I have always seen and heard of time signatures.
I hear people say "Oh that melody is in 4/4" and i have no clue what they are talking about.
Isn't it just how many beats here are per minute or second?
Also bars confuse me a little.
How do you count bars?

Last edited by Chrisatron at Mar 27, 2009,
The top number is the number of beats in a measure. The bottom number is what note gets the beat. So in 4/4 time there are 4 beats per measure, and the quarter note is the beat. There are two categories: simple and compound measures. Examples of simple would be 2/4 (two beats per measure, quarter has the beat), 3/4 (three beats per measure) and 4/4, to name a few. Compound is the more uncommon stuff, like 6/8 where there are 6 beats per measure and the eighth note has the beat. It helps a lot if you can get a hold of a metronome and just listen for the beats. Hope this helps.
4/4

four beats per measure/quarter notes get one beat.

5/4

five beats per measure/quarter notes get one beat.

so the first segment indicates how many beats per measure and second segment indicates which note.
Compound is the more uncommon stuff, like 6/8 where there are 6 beats per measure and the eighth note has the beat.

6/8 has two beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a dotted quarter note. This is true of all compound meters, with 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 having two, three, and four beats per bar, respectively.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Quote by Archeo Avis
6/8 has two beats per bar, with each beat having the value of a dotted quarter note. This is true of all compound meters, with 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 having two, three, and four beats per bar, respectively.

That's just a different way of breaking it down. The beats equal the same amount each way.
Quote by Kentris.5
That's just a different way of breaking it down. The beats equal the same amount each way.

It's not just a different way of breaking it down. By that line of reasoning, 3/4 is the same thing as 6/8 (no, it's not).
6/8 does not contain six beats per bar, it contains two. Any the beat unit is not an eighth note, it is a dotted quarter note. Beyond that, you defined "compound time signature" incorrectly. It is not just an uncommon time signature (they are, in fact, very common).
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
I'll admit I was wrong about how I explained 6/8 time. As I'm sure you know, the place where the natural accent is different in 3/4 and 6/8 time. This was my error in not mentioning it. However, the actual definition of 6/8 time is that is contains 6 eighth notes. And as far as how common 6/8 time is, in classical music, very, in rock music outside of prog rock, not so much.
Quote by Archeo Avis
It's not just a different way of breaking it down. By that line of reasoning, 3/4 is the same thing as 6/8 (no, it's not).
6/8 does not contain six beats per bar, it contains two. Any the beat unit is not an eighth note, it is a dotted quarter note. Beyond that, you defined "compound time signature" incorrectly. It is not just an uncommon time signature (they are, in fact, very common).

This. And if you were going to compare 6/8 to any time signature, it would be closer to 2/4 then 3/4. But that doesnt matter, cause its not either
Ts do you know note values? I'll give them to you anyway.

Whole note is worth 4 beats.
Half note is worth 2 beats.
Quarter note is worth one beat.
Eighth note is worth half a beat.

The following is all in 4/4

Try tapping a quarter note pulse with your foot, while counting out loud "1,2,3,4", and then clap, saaay...half notes perhaps? So it will look like this:

Clapping half notes

``````Foot:   1 2 3 4
Count:  1 2 3 4
Clap:   1   3``````

Clapping eigth notes: (remember, they are worth half a beat)

``````Foot:   1  2  3  4
Count:  1  2  3  4
Clap:   1+ 2+ 3+ 4+``````

You might feel like a right lemon doing this, but it makes you more aware of what's going on rhythmically, and clapping provides awareness of the attack of the note.
Last edited by mdc at Mar 28, 2009,