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Simple time

In simple time

  • The beat feels in multiples of 2.
  • The natural accent falls in multiples of 2 or 3.

Time Signature

The bottom number tells you the value of the beat. The top number tells you the number of "beats to the bar".

In 3 - 4 time there are 3 crotchet (quarter note) beats to the bar.

When the bottom number is 4 the beat is a quarter note, a crotchet. When the bottom number is 2 the beat is a half note, a minim.

Feel

Have a listen to some simple time rhythms.

    melody rhythm
2 - 4 simple time
2 crotchet beats to the bar.
MIDI MIDI
3 - 4 simple time
3 crotchet beats to the bar.
MIDI MIDI
4 - 4 simple time
4 crotchet beats to the bar.
MIDI  

There are a wide variety of 4 - 4 rhythms. Here are some examples.

 

    melody
Common time (same as 4 - 4)
4 crotchet beats to the bar.
MIDI
Alla Breve (Cut Common time)
4 crotchets, 2 beats to the bar.
MIDI

Cut common time is a modern form of 2 - 2. Cut common time has a conducted upbeat (on the second and fourth crotchets) where 2 - 2 has only the downbeats conducted.
2 - 2 simple time
2 minim beats to the bar.
 
3 - 2 simple time
3 minim beats to the bar.
 


Music Theory


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