The time signature (also known as "meter signature") is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and what note value constitutes one beat. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music Western culture (sometimes equated with Western Civilization) are terms which are used to refer to Cultures of European origin See also Modern musical symbols Music notation or musical notation is any system which represents aurally perceived Music through the use A beat is the basic Time Unit of a piece of Music; for example each tick sounded by a Metronome would correspond to a beat In Musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration In Music notation, a note value indicates the relative Duration of a note, using the color or shape of the Note head, the presence Time signatures indicate meter, but do not necessarily determine it; the composer is free to write in a different meter than that indicated by the signature, so long as the measures contain the indicated number of beats.

The opening of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in A flat, Op. 110 (1821). Ludwig van Beethoven ( English ˈlʊdvɪg væn ˈbeɪtoʊvən, 16 December 1770 &ndash 26 March 1827 was a German Composer and Pianist. The Piano Sonata No 31 in A flat major Op 110, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed in 1821 The time signature, 3/4, appears on both the treble and bass staffs and is highlighted here in blue.

Most time signatures comprise two numbers, one above the other. In text (as in this article), time signatures are written in the manner of a fraction: the example shown at right would be written 3/4. In Mathematics, a fraction (from the Latin fractus, broken is a concept of a proportional relation between an object part and the object Note that no line appears between the numbers when written in the music.

In a musical score, the time signature appears at the beginning of the piece, immediately following the key signature (or immediately following the clef if the piece is in C major or A minor). In Musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently A clef (from the French for "key" is a musical symbol used to indicate the pitch of written notes. See also C minor, C-sharp minor C major (often just C or key of C) is a musical Major scale based on C A minor (abbreviated Am) is a Minor scale based on A consisting of the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, A mid-score time signature, usually immediately following a barline, indicates a change of meter. In Musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration

## Simple and compound time signatures

Basic time signatures: 4/4, also known as common time (C), 2/2, also known as cut time or cut-common time (¢), 2/4, 3/4 & 6/8

Time signatures consist of two numbers, one on top of the other. The bottom number gives the type of note as a fraction of a whole note (a whole note is called a 'semibreve' in UK English) that is the "beat unit"; e. g. , 4 on the bottom means quarter-note (crotchet) counts and 8 on the bottom mean eighth-note (quaver) counts. A quarter note (American or "German" terminology or crotchet (British or "classical" terminology is a note played for one quarter of the duration The top number specifies how many beats are in each measure. For instance, 2/4 means 2 quarter-note beats.

Time signatures can be "simple" or "compound".

### Simple time signatures

In a simple time signature, each beat is divided into two equal parts. In Music, simple meter or simple time is a Time signature or meter in which each beat (or rather portion 1/2 or 1/3 of a Typically, therefore, each beat has the value of a non-dotted note.

• The upper number indicates how many beats there are in a bar;
• The lower number indicates the note value which represents one beat (the "beat unit"). A beat is the basic Time Unit of a piece of Music; for example each tick sounded by a Metronome would correspond to a beat In Musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration In Music notation, a note value indicates the relative Duration of a note, using the color or shape of the Note head, the presence

The most common simple time signatures are 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4. The 4 at the bottom indicates that the beat unit is the quarter note or crotchet. A quarter note (American or "German" terminology or crotchet (British or "classical" terminology is a note played for one quarter of the duration For example, 3/4 means three quarter-note beats per measure.

#### Notational variations in simple time

Alla breve symbol.

The letter "C" is sometimes used for 4/4 time, also called "common time" or "imperfect time". The symbol is derived from a broken circle used in early music, where a full circle represented 3/4 time, called "perfect time". [1] A "C" with a vertical line through it is used in place of 2/2, also known as "alla breve" or, colloquially, "cut time".

### Compound time signatures

In compound time signatures, each main beat is divided into three equal parts (as distinct from the two equal parts in simple time). In Music, compound meter, compound metre, or compound time ( chiefly British variation) is a Time signature or meter in Compound time signatures are distinguished by an upper number which is commonly 6, 9 or 12. The most common lower number in a compound time signature is 8, meaning the time is beaten in eighth notes (quavers).

