of the 3 notes regardless of the meter indicated by the time signature. So a triplet of quarter notes will take up the space of a half note (or two quarter notes). A triplet of eighth notes will take up the space of a quarter note (or two eighth notes). ...and so on. I pulled up some useful links in ...


6

Two time signatures indicates alternation back and forth between the two. It's just shorthand for writing a new time sig at the start of every bar. The second sig is usually in parentheses, so, for example, 3/4(6/8) would have a bar of 3/4, then a bar of 6/8, then a bar of 3/4, etc. That exact example is from the "America" song from Bernstein's West Side ...


6

No, not really, though it's not terribly common in some styles. I'd say it's relatively rare in Baroque music, for example (or at least it's not notated as such when it does occur, e.g. cadential hemiolas...). OTOH, it's often necessary when transcribing earlier music, due to the later's lack of meter. I think it may have become more acceptable again ...


6

A whole note takes up a full measure in 16/16, 8/8, 4/4, and 2/2 time only. A whole note has the value of 4 quarter notes or 2 half notes. Since how common 4/4 time is (it is even also referred to as common time) it makes sense that the notes name line up with the use in 4/4. In 3/2 the whole measure is represented by a dotted whole note (i.e. a whole note ...


6

In short, no. That slash is just a shorthand for typing; that's not how time signatures are typically notated. Some purists would even say that 4/4 is not a valid way to notate a time signature, because it implies equivalence between key signatures that represent the same fractional value. However, this notation has become somewhat accepted in print ...


6

If we use 'em, it's because they seem necessary to us. It might be that we need an irregular effect for expressive purposes; it might be that if we don't group the notes just so, the lines won't line up properly together rhythmically; it might be that we need them to avoid arriving at a definite downbeat until exactly the right time, and that irregular ...


6

Practically speaking, there's no difference between writing a piece in 2/2, or writing it in 2/4 and halving all of the note durations. They would sound exactly the same. The difference is largely convention and tradition. Marches and upbeat musical theater numbers are traditionally in cut time, but most other styles of music prefer the quarter note to ...


5

The question has already been answered correctly by Lee and Dom, but I would like to add some pictures as clarification... I don't have an example right now from an actual piece, though I'm quite sure I've seen something similar. Anyway, it's not hard to come up with your own examples, so here's one which shouldn't even sound that odd: This should at ...


4

In plain text you can use the vertical bar symbol | (aka pipe) instead of /. It's a very common character, so your keyboard should have an easy way to type it. It would look like this: 4|4. You can check the list of Unicode characters and search for other characters that might be used instead of /, like ⧘ ⦙ ⬍, there's a lot of them (some have mathematical ...


4

Another question and answer give answers for any beat type and tempo, but for the examples above, it depends upon which note length beat is 120 bpm. For instance, a crotchet bpm of 120 (as would probably be used in 4/4), will always give a crotchet length of 0.5 seconds, whole-note length of 2 seconds, half-note length of 1 second, and so on. If, on the ...


4

Each of these can be thought of as a conversion factor. Typically, you're converting everything to or from beats (which are the basic unit of time in music). If you recall "dimensional analysis" from high-school physics, this is a great place to use it! Time signature numerator = beats/bar Time signature denominator = beats/whole-note (i.e. what division ...


4

If you need a two-bar count, the one I'm used to is just a-1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3 (can also be used for 6/8, depending on tempo) [the first 'a' giving the 'swing, last triplet' pickup if the piece swings, otherwise it's left out.]


4

What is happening is that they change the interpretation of the rhythm of the repeating melodic figure. First you have a triplet or 12/8 feel, where each note of the melodic figure is interpreted as an eighth note (or eighth triplet, if you think in triplets). Here you have four beats before the pattern repeats. Then the same melodic figure (continuing at ...


4

In theory, the exact same music could be written in either time signature, either with the notes being half the (written) duration in 2/4 and then played at half the speed (4 eighth notes in 2/4 taking the same amount of time as 4 quarter notes in 4/4 time) OR with identical note durations and twice as many measures of 2/4. In practice, time signatures ...


4

Well, you could write that as (3+3+3+4)/4, indicating a fixed cycle, but time signature can change during a piece as well, in which case you could just indicate the changes. I do believe that such meter is fairly uncommon in popular music, as it leads to a cycle of 13 units. In 20th Century 'Classical' music this kind of things are quite a bit more common, ...



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