Is there a technical name for when a piece originally in triple meter is arranged into quadruple meter? (Usually this is done by doubling the first a beat.)

For example, the quadruple-meter arrangement in Biden's inauguration ...

X: 1
T: The Star-Spangled Banner: Biden Inauguration
M: 4/4
L: 1/4
K: Gb
d/B/ | G2 B d | g3 b/>a/ | g2 B =c | d3 ||

... of the triple-meter "Star-Spangled Banner":

X: 2
T: The Star-Spangled Banner: Triple Meter
M: 3/4
L: 1/4
K: Gb
d/B/ | G B d | g2 b/>a/ | g B =c | d2 ||

I've heard similar treatments of "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" in shopping mall background music.

  • 1
    Usually doubling a beat - often not the first.
    – Tim
    Jan 22, 2021 at 15:13
  • Answer - no specified term.
    – Tim
    Jan 22, 2021 at 20:19
  • Was it really in G flat?
    – phoog
    Jan 22, 2021 at 20:48
  • @phoog Yep, at least it wasn’t In F# :0 Jan 23, 2021 at 9:16
  • @JohnBelzaguy - someone told me it was in Lydian - due to that #4...
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2021 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


I've encountered the term metric expansion in at least two sources: a dissertation on Dream Theater by McCandless, and a rather famous book by Jason Yust called Organized Time.

In both instances, the idea is of starting with some particular metrical prototype and expanding at least one section of it. Here, it's the first beat of each measure that's being expanded, thus moving the piece from 3/4 into 4/4.

I can't say it's a term thrown around everyday, but the dissertation is not well known and Yust's book is relatively new (2018). Perhaps with time more musicians will use it.

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