Unlike simple time, however, compound time uses a dotted note for the beat unit. In Western Musical notation, a dotted note is a Note with a small dot written after it Consequently, since it is impossible to indicate a dotted note by using a single, non-fractional number, the upper and lower numbers in compound time signatures do not represent the number of beats per bar and the beat unit, as they do in simple time.

#### Interpreting compound time signatures

The upper and lower numbers in compound time signatures are determined as follows:

• To determine the number of beats per bar, divide the upper number by three. For example, in 6/8, there are 2 beats per measure. The pulse in a compound 6/8 will have two dotted quarter-note (crotchet) beats, and each beat will subdivide into a group of three eighth notes.
• To identify the "beat unit" (i. e. which type of note represents one beat), multiply the note value represented by the lower number by three. In Music notation, a note value indicates the relative Duration of a note, using the color or shape of the Note head, the presence In 6/8, the lower number (8) represents the note value of an eighth note. Multiplying that note value by three gives a unit of a dotted quarter note, or 3 eighth notes.

For example, 12/8 time would be counted: One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve (or alternatively, one and uh two and uh three and uh four and uh).

In compound time, the beat unit is always a dotted note value. In Music notation, a note value indicates the relative Duration of a note, using the color or shape of the Note head, the presence The most common compound time signatures are 6/8, 9/8 and 12/8, denoting two, three and four dotted quarter note beats per bar.

### Beat and time

Time signatures indicating two beats per bar (whether simple or compound) are called duple time; those with three beats to the bar are triple time. To the ear, a bar may seem like one singular beat. For example, in some fast waltzes, which are most commonly in 3/4 time, the term single time may be used. Terms such as quadruple (4), quintuple (5), and so on are also occasionally used.

### Most frequent time signatures

 Simple time signatures 4/4 (quadruple) common time: widely used in most forms of Western classical and popular music. 2/2 (duple) alla breve, cut time: used for marches and fast orchestral music. A march, as a Musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a Military Frequently occurs in musical theater. Musical theatre is a form of Theatre combining Music, Songs spoken Dialogue and Dance. Sometimes called "in 2". 4/2 (quadruple) common in early music; rarer since 1600, although Brahms and other composers used it occasionally. 2/4 (duple) used for polkas or marches 3/4 (triple) used for waltzes, minuets, scherzi, and country & western ballads. The polka is a fast lively Central European Dance and also a genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas A march, as a Musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a Military A waltz, or valse from the German term is a piece of music in triple meter most often 3/4 but sometimes 3/8 or 6/8 A minuet, sometimes spelled menuet, is a Social dance of French origin for two persons usually in 3/4 time. A scherzo (plural scherzi) is a piece of Music or a movement in a certain style that forms part of a larger piece such as a Symphony. 3/8 (triple) also used for the above, but usually suggests higher tempo or shorter hypermeter. Compound time signatures 6/8 (duple) double jigs, polkas, fast obscure waltzes, marches and some rock music. The jig (port is a Folk dance type as well as the accompanying dance tune type popular in Ireland. The waltz is a ballroom and folk Dance in time, performed primarily in Closed position. A march, as a Musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by a Military 9/8 (triple) "compound triple time", used in triple ("slip") jigs, otherwise occurring rarely (The Sorcerer's Apprentice and The Ride of the Valkyries are some familiar examples) 12/8 (quadruple) classical music; also common in slower blues and doo-wop, also used more recently in rock music. The Sorcerer's Apprentice is the English name of Goethe 's poem Der Zauberlehrling (1797 The Ride of the Valkyries (Walkürenritt is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre by Richard Wagner. The Blues is a vocal and instrumental form of Music based on the use of the Blue notes It emerged as an accessible form of self-expression Doo-wop is a style of vocal-based Rhythm and blues music which developed in African-American communities in the 1940s and which achieved mainstream popularity both in the 1950s

