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The time signature (also known as meter,metre, and measure signature) is a convention in Western music notation to specify how many of a particular note value are contained in each measure (bar). The time signature is a notational device representing the meter, an auditory feature of the music.
In a music score the time signature appears at the beginning as a time symbol or stacked numerals, such as or 4
4 (read common time or four-four time, respectively), immediately following the key signature (or immediately following the clef symbol if the key signature is empty). A mid-score time signature, usually immediately following a barline, indicates a change of meter.
Most time signatures are either simple (the note values are grouped in pairs) or compound (grouped in threes). Less-common signatures correspond to complex, mixed, additive, and irrational meters.
Most time signatures consist of two numerals, one stacked above the other:
For instance, 2
4 means two quarter-notes (crotchets) per bar, while 4
8 means four eighth-notes (quavers) per bar. The most common time signatures are 2
4, and 4
By convention, two special symbols are sometimes used for 4
4 and 2
These symbols derive from Mensural time signatures, described below.
Simple meters are those whose upper number is 2, 3, or 4, sometimes described as duple meter, triple meter, and quadruple meter respectively.
In compound meter, the note values specified by the bottom number are grouped into threes, and the upper number is a multiple of 3, such as 6, 9, or 12. The lower number is most commonly an 8 (an eighth-note or quaver): as in 9
8 or 12
Other upper numbers correspond to irregular meters.
Musical passages commonly feature a recurring pulse, or beat, usually in the range of 60-100 beats per minute. Depending on the tempo of the music, this beat may correspond to the note value specified by the time signature, or to a grouping of such note values. Most commonly, in simple time signatures, the beat is the same as the note value of the signature, but in compound signatures, the beat is usually a dotted note value corresponding to three of the signature's note values. Either way, the next lower note value shorter than the beat is called the subdivision.
On occasion a bar may seem like one singular beat. For example, a fast waltz, notated in 3
4 time, may be described as being one in a bar. Conversely, at slow tempos, the beat might even be a smaller note value than the one enumerated by the time signature.
Mathematically the time signatures of, e.g., 3
4 and 3
8 are interchangeable. In a sense all simple triple time signatures, such as 3
2, etc.—and all compound duple times, such as 6
16 and so on, are equivalent. A piece in 3
4 can be easily rewritten in 3
8, simply by halving the length of the notes.
Other time signature rewritings are possible: most commonly a simple time-signature with triplets translates into a compound meter.
The choice of time signature in these cases is largely a matter of tradition. Particular time signatures are traditionally associated with different music styles—it would seem strange to notate a conventional rock song in 4
8 or 4
2, rather than 4
In the examples below, bold denotes the primary stress of the measure, and italics denote a secondary stress. Syllables such as "and" are frequently used for pulsing in between numbers.
4 is a simple triple meter time signature that represents three quarter notes (crotchets), usually perceived as three beats. In this case the subdivision would be the eighth note (quaver). It is felt as
Compound: Most often, 6
8 is felt as two beats, each being a dotted quarter note (crotchet), and each containing subdivisions of three eighth notes (quavers). It is felt as
The table below shows the characteristics of the most frequently used time signatures.
|Simple time signatures|
|Time signature||Common uses||Simple drum pattern||Video representation|
|Common time: Widely used in classical music and most forms of popular music. Most common time signature in rock, blues, country, funk, and pop.|
|Alla breve , cut time: Used for marches and fast orchestral music.|
|Used for polkas, galops, marches, and many styles of Latin music (including bolero, cumbia, and merengue).|
|Used for waltzes, minuets, scherzi, polonaises, mazurkas, country & western ballads, R&B, and some pop|
|Also used for the above but usually suggests higher tempo or shorter hypermeter. Sometimes preferred for certain folk dances such as cachucha|
|Compound time signatures|
|Time signature||Common uses||Simple drum pattern||Video representation|
|Double jigs, polkas,sega, salegy, tarantella, marches, barcarolles, loures, and some rock music|
|Compound triple time: Used in slip jigs, zeibekiko, and lullabies, otherwise occurring rarely ("The Ride of the Valkyries", Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, and the final movement of J.S. Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor (BWV 1041) are familiar examples. Debussy's "Clair de lune" and the opening bars of Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune are also in 9|
|Also common in slower blues (where it is called a shuffle ) and doo-wop; also used more recently in rock music. Can also be heard in some jigs like "The Irish Washerwoman". This is also the time signature of the second movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony .|
While changing the bottom number and keeping the top number fixed only formally changes notation, without changing meaning – 3
2, and 3
1 are all three beats to a meter, just noted with eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, or whole notes – these conventionally imply different performance and different tempi. Conventionally, larger numbers in the bottom correspond to faster tempi and smaller numbers correspond to slower tempi. This convention is known as tempo giusto , and means that the tempo of each note remains in a narrower, "normal" range. For illustration, a quarter note might correspond to 60–120 bpm, a half note to 30–60 bpm, a whole note to 15–30 bpm, and an eighth note to 120–240 bpm; these are not strict, but show an example of "normal" ranges.
