The 3/4 & 4/4 Time Signatures
Understanding Time Signatures • 4m 37s
The most common time signature is 4/4. It’s even called “common time” in music theory terminology. With an understanding of 4/4, you’ll possess the foundation to move forward and work towards other odd time signatures such as 5/4 and 7/4. The signature of 3/4 is also included in this lesson as a bridge to realize time keeping is as simple as “1, 2, 3.”
Up Next in Understanding Time Signatures
The 5/4 Time Signature
In an odd meter like 5/4, we have the option of counting every single beat: “1 2 3 4 5,” or counting the subdivision of each measure with an emphasis displacement “1 2 1 2 3” or “1 2 3 1 2.” I recommend subdividing the measures into smaller groups of two or three beats, but whichever method you c...
The 6/8 Time Signature
Although 4/4 is by far the most common time signature, another popular choice for music through the ages and including the modern day is 6/8. There are two ways to count a bar in 6/8 time. This can seem unnecessarily confusing when you first encounter 6/8, but as we’ll see the difference is not a...
The 7/4 Time Signature
7/4 is very much like 5/4 in that it requires a bit of subdivision to get the hang of. One of the simplest ways to make the listener feel at home in an irregular time signature is to really emphasize the downbeat. One way you can do this is by keeping sustained notes at the front of the bar, whil...