What Are Time Signatures, Learn to recognize and read time signatures
The Professor
May 20 2013, 12:04 PM
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From: Manchester UK
How to Read Time Signatures



Learning how to read notes for guitar is often a two-step process, the first is reading the names of the notes and the second is reading the rhythm of each note on the staff.

In this introductory lesson, part of a larger series on reading rhythms, we will be looking at probably the most important aspect of reading rhythms on guitar, time signatures.

A Time Signature is a group of 2 numbers that appear at the beginning of any piece of music with a stave, such as the Treble Clef, and once they are stated, that time signature is good for the entire piece of music unless a new time signature appears at a later point in the music.

Here is an example of a Time Signature in a short lick, in this case the time signature is 4/4 time.


Attached Image



There are a lot of different time signatures, such as 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 5/4, 7/8, 12/8, etc., but they are all read in the same way.

The top number of any time signature is the amount of beats in a bar, so 2/4 has 2 beats in a bar.

The bottom number of any time signature is the length of those beats, so 2/4 has 2 quarter-notes in each bar. If you have 7/8, that would be seven 8th-notes in each bar and so forth.

Here are some examples of many of the commonly used Time Signatures to check out and learn to recognize when you begin to read music from the Treble Clef on guitar.


Attached Image



Do you have any questions about time signatures, how they work or how to read them? If so, post our comments and questions below and I will be glad to answer them as soon as possible.

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Hajduk
Jun 17 2013, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ May 20 2013, 11:04 AM) *
How to Read Time Signatures



Learning how to read notes for guitar is often a two-step process, the first is reading the names of the notes and the second is reading the rhythm of each note on the staff.

In this introductory lesson, part of a larger series on reading rhythms, we will be looking at probably the most important aspect of reading rhythms on guitar, time signatures.

A Time Signature is a group of 2 numbers that appear at the beginning of any piece of music with a stave, such as the Treble Clef, and once they are stated, that time signature is good for the entire piece of music unless a new time signature appears at a later point in the music.

Here is an example of a Time Signature in a short lick, in this case the time signature is 4/4 time.


Attached Image



There are a lot of different time signatures, such as 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 5/4, 7/8, 12/8, etc., but they are all read in the same way.

The top number of any time signature is the amount of beats in a bar, so 2/4 has 2 beats in a bar.

The bottom number of any time signature is the length of those beats, so 2/4 has 2 quarter-notes in each bar. If you have 7/8, that would be seven 8th-notes in each bar and so forth.

Here are some examples of many of the commonly used Time Signatures to check out and learn to recognize when you begin to read music from the Treble Clef on guitar.


Attached Image



Do you have any questions about time signatures, how they work or how to read them? If so, post our comments and questions below and I will be glad to answer them as soon as possible.

Hey Proffesor so I understand why there would be time sigs like 5/4 my understanding is its a odd time meter I think huh.gif but why 2/4 time is that basically just the same as 4/4 time, I understand the reasoning as far as having 2 beats per bar but does it not sound the same if you played 4/4 time??

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korblitz
Jun 17 2013, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE (Hajduk @ Jun 17 2013, 05:46 PM) *
Hey Proffesor so I understand why there would be time sigs like 5/4 my understanding is its a odd time meter I think huh.gif but why 2/4 time is that basically just the same as 4/4 time, I understand the reasoning as far as having 2 beats per bar but does it not sound the same if you played 4/4 time??


I'm not the professor.

But I think that:

One bar of 4/4 is the same as 2 bars of 2/4.

Just think in what it represents: How many beats in a bar/the duration of the beat.

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The Professor
Jun 17 2013, 11:04 PM
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From: Manchester UK
Yeah, 2/4 and 4/4 are both related, but it's the accents that come out that make them different. You could think of 4/4 as two bars of 2/4, but in the end the accents wouldn't line up right compared to thinking about theme as unique time signatures. Also, certain music is written in both signatures. Rock tends to be in 4/4, while a lot of Brazilian music is written in 2/4. You can count Brazilian music in 4/4, but it never sounds the same because the accents aren't the same as when you count it in 2/4. Hope that makes sense!

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Hajduk
Jun 18 2013, 12:20 AM
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Makes great sense, Thank you Professor and Korbitz for the explanation smile.gif

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Headbanger
Jun 18 2013, 12:53 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Jun 18 2013, 12:04 AM) *
Yeah, 2/4 and 4/4 are both related, but it's the accents that come out that make them different. You could think of 4/4 as two bars of 2/4, but in the end the accents wouldn't line up right compared to thinking about theme as unique time signatures. Also, certain music is written in both signatures. Rock tends to be in 4/4, while a lot of Brazilian music is written in 2/4. You can count Brazilian music in 4/4, but it never sounds the same because the accents aren't the same as when you count it in 2/4. Hope that makes sense!


So it sounds different because its a Brazilian accent??!! laugh.gif

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This post has been edited by Headbanger: Jun 18 2013, 12:53 PM
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The Professor
Jun 18 2013, 04:29 PM
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QUOTE (Headbanger @ Jun 18 2013, 12:53 PM) *
So it sounds different because its a Brazilian accent??!! laugh.gif


Well, a Brazilian musical accent smile.gif

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