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Time signature / meter
Time signature / meter

A number value given at the beginning of a piece of music displaying how many beats are in a measure and which note value receives one beat.

Sam Blakelock avatar
Written by Sam Blakelock
Updated over a week ago

A time signature is a number that looks like a fraction. It’s used to indicate how to count note values in a given piece of music.

The top number indicates how many beats are in each measure, while the bottom number indicates which note value receives the beat.

Example: In 4/4 time, the upper four tells us there will be four beats per measure, and the lower four tells us that the quarter note gets the beat. In 6/8 time, the 6 indicates that there will be six beats per measure, and the eight tells us that the eighth note receives the beat.

Other common time signatures: 3/4 (waltz) and 12/8.

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