Time signature

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Time signature
An example of a 3
4
time signature. The time signature indicates that there are three quarter notes (crotchets) per measure (bar).

The time signature (also known as meter signature, [1] metre signature, [2] or measure signature) [3] is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats (pulses) are contained in each measure (bar), and which note value is equivalent to a beat.

Contents

In a music score, the time signature appears at the beginning as a time symbol or stacked numerals, such as Commontime.svg or 3
4
(read common time or three-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.

There are various types of time signatures, depending on whether the music follows regular (or symmetrical) beat patterns, including simple (e.g., 3
4
and 4
4
), and compound (e.g., 9
8
and 12
8
); or involves shifting beat patterns, including complex (e.g., 5
4
or 7
8
), mixed (e.g., 5
8
& 3
8
or 6
8
& 3
4
), additive (e.g., 3+2+3
8
), fractional (e.g., 2+12
4
), and irrational meters (e.g., 3
10
or 5
24
).

Frequently used time signatures

Time signature
Basic time signatures: 4
4
, also known as common time( Commontime.svg ); 2
2
, alla breve , also known as cut time or cut-common time ( Allabreve.svg ); 2
4
; 3
4
; and 6
8

Simple vs. compound

Simple

Simple time signatures consist of two numerals, one stacked above the other:

  • The lower numeral indicates the note value that represents one beat (the beat unit). This number is typically a power of 2.
  • The upper numeral indicates how many such beats constitute a bar.

For instance, 2
4
means two quarter-note (crotchet) beats per bar, while 3
8
means three eighth-notes (quavers) per bar, which are beats at slower tempos (but at faster tempos, 3
8
becomes compound time, with one beat per bar). The most common simple time signatures are 2
4
, 3
4
, and 4
4
.

By convention, two special symbols are sometimes used for 4
4
and 2
2
:

  • The symbol Commontime.svg is sometimes used for 4
    4
    time, also called common time or imperfect time. The symbol is derived from a broken circle used in music notation from the 14th through 16th centuries, where a full circle represented what today would be written in 3
    2
    or 3
    4
    time and was called tempus perfectum (perfect time). [4] See Mensural time signatures below.
  • The symbol Allabreve.svg is also a legacy from the notational practice of late-Medieval and Renaissance music, where it signified tempus imperfectum diminutum (diminished imperfect time)—more precisely, a doubling of the speed, or proportio dupla, in duple meter. [5] In modern notation, it is used in place of 2
    2
    and is called alla breve or, colloquially, cut time or cut common time.

Compound

In compound meter, subdivisions (which are what the upper number represents in these meters) of the beat are in three equal parts, so that a dotted note (half again longer than a regular note) becomes the beat. The upper numeral of compound time signatures is commonly 6, 9, or 12 (multiples of 3 in each beat). The lower number is most commonly an 8 (an eighth-note or quaver): as in 9
8
or 12
8
.

Examples

In the examples below, bold denotes a more-stressed beat, and italics denotes a less-stressed beat.

Simple: 3
4
is a simple triple meter time signature that represents three quarter notes (crotchets). It is felt as

3
4
: one and two and three and ...

Compound: In principle, 6
8
comprises not three groups of two eighth notes (quavers) but two groups of three eighth-note (quaver) subdivisions. It is felt as

6
8
: one two three four five six ...

These examples assume, for simplicity, that continuous eighth notes are the prevailing note values. The rhythm of actual music is typically not as regular.

Duple, triple, etc.

Time signatures indicating two beats per bar (whether in simple or compound meter) are called duple meter, while those with three beats to the bar are triple meter. Terms such as quadruple (4), quintuple (5), and so on, are also occasionally used.

Beating time signatures

To the ear, 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. Correspondingly, at slow tempos, the beat indicated by the time signature could in actual performance be divided into smaller units.

On a formal mathematical level, the time signatures of, e.g., 3
4
and 3
8
are interchangeable. In a sense, all simple triple time signatures, such as 3
8
, 3
4
, 3
2
, etc.—and all compound duple times, such as 6
8
, 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.

Time signature

Other time signature rewritings are possible: most commonly a simple time signature with triplets translates into a compound meter.

Time signature

Though formally interchangeable, for a composer or performing musician, by convention, different time signatures often have different connotations. First, a smaller note value in the beat unit implies a more complex notation, which can affect ease of performance. Second, beaming affects the choice of actual beat divisions. It is, for example, more natural to use the quarter note/crotchet as a beat unit in 6
4
or 2
2
than the eighth note/quaver in 6
8
or 2
4
. [ citation needed ] Third, 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
.

