Time Signatures

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Standard time, the most common time, means the music gets 4 beats per measure.

A measure is a way to break the song down into small groups and are separated by bars.
While it’s not important for our purposes to learn how to read music, it will be helpful to
learn the duration of the different notes:

Note Values

To learn how time signatures work we first need to learn about note values.

A Whole Note equals 4 beats:

Half Notes equal 2 beats:

Quarter Notes equal one beat:

Eight Notes equal half a beat:

Sixteenth Notes equal 1/4th a beat:

The number of beats in each measure and the kind of note chosen to represent the beat are
placed together as a fraction at the beginning of a composition. This is called the time signature.

For example:

4/4 time

A quarter note gets 1 beat. There are 4 quarter notes per measure.

3/4 Time

A quarter note gets 1 beat. There are 3 quarter notes per measure.

2/4 Time

A quarter note gets 1 beat. There are quarter notes per measure.

3/2 Time

A half note gets 1 beat. There are 3 half notes per measure.

6/8 Time

An eight note gets 1 beat. There are 6 eight notes per measure.