TLDR; So I've got a piece that's predominantly in a nice, slow, 4/4 common time at 76 bpm. Halfway through however, in order for the score to not look like a horrific mess, I needed to keep the same pulse (76 bpm), but instead count it in two, effectively halving the bar length and giving it a cut-common feel - the tempo/pulse stays the same, but the "conductor" is conducting in 2, not 4.

I knew I didn't want to just write a tempo change 2x the previous one. I've never had to deal with up until now, but the solution I came up with was:

  • Change from 4/4 (C) to cut-common.
  • Specify "double time" in the new section However, I wasn't 100% sure if "double time" actually "doubled" the tempo or it just cancelled out the cut-common effect.

Tell me if my solution works and if not, any help on how to do this in a sleek way would be much appreciated.


  • 1
    Sounds as if it's actually not twice as fast - new crotchet = old crotchet in duration. It's only the feel that's changed. You may have halved the length of the bar, but b.p.m. remains.
    – Tim
    Jul 24, 2020 at 6:01
  • What's wrong with a tempo change 2x the previous one? "Doppio movimento" is a reasonably common tempo indication and means precisely that: double the previous tempo.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 24, 2020 at 10:50
  • Please provide an example of the change in time section so that we can make a more informed opinion
    – user70304
    Jul 24, 2020 at 13:38
  • @Dekkadeci - nothing wrong - in some pieces, except here, crotchet = crotchet, so there's no doubling of tempo.
    – Tim
    Jul 25, 2020 at 6:07

1 Answer 1


I'd favour 2/4 and keeping crotchet/quarter=76 for two reasons. One is that changing the duration notation forces performers to re-adjust to the new notation; if you keep the same notated tempo, no re-adjustment is needed. Another reason: you say that you want to keep the same 76 BPM pulse (rather than a 152 BPM pulse). So if the music feels as if the pulse is the same, it seems more natural to notate it that way, too.

I don't know if this example is relevant to your piece but, just in case: the duet (no. 9) from Act 1 of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer. The outer sections are a gavotte, 4 moderately slow beats to the bar. Later sections are more impassioned with semiquavers/16ths. For those, the time sig changes to 2/4 but the pulse is the same.

  • I agree completely with this. Even if it would mean rewriting already written music from 2/2 to 2/4, it just makes sense, totally no confusion.
    – user70304
    Jul 24, 2020 at 5:50
  • The OP says this: "Halfway through however, in order for the score to not look like a horrific mess...". It's possible your answer will never get accepted as a result, as the question asker has already determined that the note lengths in the 2/4 version are too horrific to bear.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 24, 2020 at 10:53
  • @Dekkadeci an example would greatly help, it maybe the exact opposite that the music before the change may need to be doubled in duration to suffice less "horrific mess".
    – user70304
    Jul 24, 2020 at 13:36

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