Characteristics

The table below shows the characteristics of the most frequently used time signatures.

Simple time signatures
Time signatureCommon usesSimple drum patternVideo representation
4
4
or Commontime.svg

(quadruple)

Common time: Widely used in most forms of popular music. Most common time signature in rock, blues, country, funk, and pop [6]
Time signature
2
2
or Allabreve.svg

(duple)

Alla breve , cut time: Used for marches and fast orchestral music.
Time signature
2
4

(duple)

Used for polkas, galops, and marches
Time signature
3
4

(triple)

Used for waltzes, minuets, scherzi, polonaises, mazurkas, country & western ballads, R&B, and some pop
Time signature
3
8

(triple)

Also used for the above but usually suggests higher tempo or shorter hypermeter. Sometimes preferred for certain folk dances such as cachucha
Time signature
Compound time signatures
Time signatureCommon usesSimple drum patternVideo representation
6
8

(duple)

Double jigs, polkas,sega, salegy, tarantella, marches, barcarolles, loures, and some rock music
Time signature
9
8

(triple)

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) [7] 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
8
)
Time signature
12
8

(quadruple)

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 .
Time signature

Complex time signatures

Mixed meters

While time signatures usually express a regular pattern of beat stresses continuing through a piece (or at least a section), sometimes composers place a different time signature at the beginning of each bar, resulting in music with an extremely irregular rhythmic feel. 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:

Time signature

Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913) is famous for its "savage" rhythms. Five measures from "Sacrificial Dance" are shown below:

Time signature

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:

Detail of score of Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 2 in F major, showing a multiple time signature Tchaikovsky String Quartet in F excerpt.png
Detail of score of Tchaikovsky's String Quartet No. 2 in F major, showing a multiple time signature

Additive meters

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. [15]

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

3+2+3
8
: one two three one two one two three ...

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 23 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). [16]

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" [17] [ 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. [18] 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.

3+2+3
8
at 120 bpm
The rhythm of Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk": It consists of three measures of 2+2+2+3 followed by one measure of 3+3+3 and the cycle then repeats. Taking the smallest time unit as eighth notes, the arrows on the tempo dial show the tempi for ♪, ♩, ♩. and the measure beat. Starts slow, speeds up to usual tempo

A method to create meters of lengths of any length has been published in the Journal of Anaphoria Music Theory [19] and Xenharmonikon 16 [20] using both those based on the Horograms of Erv Wilson and Viggo Brun's algorithm written by Kraig Grady.

Irrational meters

Time signature
Example of an irrational 4
3
time signature: here there are four (4) third notes (3) per measure. A "third note" would be one third of a whole note, and thus is a half-note triplet. The second measure of 4
2
presents the same notes, so the 4
3
time signature serves to indicate the precise speed relationship between the notes in the two measures.

Irrational time signatures (rarely, "non-dyadic time signatures") are used for so-called irrational bar lengths, [21] that have a denominator that is not a power of two (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.). These are based on beats expressed in terms of fractions of full beats in the prevailing tempo—for example 3
10
or 5
24
. [21] 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
4
.

Time signature
The same example written using metric modulation instead of irrational time signatures. Three half notes in the first measure (making up a dotted whole note) are equal in duration to two half notes in the second (making up a whole note).
Time signature
The same example written using a change in time signature.

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. [21] 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.[ citation needed ]

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". [21] 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
6
, 9
14
and 5
24
.

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
12
. [22]

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 45 of a reference whole note, and a beat 15 of one (or 45 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
4
.

Polymeter 4
4
and 4
3
played together has three beats of 4
3
to four beats of 4
4
Polymeter 2
6
and 3
4
played together has six beats of 2
6
to four beats of 3
4
Polymeter 2
5
and 2
3
played together has five beats of 2
5
to three beats of 2
3
. The displayed numbers count the underlying polyrhythm, which is 5:3

Variants

Some composers have used fractional beats: for example, the time signature 2+12
4
appears in Carlos Chávez's Piano Sonata No. 3 (1928) IV, m. 1. Both 2+12
4
and 1+12
4
appear in the fifth movement of Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy.

Example of Orff's time signatures Orff time signatures.gif
Example of Orff's time signatures

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. [23]

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.