## Complex time signatures

Signatures which do not fit into the usual duple or triple categories are known as complex, asymmetric, or irregular, although these are broad terms, and usually a more specific description is appropriate. Most often these can be recognised by the upper number being 5, 7, or another, larger, prime number. In Mathematics, a prime number (or a prime) is a Natural number which has exactly two distinct natural number Divisors 1 The earliest examples of irregular signatures are found in instrumental music by Giovanni Valentini (1582-1649) and Anton Reicha (1770-1836), written in 5/4, 9/8, etc. Giovanni Valentini (c 1582 &ndash 29/ 30 April 1649) was an Italian Baroque Composer, Poet and keyboard virtuoso Anton ( Antonín, Antoine) Reicha ( Rejcha) ( February 26, 1770 &ndash May 28, 1836) was a Czech -born Although these more complex meters were common in non-Western music, they were rarely used in formal written Western music until the late 19th century . The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar The waltz-like second movement of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony (premiered in 1893) and the theme from Mission: Impossible, are two of the more familiar examples of 5/4. The waltz is a ballroom and folk Dance in time, performed primarily in Closed position. The Symphony No 6 in B minor, Pathétique, Op 74 is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 's final Symphony, written between February Year 1893 ( MDCCCXCIII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Mission Impossible (often referred to as Mission Impossible The Original Series) is an American Television series that chronicles Examples from the 20th century include Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War," (5/4) from the orchestral suite The Planets, and the ending of Stravinsky's Firebird (7/4). Gustav Theodore Holst (21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934was an English Composer and was a music teacher for nearly 20 years The Planets Op 32 is a seven- movement Orchestral suite by the British composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to The Firebird ( French: L'Oiseau de feu; Russian: Жар-птица Žar-ptica) is a 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky

Examples from the Western popular music tradition include Nick Drake's "River Man" (5/4), grunge band Soundgarden's "Outshined" (7/4), grunge band Alice In Chains' "Them Bones" (7/8 in the verse and 4/4 in the chorus), Canadian rock band April Wine's "Say Hello" (6/4), Radiohead's "15 Step" (5/4), "2+2=5" (7/8 then 4/4) and "Paranoid Android" (includes 7/4), metal band Metallica's ""Blackened" (7/4 pre-verse, 6/4 verse and 4/4 chorus) and alternative rock band Incubus' "Make Yourself" (7/4 followed by two bars of 4/4). Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974 was an English Singer-songwriter and Musician best known for his acoustic autumnal songs "River Man" ( is the second listed song from Nick Drake 's 1969 album Five Leaves Left, remastered and released as a single in 2004 " Outshined " is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden, released in 1991 as the second single from the band's third studio album Badmotorfinger Alice in Chains is an American rock band formed in Seattle Washington in For the novel of the same name see Them Bones (novel. For the spiritual song see Dem Bones. April Wine is a Canadian rock band formed in 1969 According to the band they chose the name 'April Wine' simply because members thought the two words Radiohead Metallica is an American heavy metal band that formed in 1981 in. …And Justice for All is the fourth Studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. Incubus is a Grammy -nominated Alternative rock band based out of Calabasas, California. The rock genre of progressive rock made large use of unusual time as a defining characteristic; examples include "Money" (7/4), from Pink Floyd, "Metropolis Pt. Progressive rock (often shortened to " progressive " " prog " or " prog rock " is a form of Rock music that evolved " Money " is the sixth track from British Progressive rock band Pink Floyd 's 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd are 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" by Dream Theater. Beginning of instrumental section in 13/8, broken down as 6/8 + 7/8, and later as 4/4 + 5/8.

The jazz composition "Take Five", written in 5/4 time, was one of a number of irregular-meter experiments of The Dave Brubeck Quartet, which also produced compositions in 11/4 ("Eleven Four"), 7/4 ("Unsquare Dance"), and 9/8 ("Blue Rondo a la Turk"), expressed as 2+2+2+3/8, this last being a good example of a work in a signature which, despite appearing merely compound triple, is actually more complex. Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States " Take Five " is a classic Jazz piece first recorded by The Dave Brubeck Quartet and released on its 1959 album Time Out. David Warren Brubeck (born December 6, 1920 in Concord California) better known as Dave Brubeck, is an American jazz pianist

