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Moderately slow, in 2, half note=96

I have a song that is 96bpm but it says "Moderately slow, in 2" at the top. Does this mean the song is actually 192bpm and that the person who wrote the notation decided to write it as 96bpm? Could someone explain what this is and why it is used?

It is different because this piece is in 4/4 and also, I was more interested to know why the sheet music is written this way. if "in 2" @ 96bpm is the same as 192bpm why not just write the sheet music in 192bpm?

  • What's the time signature? I'm guessing the "in 2" part refers to the method of conducting. – John Doe Feb 9 '18 at 17:23
  • @John Doe time signature is 4/4 – armani Feb 9 '18 at 18:02
  • @ Neal I read that thread before posting but it is different because this piece is in 4/4 and also, I was more interested to know why the sheet music is written this way. if "in 2" @ 96bpm is the same as 192bpm why not just write the sheet music in 192bpm? This is not covered in that post so mine is not a duplicate. Thanks – armani Feb 9 '18 at 18:04
  • @armani With the suggested bpm, is there a note (quarter, eighth, half) associated with it? – John Doe Feb 9 '18 at 18:53
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    According to your image, this piece is not in 4/4. The time signature indicates cut time, 2/2. – Neal Feb 9 '18 at 19:43
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The photo you posted shows that the music is in “cut common time” (denoted by the crossed C time signature), which is another way of writing 2/2. Your beat-note is a minim (half-note), so there are 2 beats per bar (measure). The metronome marking is also clear: minim = 96 is 96 minims per minute. I do understand your confusion, though: the stipulation “in 2” is redundant in this case, adding nothing to understanding of the tempo.

Now, if the tempo marking was along the lines of Moderate, in 2 ♩=192 the "in 2" would convey some extra information, namely that the feel would be a 96 bpm 2-in-a-bar.

  • I don't know why the piece is notated like this because isn't this the same as 4/4 time? I can count 2/2 but I can also count 4/4 time just as well albeit much faster. Is music notated like this to be easier to read? – armani Feb 10 '18 at 7:38
  • @armani — Halving the number of beats, but not the rate of notes, makes all the difference in the world to how the music “feels”. 4-in-a-bar @ 192 feels cramped compared with 2-in-a-bar @ 96: the music “breathes” more at the slower tempo. Now there are occasions where one needs the music to have a frenetic cascade of beats, but this piece is not one of them. – Dean Ransevycz Feb 10 '18 at 22:22
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It's notated in 4/4, but it's to be played in a 2/2 feel. Think 'One.. Two..' rather than 'One, Two, Three Four'. I suspect the mm mark of 96 refers to half notes, not quarters. 'Beats' can be any note length. You've been told the 'beat' is a half-note by the 'in 2' instruction.

Also consider the possibility that the piece was notated by someone who isn't very good at notation. He might not know quite what to ask for.

  • Yes the 96 refers to half notes but wouldn't this be identical to 192 @ quarter notes? When I listen to the song I find myself counting 4/4 not 2/2. The song is called "Do you remember" by Jack Johnson. Thanks – armani Feb 10 '18 at 7:48

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