This convention dates to the Baroque era, when tempo changes were indicated by changing time signature during the piece, rather than by using a single time signature and changing tempo marking. 3
2, and 3
1 have the same beat pattern, they would conventionally be used for increasingly slow music. A 20th century example is "O Fortuna" (1935–1936) by Carl Orff, which begins slowly in 3
1, and then speeds up and changes to 3
Signatures that do not fit the usual simple or compound categories are called complex, asymmetric, irregular, unusual, or odd—though these are broad terms, and usually a more specific description is any meter which combines both simple and compound beats. 3
4 and 9
Irregular meters are common in some non-Western music, and in ancient Greek music such as the Delphic Hymns to Apollo, but the corresponding time signatures rarely appeared in formal written Western music until the 19th century. Early anomalous examples appeared in Spain between 1516 and 1520,plus a small section in Handel's opera Orlando (1733).
The third movement of Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 1 (1828) is an early, but by no means the earliest, example of 5
4 time in solo piano music. Anton Reicha's Fugue No. 20 from his Thirty-six Fugues , published in 1803, is also for piano and is in 5
8. The waltz-like second movement of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony (shown below), often described as a "limping waltz", is a notable example of 5
4 time in orchestral music.
Examples from 20th-century classical music include:
In the Western popular music tradition, unusual time signatures occur as well, with progressive rock in particular making frequent use of them. The use of shifting meters in The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" and the use of quintuple meter in their "Within You, Without You" are well-known examples, 7
Paul Desmond's jazz composition "Take Five", in 5
4 time, was one of a number of irregular-meter compositions that The Dave Brubeck Quartet played. They played other compositions in 11
4 ("Eleven Four"), 7
4 ("Unsquare Dance"), and 9
8 ("Blue Rondo à la Turk"), expressed as 2+2+2+3
8. This last is an example of a work in a signature that, despite appearing merely compound triple, is actually more complex. Brubeck's title refers to the characteristic aksak meter of the Turkish karşılama dance.
However, such time signatures are only unusual in most Western music. Traditional music of the Balkans uses such meters extensively. Bulgarian dances, for example, include forms with 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22, 25 and other numbers of beats per measure. These rhythms are notated as additive rhythms based on simple units, usually 2, 3 and 4 beats, though the notation fails to describe the metric "time bending" taking place, or compound meters. See Additive meters below.
Some video samples are shown below.
While time signatures usually express a regular pattern of beat stresses continuing through a piece (or at least a section), sometimes composers change time signature so much, resulting in music with an extremely irregular rhythm. The time signature may switch so much that a piece may not be best described as being in one meter, rather as having a switching mixed meter. In this case, the time signatures are an aid to the performers and not necessarily an indication of meter. The Promenade from Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) is a good example. The opening measures are shown below:
Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913) is famous for its "savage" rhythms. Five measures from "Sacrificial Dance" are shown below:
In such cases, a convention that some composers follow (e.g., Olivier Messiaen, in his La Nativité du Seigneur and Quatuor pour la fin du temps ) is to simply omit the time signature. Charles Ives's Concord Sonata has measure bars for select passages, but the majority of the work is unbarred.
Some pieces have no time signature, as there is no discernible meter. This is sometimes known as free time. Sometimes one is provided (usually 4
4) so that the performer finds the piece easier to read, and simply has "free time" written as a direction. Sometimes the word FREE is written downwards on the staff to indicate the piece is in free time. Erik Satie wrote many compositions that are ostensibly in free time but actually follow an unstated and unchanging simple time signature. Later composers used this device more effectively, writing music almost devoid of a discernibly regular pulse.
If two time signatures alternate repeatedly, sometimes the two signatures are placed together at the beginning of the piece or section, as shown below:
To indicate more complex patterns of stresses, such as additive rhythms, more complex time signatures can be used. Additive meters have a pattern of beats that subdivide into smaller, irregular groups. Such meters are sometimes called imperfect, in contrast to perfect meters, in which the bar is first divided into equal units.