It should be pointed out that such time signatures are only considered "unusual" from a Western point of view. In contrast, for example, Bulgarian dances use such meters extensively, including forms with 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22, 25 and other numbers of beats per measure. Bulgarian folk dances are intimately related to the Music of Bulgaria. These rhythms are notated as additive rhythms based on simple units, usually 2, 3 and 4 beats, though the notation fails to describe the metric "time bending" taking place; or as compound meters, for example the Bulgarian Sedi Donka, consisting of 25 beats divided 7+7+11, where 7 is subdivided 3+2+2 and 11 is subdivided 2+2+3+2+2 or 4+3+4. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music In Music, compound meter, compound metre, or compound time ( chiefly British variation) is a Time signature or meter in See Variants below. The time signature (also known as " meter signature" is a notational convention used in Western Musical notation to specify how many beats

For more examples, see List of works in unusual time signatures. BEFORE YOU ADD ANY NEW PIECES PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CITE A RELIABLE SOURCE! TRYING TO INTERPRET

## Mixed meters

While time signatures usually express a regular pattern of beat stresses continuing through a piece (or at least a section), sometimes composers place a different time signature at the beginning of each bar, resulting in music with an extremely irregular rhythmic feel. In this case the time signatures are an aid to the performers, not an indication of meter. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music The Promenade from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a good example:

Burt Bacharach's rhythmically exciting song "Promises, Promises" likewise features a constantly changing meter. Pictures at an Exhibition (Картинки с выставки &ndash Воспоминание о Викторе Гартмане Kartinki s vystavki &ndash Vospominaniye Burt Bacharach (ˈbækəræk born May 12, 1928) is an American Pianist and Composer. Promises Promises is a Broadway Musical comedy based on the film The Apartment by Billy Wilder.

Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is famous for its "savage" rhythms:

Some composers (and even Hymnals) simply omit the time signature in such cases. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to This article is about the ballet music For the emo/hardcore band see Rites of Spring The Rite of Spring, commonly referred A hymn is a type of Song, usually religious specifically written for the purpose of praise adoration or Prayer, and typically addressed to a deity/deities Many songs in Bertolt Brecht's plays also follow this convention. (born; 10 February 1898&ndash14 August 1956 was a German Poet, Playwright, and Theatre director.

Some pieces have no time signature, as there is no discernible rhythm. This is commonly known as free time. Free time is a type of Musical meter free from musical time & Time signature. Sometimes one is provided (usually 4/4) so that the performer finds the piece easier to read, and simply has 'free time' written as a direction. Sometimes the word FREE is written downwards on the stave to indicate the piece is in free time. Erik Satie wrote many compositions which are ostensibly in free time, but actually follow an unstated and unchanging simple time signature throughout. Alfred Éric Leslie Satie ( Honfleur, 17 May 1866 – Paris, 1 July 1925) was a French Composer and Later composers have made more effective use of this device, writing music which is almost devoid of any discernible regularity of pulse.

If two time signatures alternate repeatedly, sometimes the two signatures will be placed together at the beginning of the piece or section, as in this example, the chorus from the song "America" from West Side Story: in this case, it alternates between 6/8 (in two) in the first measure of each pair and 3/4 (in three) in the second measure. West Side Story is a musical by Arthur Laurents (book Leonard Bernstein (music and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics

## Variants

To indicate more complex patterns of stresses, such as additive rhythms, more complex time signatures can be used. In Music, an additive rhythm is a Rhythm in which larger periods of time are constructed from sequences of smaller Rhythmic units added to the end of the For example, the signature

which can be written 3+2+3/8, means that the first of a group of three eighth notes (quavers) is to be stressed, then the first of a group of two, then first of a group of three again. The stress pattern is usually counted as one-two-three-one-two-one-two-three. This kind of time signature is commonly used to notate folk and non-Western types of music. In classical music, Béla Bartók and Olivier Messiaen have used such time signatures in their works. Béla Viktor János Bartók (March 25 1881&ndashSeptember 26 1945 was a Hungarian Composer and Pianist, considered to be one of the greatest Olivier Messiaen ( December 10 1908 &ndash April 27 1992 was a French Composer, organist and ornithologist.

