I know people ask about time signatures often, and I've read some of the posts, and haven't seen an answer to what confuses me.
I know that : 4/4 means 4 quarter notes. 3/4 means 4 quarter notes.
So here's what confused me: in the second example, what are they a quarter of? They're not a quarter of the measure, they're a 3rd of the measure.
You can't fill something up with 3 quarters, that would leave part of it empty. But you can fill it up with 3 quarters of something else, but I have a hard time grasping what it's quarters of.
Is it "3 elements of what would be quarter notes if it was in 4/4"? So is 4/4 like the benchmark and are the other time signatures depicted relative to that?