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24

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 ...


21

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 ...


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 ...


17

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 ...


16

Normally, we're told that 5/4 is really 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. Well, I have to ask "told by who?" It is not the case that 5/4 has to be interpreted as either 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. It is perfectly valid to use groups of 5 crotchet beats as the overall rhythmic template of a piece of music, without having to have the same sub-groupings in different ...


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 ...


10

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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, ...


7

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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


5

I think I've figured this out So to write such a note one would have to use a tie Write a 1/2 note and 1/8 note and tie them together


5

As you have said, you have to use a tie for this. You can tie any combination of notes that make up 5/8ths. However, it's also true that you can (and should) give a visual indicator of how you want the notes grouped metrically by which ties you use for the longer values. For example, if you accent the first and third 8th notes (very common in 5/8 time), ...


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 ...



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