In beginning piano class we are identifying pitches. The examples are written out as three whole notes per measure. The teacher is counting them out as "one and two and, one and two and, one and two and" for the complete measure. There is no meter indicated in the exercise. What would be an appropriate meter? 6/2 ?

  • 2
    It is traditional to write "notes" which don't really form part of "a piece of music" as whole notes. If these notes are an exercise in identifying pitches, then counting them or trying to invent a time signature for them is irrelevant to that purpose.
    – user19146
    Sep 6, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    Wouldn't this best be answered by that teacher?
    – Tim
    Aug 28, 2019 at 11:24

2 Answers 2


It's just an exercise. If you want a time signature 3/1 would do the job nicely. (No, that wasn't a joke.) But there's no need for a time signature.


Yes, given the description, the time signature would be 6/2.

A typical set of exercises would look like this (three whole notes per measure)

Three measures of three whole notes each

And the teacher is counting each whole note as "one-and-two-and"

One measure of three whole notes with counting added as "lyrics"

Clearly there are two beats per whole note, and, by definition, each whole note comprises two half notes. Thus, each beat is a half note, so the bottom number of the time signature would be "2".

It's also clear that there are six total beats being counted, so, 6/2 would be the appropriate time signature.

One measure of three whole notes, fully counted, with half-note indicators added

On the other hand, given the syllables the teacher is using (consistently "one and two and"), there really ought to be additional bar lines, and the time signature would be 2/2.

Exercise re-barred to correspond to teacher's counting: i.e. 2/2 time

  • I didn't downvote (because I like the last paragraph), but I can see an issue with this answer. I would expect 6/2 to be (like 6/4 or 6/8) — a compound time signature. Whereas 3/1 (like 3/2 or 3/4) would be more appropriate for a triple meter. Mar 31, 2023 at 5:02

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