I am trying to write drum sheet music and I'm not sure if using the following notation, to indicate doubletime

enter image description here
over this one

enter image description here

is allowed.
To me, the first one seems more convenient, especially when you need to indicate 32nd notes in the 160 bpm part, which become 64th notes in the second case.

What do you think I should use ? Do you have an easy-to-read notation for doubletime?


2 Answers 2


In addition to the options you've put up (both quite logical and easy to read), you can specify "double time" instead of the 2nd metronome marking ("doppio movimento" if you're feeling Classical about it), or use a marking like

enter image description here

All of these see pretty common use.

  • Thank you for your reply. I'm new to writing sheet music (I use Musescore as my notation software), and you just taught me something new.
    – user34952
    Nov 29, 2016 at 21:12
  • 2
    Oh, it's also probably wisest to separate the two sections with a double bar line. It makes it clear where the change occurs.
    – user16935
    Nov 29, 2016 at 21:16

Another option is to use the Cut Time symbol -- a C with a vertical bar -- which is equivalent to 2/2 time signature. C without the vertical bar is known as "common time" aka 4/4 time signature.

Cut time sheet music example

When you indicate Cut Time or double time, you need not change the note values, it is understood that now the notes (and measures) following are all half the duration. So you could use your first example, with the Cut Time symbol, and can omit the metronome marking. Note, sometimes composers use the doppio movement marking (mentioned in the other answer) in addition to the Cut Time symbol for extra clarity.

More info here: https://www.liveabout.com/cut-time-definition-2701547

Edit: This applies when you make a change from common time (4/4) to cut time (2/2). If you start the piece in 2/2, then of course you're simply starting it with a feeling of two beats per measure, strong beat every other beat.

  • Cut time is usually taken to mean 2/2 time signature instead of doubling the tempo, but even if we take the description in the link you provided as granted, it only works when you have a double time in 4/4. If your passage is in, e.g. 3/4, you cannot use this cut time symbol to indicate doubling of tempo. (Quote from your link: "When switching from common time, cut time means you’ll be playing twice as fast." Note that it says "common time" which means 4/4, at least in most modern usage)
    – Divide1918
    Oct 15, 2021 at 17:18
  • In general, when musicians see sheet music that switches from 4/4 to 2/2, the instinct is that you'll be playing twice as fast. It indicates a shift in mood as well as speed. That's why there's usually the quarter note = half note symbol (doppio movement) above it, for clarity. It can of course also be written differently to indicate half note = half note i.e. no change in tempo, but without such an indication a doubling of tempo is implied. And yes it only works for 4/4 - OP's question was regarding 4/4. Edited my answer for clarity. Oct 18, 2021 at 19:57

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