# How simple time and compound time signatures change the rhythm

I'm trying to get out of the "simple time VS compound" tunnel, but I'm still stuck with a bunch of doubts.

To make things clear I wrote the following pentagrams with different time signatures.

Simple time signatures

Compound time signatures

However when I play them on TuxGuitar I can hear no difference. Sow how things work?

Reading on the internet they talk about "strong", "medium strong" and "soft" beats. But who defines how many and where these "accent" should be placed? Is there something mathematical or is it just a convention?

It sounds like your playback software treats each note as exactly equal. Musically, however, the meter (the time signature) determines the relative strength of each pulse within a measure. You would need to add these manually in order to get your software to honor them.

By convention:

• Beat 1 is always the strongest best in a measure (unless otherwise indicated by, say, a strong accent on beat 2).
• The pulse at the measure's halfway point is the next strongest. (So, beat two in 2/2 or 2/4; beat 3 in 4/4; beat 4 in 6/8; beat 7 in 12/8.)
• In 4/4 or 12/8, the second/fourth and fourth/tenth beats are relatively weaker than the two primary pulses, and the former is stronger than the latter.
• In triple meter (3/4 or 3/8), beat 2 is typically second strongest, and beat 3 is weakest, but especially in triple meter it depends a lot on the music being played. (A Waltz, for example, is accented differently than a Mazurka, but both are 3/4.)

Subdivisions

When dealing with subdivisions of the primary beat (the "triplets" in 6/8; sixteenth notes in 4/4; ...) each grouping follows the conventions given above. A subdivision of 4 pulses (e.g., one beat of sixteenth notes in 4/4 time), the pulses would be accented in the same way as each whole beat in 4/4 time, unless otherwise indicated.

• So the first beat is always the strongest beat, but If I have a 4/4 and the first beat is made of (1/16 + 1/16 + 1/8) on which note should I put the "accent"? On all three? Aug 4, 2020 at 22:19
• Within a group of sixteenth notes, the relative accents are like 4/4 time, so in your example, the first 1/16 gets the strongest accent, the 1/8 is next, and the second 1/16 is weakest. Aug 4, 2020 at 22:22
• Consider making that a separate question. Aug 4, 2020 at 22:23
• But is there something logical behind all this? I mean, are these "things" just to learn and keep in mind as they are? Aug 4, 2020 at 22:34
• In general, these are givens that your teacher tells you about. However, you bring up an interesting question about how these meters were developed historically. You'd probably get some interesting answers to that. At a guess, it's related to poetic rhythms. Aug 4, 2020 at 22:45

...they talk about "strong", "medium strong" and "soft" beats. But who defines how many and where these "accent" should be placed? Is there something mathematical or is it just a convention?

It's theoretical. The accent can be achieved with means other than volume. Rhythmic duration is related to accent (longer values = stronger accent), also a pitch or chord change could provide an accent.

The point is that however accent is achieved it will either conform to or contradict a meter and both are used for musical effect. Accent that contradicts the meter is not wrong, the effect is called syncopation.

Regarding you marking of accent in the meters that can be divided by 2 - 4/4, 6/8, 2/8 - there should be a medium accent on beat 3 in 4/4 and each beat after one in compound.

...However when I play them on TuxGuitar I can hear no difference.

TuxGuitar playback probably doesn't have any expression programmed into it.