Romanian musicologist Constantin Brăiloiu had a special interest in compound time signatures, developed while studying the traditional music of certain regions in his country. Musicology ( Greek: μουσική = "music" and λόγος = "word" or "reason" is the scholarly study of Music Romania is a European country whose population consists mainly (approx While investigating the origins of such unusual meters, he learned that they were even more characteristic of the traditional music of neighboring peoples (e. g. the Bulgarians). Bulgarian music is part of the Balkan tradition which stretches across Southeastern Europe, and has its own distinctive sound He suggested that such timings can be regarded as compounds of simple two-beat and three-beat meters, where an accent falls on every first beat, even though, for example in Bulgarian music, beat lengths of 1, 2, 3, 4 are used in the metric description. Bulgarian folk dances are intimately related to the Music of Bulgaria. In addition, when focusing only on the stressed beats, the simple time signatures themselves will count as beats in the compound time. There will be two kinds of beats with the resulting compound time, of which the simple "three-beat" will be fairly longer than the "two-beat".

Folk music may make use of metric time bends, so that the proportions of the performed metric beat time lengths differ from the exact proportions indicated by the metric. Depending on playing style of the same meter, the time bend can vary from non-existent to considerable; in the latter case, some musicologists may want to assign a different meter. For example, the Bulgarian tune Eleno Mome is written as 7=2+2+1+2, 13=4+4+2+3, 12=3+4+2+3, but an actual performance (e. Bulgarian folk dances are intimately related to the Music of Bulgaria. g. Smithsonian Eleno Mome) may be closer to 4+4+2+3. 5. The Macedonian 3+2+2+3+2 meter is even more complicated, with heavier time bends, and the use of quadruples on the threes; the metric beat time proportions may vary with the speed the tune is being played. Leventikos (Λεβέντικος Levéntikos; Macedonian Slavic: Пуштено Pušteno) also called Λιτός ( Litós) Kucano In Western classical music, metric time bend is used in the performance of the Viennese Waltz. Viennese Waltz (Wiener Walzer is the genre of a Ballroom dance. Most Western music uses metric ratios of 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 (two-, three- or four-beat time signatures) — in other words, integer ratios which determine all beats to be of equal time length; so relative to that, 3:2 and 4:3 ratios corresponds to a very distinctive metric rhythm profiles — complex accentuation is used in Western music, but not as a part of the metric accentuation, instead viewed as syncopation. In Music, syncopation includes a variety of Rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced

Brăiloiu borrowed a term from Turkish medieval music theory: aksak (Turkish for "crippled"). The music of Turkey includes diverse elements ranging from Central Asian folk music and music from Ottoman Empire dominions such as Persian music, Turkish ( tr Türkçe IPA) is a language spoken by over 63 million people worldwide making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Such compound time signatures fall under the aksak rhythm category that he introduced along with a couple more that should describe the rhythm figures in traditional music. [2] (Aksak is sometimes spelled as aksaac, because there isn't an exact transliteration from medieval Turkish into Latin alphabet. ) The term Brăiloiu revived had a moderate success worldwide, but in Eastern Europe it is still frequently used. However, aksak rhythm figures are to be found not only in a few European countries, but on all continents, featuring various combinations of the "two" and "three" sequences. Yet the longest were found in Bulgaria; the shortest aksak rhythm figures would be the five-beat timing, comprising a "two" and a "three" (which can be also ordered as "three" followed by the "two").

### Other variants

Some composers have used fractional beats: for example, the time signature 2½/4 appears in Carlos Chávez's Sonata No. Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez ( June 13, 1899 &ndash August 2, 1978) was a Mexican Composer, conductor 3 (1928) IV, m. 1.