Early music usage

Mensural time signatures

In the mensural notation of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries there are no bar lines, and the four basic mensuration signs Mensural time signature 1 (alternative).svg Mensural time signature 2 (alternative).svg Mensural time signature 3 (alternative).svg Mensural time signature 4 (alternative).svg 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 White mensural brevis.svg and the semibreve White mensural semibrevis.svg 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 White mensural minim.svg 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.

Proportions

Proportion signs [24]
ProportionNotated valuesequivalent toNotated values
Tempus impf prol min.svg 2 or Allabreve.svg White mensural brevis.svg
White mensural semibrevis.svg White mensural semibrevis.svg
Tempus impf prol min.svg White mensural semibrevis.svg
White mensural minim.svg White mensural minim.svg
Tempus perf prol min.svg 2 or Mensural proportion 2.svg White mensural brevis.svg White mensural brevis.svg White mensural brevis.svg
Two semibreves.svg Two semibreves.svg Two semibreves.svg
Tempus perf prol min.svg Three semibreves.svg
3x2 minims.svg
Tempus impf prol min.svg 3 White mensural brevis.svg White mensural brevis.svg
Three semibreves.svg Three semibreves.svg
Tempus impf prol mai.svg Two semibreves.svg
2x3 minims.svg
Tempus perf prol min.svg 3 White mensural brevis.svg White mensural brevis.svg White mensural brevis.svg
Three semibreves.svg Three semibreves.svg Three semibreves.svg
Tempus perf prol mai.svg White mensural semibrevis.svg White mensural semibrevis.svg White mensural semibrevis.svg
3x3 minims.svg

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 Hamm [25] was 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) [26]

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'. [27]

A few common signs are shown: [28]

In particular, when the sign Allabreve.svg 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. [29]

Irregular Bar

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 [30] [31]

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).

See also

Related Research Articles

In music, syncopation is a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. More simply, syncopation is "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm": a "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur". It is the correlation of at least two sets of time intervals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metre (music)</span> Aspect of music

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Polyrhythm</span> Simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms

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 pitch, hemiola refers to the interval of a perfect fifth. In rhythm, hemiola refers to three beats of equal value in the time normally occupied by two beats.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Suite (music)</span> Ordered set of classic musical pieces in a concert

A suite, in Western classical music and jazz, is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral/concert band pieces. It originated in the late 14th century as a pairing of dance tunes and grew in scope to comprise up to five dances, sometimes with a prelude, by the early 17th century. The separate movements were often thematically and tonally linked. The term can also be used to refer to similar forms in other musical traditions, such as the Turkish fasıl and the Arab nuubaat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beat (music)</span> Basic unit of time in music and music theory

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:

Duple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 2 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 2 and multiples (simple) or 6 and multiples (compound) in the upper figure of the time signature, with 2
2
, 2
4
, and 6
8
being the most common examples.

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.

A rest is a musical notation sign that indicates the absence of a sound.

<i>Alla breve</i> Time signature in Western music notation

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mensural notation</span> Musical notation system used for Renaissance vocal polyphony

Mensural notation is the musical notation system used for European vocal polyphonic music from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. 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.

Triple metre is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 3 beats to the bar, usually indicated by 3 (simple) or 9 (compound) in the upper figure of the time signature, with 3
4
, 3
2
, 3
8
and 9
8
being the most common examples. The upper figure being divisible by three does not of itself indicate triple metre; for example, a time signature of 6
8
usually indicates compound duple metre, and similarly 12
8
usually indicates compound quadruple metre.

"Footprints" is a jazz standard composed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter and first recorded for his album Adam's Apple in 1966. The first commercial release of the song was a different recording on the Miles Davis album Miles Smiles recorded later in 1966, but released earlier. It has become a jazz standard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Half-time (music)</span> Type of metric change in music

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.

In medieval music theory, the Latin term modus can be used in a variety of distinct senses. The most commonly used meaning today relates to the organisation of pitch in scales. Other meanings refer to the notation of rhythms.

In music, a cross-beat or cross-rhythm is a specific form of polyrhythm. The term cross rhythm was introduced in 1934 by the musicologist Arthur Morris Jones (1889–1980). It refers to when the rhythmic conflict found in polyrhythms is the basis of an entire musical piece.

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.

References

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  29. Ernst Friedrich Richter, A Treatise on Canon and Fugue: Including the Study of Imitation , translated from third German edition by Arthur W. Foote (Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1888): 38. [ISBN unspecified].
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  31. Songs That Add a Beat , retrieved 2022-09-22

Sources