As we know there are two main common meter :- simple and compound. We all know that simple meter divides a beat into two and compound meter into three. We also know that a measure holding two beat is duple, three beat triple and four beat quadruple so on. Now my question rise here. I saw some where in internet a music sheet using 2/4 meter which seems "simple duple". 2 beat in each measure "duple" and it would have been normal if a quarter note or eighth note use those beat space because they can be divided into two which make sense to be a simple. But a triplet? I found they using two triplet of eight note which we know 1-triplet = 1 beat so, 2-triplet = 2 beat. It fitted fine with the 2/4 time signature in the view of "duple" I think we can say two dotted quarter note made a triplet (if i'm wrong at this point tell me guys). But in view of "simple" a triplet seems to be divided in three part of a note then how is it fitted on "simple" ? If triplet is a note divided in three then isn't it suitable to be in compound? Is 2/4 meter really a compound duple or simple duple? Please help me to clear my misunderstanding.

  • Could I ask you to work on the formatting of this question. It is very hard to read as is and that may very easily affect the quality of the answers.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 19, 2017 at 9:58
  • I'm not that great on english never mind if you can edit my question keeping in care what I'm trying to say that will be great @NeilMeyer Jun 19, 2017 at 10:45
  • @SOuřaanGřg I think your English is off to a good start; I understood your question no problem!
    – Richard
    Jun 19, 2017 at 13:20

3 Answers 3


If ALL the notes relate to triplets, then you will have six quaver triplets per bar, and it would be better written in 6/8 (compound duple). If only some bars have triplets, and others contain the normal 4 quavers, 2 crotchets, or a combination, the time sig will probably stay as simple duple, 2/4. So, it depends on the writer and the tune itself. One will always be a better fit than the other.

  • I have less reputation for now but submitted a up vote for your kind help! When we have a dot with any note value is the dot left uncount ? I mean doesn't the dot take effect on the number of beat per measure of a meter? A two "quarter dotted" note is on 2/4 meter which seem only "quarter" note been counted for beat per measure but "dot" doesn't seem to be counted? Jun 19, 2017 at 2:17
  • A dot after a note increases its value or length by an extra half of its original. BUT - triplets are actually three identical notes that are played in the time of two of those same notes. A kind of opposite to what the dot does!
    – Tim
    Jun 19, 2017 at 6:16

2/4 is a simple duple meter. It doesn't matter how many triplets, quintuplets, septuplets, or any other tuplets are in the music--it's still a simple duple meter.

Now, if you notate all eighth-note triplets and no other tuplets (including bog-standard duplets) in the entire 2/4 piece, people may argue that your music should be in 6/8 (a compound duple meter) instead.

(I'm answering based on my best understanding of your question. I hope I'm interpreting your words right...)

  • I have less reputation for now but submitted a up vote for your kind help! It mean as long as a note value fit in the meter we can add it without worrying about "simple or compound" ? Just keeping in mind with duple,triple,quadruple etc.. ? Jun 19, 2017 at 2:00
  • You can put in any notes you want as long as they fit in the meter (such as a 16th-note quintuplet and an 8th-note triplet in the same 2/4 bar). Consistently put triplets instead of any other type of tuplet in a piece, though, and people will wonder why the piece is written in a simple meter instead of a compound one.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:57

I think you have a very cursory understanding of what a Time Signature is. The beats of time signatures can have any number of notes in them. Compound vs Simple is much more an issue of what beats consist of.

Compound time has dotted note values for beats where Simple time simply has notes without dots for beats, this has very little to do with what particular notes a beat can or should consist of.

A compound time signature can have two notes in a bar trough the use of duplets, just in the same way as a simple time signature can have three notes in a beat trough the use of triplets


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