Kitchieboy's Music Tutor
Learning to Read Music
(But Not Enough to Hurt Your Playing)

Time Signatures

Now the we have time values for notes, we need a way to put a bunch of notes together and write rhythm. Part of music is pitch, how far up or down the notes are in sound or on the page . Part of music is timing - rhythm - the beat. And here comes the math again.

The time signatures are the numbers that look like fractions. 2/2, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 and so on.

The top number tells you how many beats there are in one bar. You can count time as "1 2 " in 2/2; or "1 2 3 4 " in 4/4. And so on. 4/4 is so common that it is sometime written with just a "C", for "common time". And dividing by two - cutting it in half, is "cut time" - a "C" with a vertical line | through it, also written as 2/2.

The bottom number tells you what kind of note gets one beat. "2" on the bottom means a half note gets one beat. "4" on the bottom - which is pretty common - means a quarter note gets one beat. "8" on the bottom means an eighth note gets one beat.

To count in eighth notes and sixteenths, we have to add "and" and "uh" or "a" to our counting vocabulary. Remember what Lawrence Welk used to say: "A one and a two and a". Which leads us to another picture.

Or, with different time valued notes.....
With this behind us, we're about ready to try reading some tunes.
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Kitchieboy's Music Tutor - Learning to Read Music
(But Not Enough to Hurt Your Playing)
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