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22

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 ...


19

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

The "C" after the clef in place of the time signature stands for "Common Time," and it is shorthand for 4/4 time. If you see a "C" with a vertical line through it, that stands for "Cut Time," and it is shorthand for 2/2 time.


16

"Crotchet" is the British term for quarter note. A "Minim" is a half note and a "quaver" is an eighth note. 3/4 is a time signature. More specifically, it is simple, triple time. The top number in this time signature indicates that there are three beats in each measure. The bottom number (below the slash) means that one beat is defined as a quarter note, ...


16

I think the author of that Wikipedia page has rather misinterpreted Nancarrow's title page for the Study (linked on Roland Bouman's comment to the question). (1/√π)/√⅔ refers to a tempo ratio between two voices, not a time signature. Nancarrow was rather obsessed with canons. The canon is a form where multiple voices each play the same music at some time ...


15

Using only your ears, it's impossible to determine the exact time signature the composer would have used when writing the score. This is because there are many ways to write the same thing, all of which sound the same when played. For example, a piece written in 3/4 time can easily be re-written in 3/8 time by halving all the note values and playing it half ...


11

Whilst even time-sigs are far more common that odd ones, once the 'feel' of a tune is running, most people will go with the flow. Even when there is a change of time in the middle of a line, most people don't spot it. Having sung/played 'The 12 Days of Christmas' (topical !) for many years, it took me by surprise when I looked at the music; the time changed ...


9

I would say that the specific name is "experimental." My feeling is that it comes from the school of thought that attempts to turn the back on musical tradition and come up with something new. There's a certain arrogance to it in my opinion (famously, Schönberg said upon coming up with his rather superficial tone-row concept that he had assured the ...


9

Yes. This is a pick-up bar, also known as an anacrusis. This melody starts on beat 4 and so this note could also be called an up-beat. That is why the first bar is incomplete. When this happens the last bar should have a complementary number of beats (in other words, the number of beats in the time signature minus the pick-up bar, 3 beats in this case). As ...


8

The history goes that religious music was written in 3 time, reflecting the holy trinity.So a circle would be used. When music was written in 4 time, a BROKEN circle would be used. This over time became printed as a C. So it represents 4/4, but doesn't actually stand for 'common'.As above, when split, it means split time - 4/4 but played with a 'two' feel.


8

As others pointed out, the piece you cite has a "pick up measure". Note though that it is not categorically ok for measures to not add up to the number of beats in the time signature, it can only happen at the first measure. There is another case where you can have an apparent mismatch in the number of notes and the time signature. This happens if the ...


7

There are many more time signatures. Just use the ones in the "Popular" list, because those are probably the only popular ones that are not in your list. Popular: 2/2 (very, very popular) 3/2 6/4 (very popular) Other time signatures: 4/2 (Schuber Impromptus Op 90 No 3) 7/4, 9/4, 10/4, and 14/4 (all used in this song, but I forgot the name). x/16 (used ...


7

I believe that the person a step beyond a layman would be the most likely to interpret an odd meter as a mistake, however, there are many factors that weigh in here. First of all, we have to say that our layman is of the Western music persuasion, as odd meters are very common in other cultures (including some that fall very near the Western tradition). The ...


7

The purpose of "Cut Time" is not to reduce the use of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in a piece, it is to facilitate easier reading for musicians. Simple metric durations (e.g. 1-4) are much easier to calculate and respond to than, let's say, 32nd notes, which take just a moment longer to interpret because of the additional visual stimulus. When a player ...


7

Start by finding the beat. Tap your finger for every beat, like a human metronome. Resist any urge to tap uneven rhythms; just the underlying constant pulse. Once you've got that, listen for the start of bars. There are various indicators that a bar is starting; an emphasis, a chord change, etc. Now count. "One" for the first beat, then counting upward, ...


7

The 107 defines the tempo(speed) of the song. If you see a metronome, you'll see that you can determine the speed. The speed of the specific song is 107 bpm (beats per minute). Also, you can see that the duration of the note is a quarter. That means that if you set your metronome at 107 bpm, every tic would be a quarter. So, the correct name for this would ...


7

I'm guessing this is from guitar tab, with 6 lines. The 6/8 really means 2 beats per bar, made up with 3 triplet quavers (1/8 notes). This will give each bar only 2 beats, despite numbers like 6 and 8.The tempo mark found above tells how many b.p.m. (beats per minute) the tune should be played at, In this case, 107. A metronome can be set to this, and every ...


6

"Most popular" is subjective. There are many genres of music and over 800 years of music written in a form we'd recognize as music, though it wasn't until the 14th century that French Catholic copyists would develop the timing system most similar to what we have today, which then spread across the Roman Catholic world and across to the Americas. Even then, ...


6

Yes. Is there a difference between 2/4 and 4/4 explains this using 2/4 and 4/4. However, this is a little different because it is compound meter. 12/8 has four beats divided into three equal parts. It would be counted like this: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The primary accent is on the first beat, the secondary accent is on the seventh, and there are two ...


6

Simple answer - they just count, as they do in any song. But here, they may count 1,2 -1,2 - 1,2 - 1,2,3 - 1,2. If the beat is slower, they may count 123,456 - 123,456 - 123,456,789 - 123,456 for each of the quavers (1/8 notes). The pulse is followed in that all quavers are the same length, so the count will be steady.


6

This is either compositional wanking or a composer having a joke at literalists' expense. Since any metronome (or human) can only approximate any time period to some precision, the beat will always be a rational part of a second. For that matter, the repeatability of the beat will only be exact to some rational limit. So claiming you want the beat to be, ...


6

To elaborate on @keshlam's point about older music, there are all sorts of musics for which regular measure lengths are simply not part of the genre. Go back far enough and you'll find non-mensural music, such as Gregorian and pre-Gregorian chant. The music of the trobadors (11th-13th centuries) was not noted with rhythm, and there's an argument made that ...


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

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

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 ...


5

On the piano we really only have loudness to work with for this sort of emphasis; other instruments may additionally use other emphasis for beats, but not typically duration. There may be styles and interpretations that mess with the durations of notes on various beats but they are not denoted by the time signature.


5

Wow, what a great question! Sorry, I don't know of a specific name for this kind of time signature. Judging whether this is a useful time signature is almost a philosophical question. If the main function of a time signature is to provide performance information to the performer, then no, this isn't very useful. But, a time signature can also be used to ...


5

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 ...


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

If executed correctly, those time signatures have powerful affects and create a distinct feel. In fact, these time signatures are very common in Eastern music. Sometimes problems come when people don't create patterns that fit the style of the time signature. For example, in 7/8, the grouping is counted by the idea of 1 2 3 - 1 2 - 1 2 so it is most ...



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