OK, so you know what 4/4 and 3/4 is in music – now let’s mix things up a bit with introducing 2/2
The TOP of the time signature tells you how many beats per measure (bpm), whereas the BOTTOM tells you “Which note gets the beat”.
So an example is that in 7/8 – you would have 7 eighth notes. In 12/16 time signature – you would have 12 sixteenth notes.
What is Cut Time?
Cut Time is taking a song in 4/4 and playing it in half. So instead of the drums playing at 120 bpm (beats per minute) then they now play at 60 bpm. This creates a lot of tension, and is commonly referred to a “breakdown” in music. This is used a lot in Rock Music, and heavy metal.
What is Common Time?
The same as 4/4. In Western Culture, 4/4 is a time signature so common it actually get’s called “Common Time”. Most Popular music is in Common Time.
If you were learning a new language (like Spanish, French, etc.) it would take you a few months to be able to speak it. The thing is that reading music is ALSO a language. So don’t expect to understand it over night. Truth is that you get out of it what you put into it.
Beats Per Minute, or BPM, refers to tempo. Tempo is how fast (or slow) something is played. Quincy Jones always said that tempo is what makes the song. And its true! If you were to take a slow song and play it very fast, you’ll quickly realize that you have completely changed the dynamic feel and emotion of the song. Throughout a song you can speed and slow down the tempo if you choose. Its not a technique used too often, but when used can be very powerful, especially when leading into different parts of a song!
To learn more on this subject, be sure to check out these videos below. Everything from sightreading, to understanding beats and metronomes:
One of my students claimed that she constantly wrote ‘Crap’ music. The trick is to never give up. Also, that music isn’t ‘crap’ – if it came from your heart than nothing could be further from crap. Your emotion, passion, and talent is concealed in that piece of music you wrote.
Be proud that you wrote a great song. Maybe its not your best, but just know that it all gets better!
Your Weekly Music Lesson with Walt! Class #5: ‘Time Signatures’. This was recorded at Podcamp Pittsburgh in front of a live audience. The response was awesome, and I hope to do more videos like this! Last week in week 4 we learned all about ‘Tempos‘ in music. Tempo and Time Signatures are not related, but the two do go hand in hand. People get this confused. We learned Chords a few weeks ago, as well as the notes on guitar, and now we’re tackling Time Signatures. Any music questions let me know! you can also watch all my other Revision 3 tutorials too.
Rip out that instrument, turn up the volume, skip dinner, and GET READY! Any music questions let me know!
This is my new show hosted on Revision3 Beta. Big ups to all the peeps who submitted the show to Digg. I now have the YOU Section all set up. So all the pictures, videos, and poems you send me I post there.
Time Signatures are tricky, because people get them confused with key signatures but in reality, the two aren’t related – they’re simply next to each other in the sheet music. To understand time signatures you have to understand beats in music. So watch below and get up to snuff!
Some examples of Time Signatures:
A measure of 4/4 is telling you there are “4 quarter notes per measure”
A measure of 7/16 is telling you there are “7 sixteenth notes per measure”
A measure of 7/8 is telling you there are “7 eighth notes per measure”