Example of Orff's time signatures

Music educator Carl Orff proposed replacing the lower number of the time signature with the actual note value, as shown at right. Carl Orff ( &ndash) was a 20th-century German Composer, most famous for Carmina Burana (1937 This system eliminates the need for compound time signatures (described above), which are confusing to beginners. While this notation has not been adopted by music publishers generally (except in Orff's own compositions), it is used extensively in music education textbooks. Similarly, American composers George Crumb and Joseph Schwantner, among others, have used this system in many of their works. George Crumb (born October 24, 1929) is an American Composer of modern and Avant garde music Joseph Schwantner (born March 22, 1943 in Chicago Illinois) is a Pulitzer Prize winning American composer and educator and a member

Another possibility is to extend the barline where a time change is to take place above the top instrument's line in a score and to write the time signature there, and there only, saving the ink and effort that would have been spent writing it in each instrument's staff. Henryk Górecki's Beatus Vir is an example of this. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (ˈxɛnrɨk mʲiˈkɔwaj guˈrɛ͡tski (born December 6 1933 in Czernica, Silesia, Poland) is a Polish Composer Alternatively, music in a large score sometimes has time signatures written as very long, thin numbers covering the whole height of the score rather than replicating it on each staff; this is an aid to the conductor, who can see signature changes more easily.

## "Irrational" meters

These are time signatures which have a denominator which is not a power of two (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. ). These are used to express the division of a whole note (semibreve) into equal parts just as ordinary signatures do. In Music, a whole note (American or "German" terminology or semibreve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note represented For example, where 4/4 implies a bar construction of four quarter-parts of a whole note (i. e. , four quarter notes), 4/3 implies a bar construction of four third-parts of it. These signatures are only of utility when juxtaposed with other signatures with varying denominators; a piece written entirely in 4/3, say, could be more legibly written out in 4/4.

It is arguable whether the use of these signatures makes metric relationships clearer or more obscure to the musician; it is always possible to write a passage using non-"irrational" signatures by specifying a relationship between some note length in the previous bar and some other in the succeeding one. Sometimes, successive metric relationships between bars are so convoluted that the pure use of irrational signatures would quickly render the notation extremely hard to penetrate. Good examples, written entirely in conventional signatures with the aid of between-bar specified metric relationships, occur a number of times in John Adams' opera Nixon in China (1987), where the sole use of "irrational" signatures would quickly produce massive numerators and denominators. John Coolidge Adams (born February 15 1947 is an American Composer with strong roots in minimalism. Nixon in China (1985-87 is an Opera with music by the American composer John Adams and a Libretto by Alice Goodman, about the

Historically, this device has been prefigured wherever composers have written tuplets; for example, a 2/4 bar consisting of 3 triplet crotchets could arguably more sensibly be written as a bar of 3/6. In Music a tuplet is any consecutive group of notes with an individual value more or less than half as long as the next larger note value Henry Cowell's piano piece "Fabric" (1920) throughout employs separate divisions of the bar (anything from 1 to 9) for the three contrapuntal parts, using a scheme of shaped noteheads to make the differences visually clear, but the pioneering of these signatures is largely due to Brian Ferneyhough. Henry Cowell ( March 11, 1897 – December 10, 1965) was an American Composer, musical theorist, Pianist The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers In Music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and Rhythm, and interdependent in Harmony Brian John Peter Ferneyhough (born 16 January, 1943 in Coventry) is an English Composer. Thomas Adès has also made extensive use of them, for example in his piano work "Traced Overhead" (1996), the second movement of which contains, among more conventional meters, bars in such signatures as 2/6, 9/14 and 5/24. Thomas Adès (born in London, 1 March 1971) is a British Composer, Pianist and conductor. A gradual process of diffusion into less rarefied musical circles seems to be underway, hence for example, John Pickard's work "Eden", commissioned for the 2006 finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, which contains bars of 3/10.

Notationally, rather than using Cowell's elaborate series of notehead shapes, the same convention has been invoked as when normal tuplets are written; for example, one beat in 4/5 is written as a normal quarter note, four quarter notes complete the bar, but the whole bar lasts only 4/5 of a reference whole note, and a beat 1/5 of one (or 4/5 of a normal quarter note). In Music, a whole note (American or "German" terminology or semibreve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note represented This is notated in exactly the same way that one would write if one were writing the first four quarter notes of five quintuplet quarter notes.