For example, the time signature 3+2+3
8 means that there are 8 quaver beats in the bar, divided as the first of a group of three eighth notes (quavers) that are stressed, then the first of a group of two, then first of a group of three again. The stress pattern is usually counted as
This kind of time signature is commonly used to notate folk and non-Western types of music. In classical music, Béla Bartók and Olivier Messiaen have used such time signatures in their works. The first movement of Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio in A Minor is written in 8
8, in which the beats are likewise subdivided into 3+2+3 to reflect Basque dance rhythms.
Romanian musicologist Constantin Brăiloiu had a special interest in compound time signatures, developed while studying the traditional music of certain regions in his country. While investigating the origins of such unusual meters, he learned that they were even more characteristic of the traditional music of neighboring peoples (e.g., the Bulgarians). He suggested that such timings can be regarded as compounds of simple two-beat and three-beat meters, where an accent falls on every first beat, even though, for example in Bulgarian music, beat lengths of 1, 2, 3, 4 are used in the metric description. In addition, when focused only on stressed beats, simple time signatures can count as beats in a slower, compound time. However, there are two different-length beats in this resulting compound time, a one half-again longer than the short beat (or conversely, the short beat is 2⁄3 the value of the long). This type of meter is called aksak (the Turkish word for "limping"), impeded, jolting, or shaking, and is described as an irregular bichronic rhythm. A certain amount of confusion for Western musicians is inevitable, since a measure they would likely regard as 7
16, for example, is a three-beat measure in aksak, with one long and two short beats (with subdivisions of 2+2+3, 2+3+2, or 3+2+2).
Folk music may make use of metric time bends, so that the proportions of the performed metric beat time lengths differ from the exact proportions indicated by the metric. Depending on playing style of the same meter, the time bend can vary from non-existent to considerable; in the latter case, some musicologists may want to assign a different meter. For example, the Bulgarian tune "Eleno Mome" is written in one of three forms: (1) 7 = 2+2+1+2, (2) 13 = 4+4+2+3, or (3) 12 = 3+4+2+3, but an actual performance (e.g., "Eleno Mome" [ original research? ]) may be closer to 4+4+2+3.[ clarification needed ] The Macedonian 3+2+2+3+2 meter is even more complicated, with heavier time bends, and use of quadruples on the threes. The metric beat time proportions may vary with the speed that the tune is played. The Swedish Boda Polska (Polska from the parish Boda) has a typical elongated second beat.
In Western classical music, metric time bend is used in the performance of the Viennese waltz. Most Western music uses metric ratios of 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 (two-, three- or four-beat time signatures)—in other words, integer ratios that make all beats equal in time length. So, relative to that, 3:2 and 4:3 ratios correspond to very distinctive metric rhythm profiles. Complex accentuation occurs in Western music, but as syncopation rather than as part of the metric accentuation.[ citation needed ]
Brăiloiu borrowed a term from Turkish medieval music theory: aksak. Such compound time signatures fall under the "aksak rhythm" category that he introduced along with a couple more that should describe the rhythm figures in traditional music.The term Brăiloiu revived had moderate success worldwide, but in Eastern Europe it is still frequently used. However, aksak rhythm figures occur not only in a few European countries, but on all continents, featuring various combinations of the two and three sequences. The longest are in Bulgaria. The shortest aksak rhythm figures follow the five-beat timing, comprising a two and a three (or three and two).
Some video samples are shown below.
A method to create meters of lengths of any length has been published in the Journal of Anaphoria Music Theoryand Xenharmonikon 16 using both those based on the Horograms of Erv Wilson and Viggo Brun's algorithm written by Kraig Grady.
Irrational time signatures (rarely, "non-dyadic time signatures") are used for so-called irrational bar lengths, 3
10 or 5
24. For example, where 4
4 implies a bar construction of four quarter-parts of a whole note (i.e., four quarter notes), 4
3 implies a bar construction of four third-parts of it. These signatures are of utility only when juxtaposed with other signatures with varying denominators; a piece written entirely in 4
3, say, could be more legibly written out in 4
According to Brian Ferneyhough, metric modulation is "a somewhat distant analogy" to his own use of "irrational time signatures" as a sort of rhythmic dissonance. [ citation needed ]It is disputed whether the use of these signatures makes metric relationships clearer or more obscure to the musician; it is always possible to write a passage using non-irrational signatures by specifying a relationship between some note length in the previous bar and some other in the succeeding one. Sometimes, successive metric relationships between bars are so convoluted that the pure use of irrational signatures would quickly render the notation extremely hard to penetrate. Good examples, written entirely in conventional signatures with the aid of between-bar specified metric relationships, occur a number of times in John Adams' opera Nixon in China (1987), where the sole use of irrational signatures would quickly produce massive numerators and denominators.
