Time Signatures or Meter
Counting Common Time Signatures
The time signature tells you the meter of the piece. Each measure of the music is made up of a set number of beats. The Composer sets this number and notates it using a time signature or meter.
The two numbers of the time signature tell you how many beats are in a measure and what type of note value will get the beat.
As an example, in each measure of the time signature 3/4, there would be 3 quarter notes in each measure.
In 4/4 time signature there would be 4 quarter notes in each measure. In 2/4 there would be two beats in each measure etc.
Here are three well known tunes. Notice how the phrasing of the melody and words match the time signature.
*Remember that every bar does not have to use four quarter notes but a grouping of notes and rests that add up to four quarters or a whole.
Time Signatures do not have to use quarters for every beat of the measure.
has an 8 on the bottom which indicates that beat is given to the 1/8th note. In this case there would be 6 eighth notes in every measure. In other words you would count the beats 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in every measure.