How do I count this song? It seems to have too many beats per measure? I can count 1&2&3&4& and it seems to fit. But this is 2/2 time. When I try 1&2& I end up with left over notes...???

enter image description here


2/2 time is pretty well the same as 4/4 time, as far as counting is concerned. Just count 1&2&3&4&, using quavers for each of those 8 counts. It must work. I hope you're not getting the stems up and stems down mixed up. They all have their own counts, but where there is one of each, on top of each other, that's only a number or its appropriate &.

When counting any music, there are several ways it can be done. With shorter notes, in 4/4 for instance, count 1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a. This still gives the four main beats, but allows each to be split ito four separate bits. It's important to keep the numbers, as that keeps you aware of where you are in the bar.

So, if you were to insist on counting one, two, in that cut 4 bar, you could count 1e&a2e&a. That keeps your one, two, but helps by splitting the whole bar into eight, as in my first paragraph.


2/2 time means that there are 2 beats per measure and that the half note gets the beat. Counting 1-2-3-4 won't work since there are only 2 beats in the measure. In 2/2 time "1" is the first half note, "2" is the 2nd half note. Quarter notes would be counted "1 + 2 +" and 8th notes would be counted "1e+a 2e+a" or rather like 16th notes in 4/4.

  • Thanks. That helps a lot. Also trying to figure out how to play/count the tied 3rd note (for example) in the 1st measure when has a new note below the tie (Under the C/G chord notation).... – arncas Jan 1 '20 at 18:28
  • @arncas Notice that there are 2 voices notated on 1 staff, one with stems up and one with stems down. The bass voice plays quarter notes on the beat and the treble voice plays quarter notes on the off beats, which means they are simply alternating. In duple time (such as 2/2, 4/4, etc) ties are used to break up notes crossing the halfway point of the measure. This is supposed to make it easier to read because it doesn't hide where the beat is. If you understand how ties over barlines work, then just imagine there is an invisible barline in the middle of each measure. – ibonyun Jan 1 '20 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.