I'm new on Music Theory so probably is a stupid question, but starting from a simple measure in 4/4 like this:

example of four quarter-notes in a bar

transformed to compound equivalent signature, I should change to 12/8, and add the dot on each quarter note:

example of four dotted-quarter-notes in a bar

But when I execute the two bars on MuseScore or other music notation tools, they sounds different and the perceived duration of the notes is different.

Could you help me understand why?

2 Answers 2


The tempo marking also has to change:

crotchet = 80 should become dotted-crotchet = 80.

Then it should sound identical.

In MuseScore you can find this symbol in the Tempo Palette.

Changing the note value in the tempo marking is the way to go, because 12/8 means 4 dotted-crotchets beats per bar, and the tempo should tell you how many beats per minute there are, i.e. the BPM.

Setting the tempo to crotchet = 120 would work for a computer, but it'd be obscure for a human performer.


You have a tempo for the 1st example - 80bpm, where the b (beat) is the crotchet, so there are going to be 80 of them playable (or their equivalents) in one minute.

You have no bpm written for the 2nd example, so that needs to be inputted into Musescore - so it can produce the same. Input dotted crotchet as the beat, and bpm as still 80, and it should all play at the same timing as the 1st. My guess is that the 2nd is slower by a factor of 1/3, so it's around 52bpm.

  • so i can have two options: set the beat to dotted-crotchet with tempo 80 or set the beat to crotchet with tempo 120, correct? which can be the best way? Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 17:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.