Historically, this device has been prefigured wherever composers wrote tuplets. For example, a 2
4 bar of 3 triplet quarter notes could be written as a bar of 3
6. Henry Cowell's piano piece Fabric (1920) employs separate divisions of the bar (1 to 9) for the three contrapuntal parts, using a scheme of shaped noteheads to visually clarify the differences, but the pioneering of these signatures is largely due to Brian Ferneyhough, who says that he finds that "such 'irrational' measures serve as a useful buffer between local changes of event density and actual changes of base tempo". Thomas Adès has also used them extensively—for example in Traced Overhead (1996), the second movement of which contains, among more conventional meters, bars in such signatures as 2
14 and 5
A gradual process of diffusion into less rarefied musical circles seems underway.[ citation needed ] For example, John Pickard's Eden, commissioned for the 2005 finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, contains bars of 3
10 and 7
Notationally, rather than using Cowell's elaborate series of notehead shapes, the same convention has been invoked as when normal tuplets are written; for example, one beat in 4
5 is written as a normal quarter note, four quarter notes complete the bar, but the whole bar lasts only 4⁄5 of a reference whole note, and a beat 1⁄5 of one (or 4⁄5 of a normal quarter note). This is notated in exactly the same way that one would write if one were writing the first four quarter notes of five quintuplet quarter notes.
Some video samples are shown below.
These video samples show two time signatures combined to make a polymeter, since 4
3, say, in isolation, is identical to 4
Some composers have used fractional beats: for example, the time signature 2+1⁄2
4 appears in Carlos Chávez's Piano Sonata No. 3 (1928) IV, m. 1. Both 2+1⁄2
4 and 1+1⁄2
4 appear in the fifth movement of Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy.
Music educator Carl Orff proposed replacing the lower number of the time signature with an actual note image, as shown at right. This system eliminates the need for compound time signatures, which are confusing to beginners. While this notation has not been adopted by music publishers generally (except in Orff's own compositions), it is used extensively in music education textbooks. Similarly, American composers George Crumb and Joseph Schwantner, among others, have used this system in many of their works. Émile Jaques-Dalcroze proposed this in his 1920 collection, Le Rythme, la musique et l'éducation.
Another possibility is to extend the barline where a time change is to take place above the top instrument's line in a score and to write the time signature there, and there only, saving the ink and effort that would have been spent writing it in each instrument's staff. Henryk Górecki's Beatus Vir is an example of this. Alternatively, music in a large score sometimes has time signatures written as very long, thin numbers covering the whole height of the score rather than replicating it on each staff; this is an aid to the conductor, who can see signature changes more easily.
In the mensural notation of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries there are no bar lines, and the four basic mensuration signs indicate the normal ratio of duration between different note values. Unlike modern notation, the subdivisions could be either 2:1 or 3:1. The relation between the breve and the semibreve was called tempus, and could be perfect (triple 3:1 indicated by circle) or imperfect (duple 2:1, with broken circle), while the relation between the semibreve and the minim was called prolatio and could be major (3:1 or compound, indicated by dot) or minor (2:1 or simple meter).
Modern transcriptions often reduce note values 4:1, such that
N.B.: In mensural notation actual note values depend not only on the prevailing mensuration, but on rules for imperfection and alteration, with ambiguous cases using a dot of separation, similar in appearance but not always in effect to the modern dot of augmentation.
|Proportion||Notated values||equivalent to||Notated values|
|2 or|| || |
|2 or|| || |
|3|| || |
|3|| || |
Besides showing the organization of beats with musical meter, the mensuration signs discussed above have a second function, which is showing tempo relationships between one section to another, which modern notation can only specify with tuplets or metric modulations. This is a fraught subject, because the usage has varied with both time and place: Charles Hammwas even able to establish a rough chronology of works based on three distinct usages of mensural signs over the career of Guillaume Dufay (1397(?) – 1474). By the end of the sixteenth century Thomas Morley was able to satirize the confusion in an imagined dialogue:
it was a world to hear them wrangle, every one defending his own for the best. "What? You keep not time in your proportions." "You sing them false. What proportion is this?" "Sesquipaltry." "Nay, you sing you know not what; it would seem you came lately from a barber's shop where you had 'Gregory Walker' or a Curranta played in the new Proportions by them lately found out, called 'Sesquiblinda' and 'Sesquihearkenafter'."
- Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597)
In general though, a slash or the numeral 2 shows a doubling of tempo, and paired numbers (either side by side or one atop another) show ratios instead of beats per measure over note value: in early music contexts 4
3 for example is unrelated to 'third-notes'.
A few common signs are shown:
In particular, when the sign was encountered, the tactus (beat) changed from the usual whole note (semibreve) to the double whole note (breve), a circumstance called alla breve . This term has been sustained to the present day, and though now it means the beat is a half note (minim), in contradiction to the literal meaning of the phrase, it still indicates that the tactus has changed from a short to a doubled value.
Certain composers delighted in creating mensuration canons, "puzzle" compositions that were intentionally difficult to decipher.
Irregular bars are a change in time signature normally for only one bar. Such a bar is most often a bar of 3/4, 5/4 or 2/4 in a 4/4 composition, or a bar of 4/4 in a 3/4 composition, or a bar of 5/8 in a 6/8 composition.
If a song is entirely in 4/4 a change to 3/4 will make the song feel like it has skipped a beat, the opposite is true for 5/4 where it feels like the song adds a beat. If a song changes to 2/4 is will make it feel like that bar is half as long as all the others
Some popular examples include "Golden Brown" by The Stranglers (4/4 in a 3/4 composition), "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" originally by The Arrows (3/4 in a 4/4 composition), "Hey Ya!" by Outkast (2/4 in a 4/4 composition), and "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush (different kinds of irregular bars in a 4/4 composition).
Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instruments or sung by the human voice through the use of written, printed, or otherwise-produced symbols, including notation for durations of absence of sound such as rests.
Rhythm generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds ; to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.
In musical terminology, tempo also known as Beats per minute, is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is typically indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is usually measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will typically simply be stated in BPM.
In music, metre or meter refers to regularly recurring patterns and accents such as bars and beats. Unlike rhythm, metric onsets are not necessarily sounded, but are nevertheless implied by the performer and expected by the listener.
Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms that are not readily perceived as deriving from one another, or as simple manifestations of the same meter. The rhythmic layers may be the basis of an entire piece of music (cross-rhythm), or a momentary section. Polyrhythms can be distinguished from irrational rhythms, which can occur within the context of a single part; polyrhythms require at least two rhythms to be played concurrently, one of which is typically an irrational rhythm. Concurrently in this context means within the same rhythmic cycle. The underlying pulse, whether explicit or implicit can be considered one of the concurrent rhythms. For example, the son clave is poly-rhythmic because its 3 section suggests a different meter from the pulse of the entire pattern.
In music, hemiola is the ratio 3:2. The equivalent Latin term is sesquialtera. In rhythm, hemiola refers to three beats of equal value in the time normally occupied by two beats. In pitch, hemiola refers to the interval of a perfect fifth.
In music and music theory, the beat is the basic unit of time, the pulse, of the mensural level. The beat is often defined as the rhythm listeners would tap their toes to when listening to a piece of music, or the numbers a musician counts while performing, though in practice this may be technically incorrect. In popular use, beat can refer to a variety of related concepts, including pulse, tempo, meter, specific rhythms, and groove.
In music, the terms additive and divisive are used to distinguish two types of both rhythm and meter:
In music notation, a tie is a curved line connecting the heads of two notes of the same pitch, indicating that they are to be played as a single note with a duration equal to the sum of the individual notes' values. A tie is similar in appearance to a slur; however, slurs join notes of different pitches which need to be played independently, but seamlessly (legato).
In music, metric modulation is a change in pulse rate (tempo) and/or pulse grouping (subdivision) which is derived from a note value or grouping heard before the change. Examples of metric modulation may include changes in time signature across an unchanging tempo, but the concept applies more specifically to shifts from one time signature/tempo (metre) to another, wherein a note value from the first is made equivalent to a note value in the second, like a pivot or bridge. The term "modulation" invokes the analogous and more familiar term in analyses of tonal harmony, wherein a pitch or pitch interval serves as a bridge between two keys. In both terms, the pivoting value functions differently before and after the change, but sounds the same, and acts as an audible common element between them. Metric modulation was first described by Richard Franko Goldman while reviewing the Cello Sonata of Elliott Carter, who prefers to call it tempo modulation. Another synonymous term is proportional tempi.
