I am following the lessons from the website "www.studybass.com". I stumbled upon this exercise and i think that the time signature 2/2 is wrong. It is impossible for 2 half notes to fit in a bar that has 2 beats. So should I mentally change the time signature? Or is the exercise right? screenshot

  • Richard's answer was great and provides what you are currently needing. One thing I would make sure you pay attention to as you progress in your theory knowledge is Compound Time Signatures, which do not follow the same logic. As Richard described, the numerator typically tells you how many beats in a measure and the denominator tells you what value the beats have. In a Compound Time Signature, you'll find that this is not accurate; instead it is showing how many subdivisions and what type. Ex: 6/8 = 2 beats made up of 3 eighth notes each. Just something to be aware of for the future! – Basstickler Aug 11 '16 at 21:46

The exercise is correct.

The numerator of the time signature does indicate the number of "beats." However, just as important is the denominator of the time signature, which tells you what note value receives one beat. Thus the 2/2 time signature means that there are two beats in the measure, where each beat is one half note in length. Thus a measure with two half notes fits 2/2 time exactly.

This time signature is also known as "cut time," or alla breve.

The trick is to recognize that a quarter note is not always one beat. It's only worth one beat where the time signature has a 4 in the denominator.


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