I watched a video on youtube and I got some info about meters. In the video it was explained that in duple meter (2/4) the first beat is strong(accented) and the second beat is weak in a measure and in 4/4 meter the first beat is strong, 3rd is a medium beat and 4th and 2nd are weak. So when we are playing piano in duple meter, do we have to play notes louder on strong beats and normal on weak beats or do I have to know more about this, I know I might be sounding stupid here but I have just started learning music theory Any links to valuable articles related to this topic would be great. Don't mind my bad English.

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    Related question. Clicking on the time-signatures tag will provide more related questions and answers.
    – guidot
    May 18, 2017 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


To get a sort of rhythm going, you need loud(er) and quiet(er) notes in your tunes. This is dictated by the time signature. In 2/4 time, beat 1 is louder than beat two. In 4/4 time, beat 1 is loudest (like always), 2 and 4 are less so, but 3 is quieter than 1, but louder than 2 and 4. Listen to a lot of songs and you can feel and hear that, although it's often quite a subtle difference, with some songs changing the feel by moving the emphasis off those beats,so it's not as straightforward as it seems.

As has been said so many times before - the theory tries to explain what happens, but it isn't a set of rules that we have to follow. So do not have the idea that learning theory will make music easier - necessarily.

  • Can you give me some links to this topic which explores it more? May 18, 2017 at 16:00
  • Sorry - don't do links. Google is your friend!
    – Tim
    May 18, 2017 at 16:10
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    "To get a sort of rhythm going, you need loud(er) and quiet(er) notes in your tunes." That is true in a lot of Western music, but it's not always true. It doesn't apply to jazz, for example. And it certainly doesn't apply to other musical genres - e.g. classical Indian music, where some rhythm patterns have more than 100 "beats in a bar"!
    – user19146
    May 18, 2017 at 16:50
  • @Alephzero - Thus the end of my first para. However - I believe here the OP is not talking about anything apart from Western music, so classical Indian music is not relevant.
    – Tim
    May 18, 2017 at 17:32
  • I don't think strong and weak beats necessarily have anything to do with loudness. You can feel a strong and weak beat even in syncopated rhythms where no notes are played on the beat at all. Plus best emphasis, when it happens, is done at least as often with pitch choice and instead of or in addition to loudness. In rock drumming, the snare is the naturally loudest kit piece and is usually not played on the first or third beat at all in 4/4 time. May 19, 2017 at 2:57

You don't need to over-think this. Sing a march to yourself. "be Kind to your Web-footed Friends .... for a Duck may be Some-body's Mo- Ther..." (The Stars and Stripes Forever, capiche?) The capital letters are the 'One' counts. The places in the music that get the left foot when marching. That's how much accent you have to give to ONE, two, ONE, two in a 2/4 piece. It isn't forced. It's really just 'how the music goes'.

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