A technique in which a rhythmic pattern is superposed on another, heterometrically, and then supersedes it and becomes the basic metre. Usually, such time signatures are mutually prime, e.g., 4
4 and 3
8, and so have no common divisors. Thus the change of the basic metre decisively alters the numerical content of the beat, but the minimal denominator remains constant in duration.
In music, a tuplet is "any rhythm that involves dividing the beat into a different number of equal subdivisions from that usually permitted by the time-signature " This is indicated by a number, or sometimes two indicating the fraction involved. The notes involved are also often grouped with a bracket or a slur.
In Western musical notation, a dotted note is a note with a small dot written after it. In modern practice, the first dot increases the duration of the basic note by half of its original value. This means that a dotted note is equivalent to writing the basic note tied to a note of half the value – for instance, a dotted half note is equivalent to a half note tied to a quarter note. Subsequent dots add progressively halved value, as shown in the example to the right.
A rest is the absence of a sound for a defined period of time in music, or one of the musical notation signs used to indicate that.
In music, an accent is an emphasis, stress, or stronger attack placed on a particular note or set of notes, or chord, either as a result of its context or specifically indicated by an accent mark. Accents contribute to the articulation and prosody of a performance of a musical phrase. Accents may be written into a score or part by a composer, or added by the performer as part of their interpretation of a musical piece.
Alla breve[alla ˈbrɛːve] – also known as cut time or cut common time – is a musical meter notated by the time signature symbol , which is the equivalent of 2
2. The term is Italian for "on the breve", originally meaning that the beat was counted on the breve.
Mensural notation is the musical notation system used for polyphonic European vocal music from the late 13th century until the early 17th century. The term "mensural" refers to the ability of this system to describe precisely measured rhythmic durations in terms of numerical proportions between note values. Its modern name is inspired by the terminology of medieval theorists, who used terms like musica mensurata or cantus mensurabilis to refer to the rhythmically defined polyphonic music of their age, as opposed to musica plana or musica choralis, i.e., Gregorian plainchant. Mensural notation was employed principally for compositions in the tradition of vocal polyphony, whereas plainchant retained its own, older system of neume notation throughout the period. Besides these, some purely instrumental music could be written in various forms of instrument-specific tablature notation.
Sextuple metre or sextuple time is a musical metre characterized by six beats in a measure. Like the more common duple, triple, and quadruple metres, it may be simple, with each beat divided in half, or compound, with each beat divided into thirds. The most common time signatures for simple sextuple metre are 6
4 and 6
8, and compound sextuple metre is most often written in 18
8 or 18
16. A time signature of 18
8 or 18
16, however, does not necessarily mean that the bar is a sextuple metre with each beat divided into three. It may, for example, be used to indicate a bar of triple metre in which each beat is subdivided into six parts. In this case, the metre is sometimes characterized as "triple sextuple time". Such a division of time may be encountered more frequently in the Baroque period: for example, variation 26 of the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach has 18
16 in one hand against 3
4 in the other, exchanging hands at intervals until the last five bars where both hands are in 18
16. Using 3
4 for both hands would result in continuous sextuplets.
In popular music, half-time is a type of meter and tempo that alters the rhythmic feel by essentially doubling the tempo resolution or metric division/level in comparison to common-time. Thus, two measures of 4
4 approximate a single measure of 8
8, while a single measure of 4/4 emulates 2/2. Half-time is not to be confused with alla breve or odd time. Though notes usually get the same value relative to the tempo, the way the beats are divided is altered. While much music typically has a backbeat on quarter note (crotchet) beats two and four, half time would increase the interval between backbeats to double, thus making it hit on beats three and seven, or the third beat of each measure :
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4
In music, counting is a system of regularly occurring sounds that serve to assist with the performance or audition of music by allowing the easy identification of the beat. Commonly, this involves verbally counting the beats in each measure as they occur, whether there be 2 beats, 3 beats, 4 beats, or even 5 beats. In addition to helping to normalize the time taken up by each beat, counting allows easier identification of the beats that are stressed. Counting is most commonly used with rhythm and form and often involves subdivision.
Takadimi is a system devised by Richard Hoffman, William Pelto, and John W. White in 1996 in order to teach rhythm skills. Takadimi, while utilizing rhythmic symbols borrowed from classical South Indian carnatic music, differentiates itself from this method by focusing the syllables on meter and on western tonal rhythm. Takadimi is based on the use of specific syllables at certain places within a beat. Takadimi is used in classrooms from elementary level up through the collegiate level, and it meets National Content Standard 5 by teaching both reading and notating music.