The term "irrational" is not being used here in its mathematical sense: an irrational number is one that cannot be written as a ratio of whole numbers, which all these signatures obviously are. In Mathematics, an irrational number is any Real number that is not a Rational number — that is it is a number which cannot be expressed as a fraction Nevertheless, the term appears to be established now, although at least one such piece with a truly irrational signature already exists: one of Conlon Nancarrow's "Studies for Player Piano" contains a canon where one part is augmented in the ratio √42:1

## Stress and meter

For all meters, the first beat (the downbeat, ignoring any anacrusis) is usually stressed (though not always, for example in reggae where the offbeats are stressed); in time signatures with four groups in the bar (such as 4/4 and 12/8), the third beat is often also stressed, though to a lesser degree. Conlon Nancarrow (born October 27 1912 &ndash August 10 1997) was a U In Music performance and Music theory, the downbeat is the first beat of a measure in Music, the impulse that occurs at the In Poetry, anacrusis is the lead-in Syllables collectively that precede the first full measure Reggae is a Music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s In Music, back beat (also backbeat) is a term applied both to a specific style of Rhythmic Accentuation with accent on even This gives a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats, although notes on the "stressed" beats are not necessarily louder or more important.

### Rewriting meters

There is a sense in which all simple triple time signatures, be they 3/8, 3/4, 3/2 or anything else, and all compound duple times, such as 6/8, 6/16 and so on, are equivalent – a piece in 3/4 can be easily rewritten in 3/8 simply by halving the length of the notes. Sometimes, the choice of beat unit is simply down to tradition: the minuet, for example, is generally written in 3/4, and though examples in 3/8 do exist, a minuet in 3/2 would be highly unconventional. A minuet, sometimes spelled menuet, is a Social dance of French origin for two persons usually in 3/4 time.

At other times, the choice of beat unit (the bottom number of a time signature) note can give subtle hints as to the character of the music: for example, time signatures with a longer beat unit (such as 3/2) can be used for pieces in a quick tempo to convey a sense of the time flying by. This may be counter-intuitive, but in the Baroque and Classical periods, typically meters with long note values (such as 3/2) were fast tempos, while slow movements were typically written with the eighth note as the beat. Baroque music describes an era and a set of styles of European classical music which were in widespread use between approximately 1600 and 1750. The dates of the Classical period in Western music are generally accepted as 1750 to 1810

Similarly, a piece in 2/4 can often sound as if it is in 4/4 (or vice versa) and a piece in 3/4 can sound as if it is in 6 or 12 compound time, particularly if the former is played quickly or the latter slowly. The distinction may be a matter of notation.

## Early music usage

### Mensural time signatures

In the 15th and 16th centuries, a period in which mensural notation was used, there were four basic time signatures, which determined the proportion between the two main units of rhythm. Mensural notation is the musical notation system which was used in European music from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. There were no measures or bar lines in music of this period; these signs, the ancestors of modern time signatures, indicate the ratio of duration between different note values. In Musical notation, a bar or measure is a segment of time defined as a given number of beats of a given duration A tone may be sustained for varying lengths of time. duration is a property of tone that becomes one of the bases rhythem or an amount of Time or a particular time In Music notation, a note value indicates the relative Duration of a note, using the color or shape of the Note head, the presence The relation between the breve and the semibreve was called tempus, and the relation between the semibreve and the minim was called prolatio. In Music, a double whole note (American or "German" terminology or breve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note lasting In Music, a whole note (American or "German" terminology or semibreve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note represented In Music, a whole note (American or "German" terminology or semibreve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note represented In Music, a half note (American or German terminology or minim (British or classical terminology is a Note played for half the duration of a Unlike modern notation, the duration ratios between these different values was not always 2:1; it could be either 2:1 or 3:1, and that is what these mensural signatures indicated. A ratio of 3:1 was called complete, perhaps a reference to the Trinity, and a ratio of 2:1 was called incomplete. SSC RF "Troitsk Institute of Innovative and Termonuclear Research" or TRINITY for shprt Троицкий Институт инновационных и термоядерных

A circle used as a time signature indicated tempus perfectum (a circle being a symbol of completeness), while an incomplete circle, resembling a letter C, indicated tempus imperfectum. Assuming the breve to be a beat, this corresponds to the modern concepts of triple meter and duple meter, respectively. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music In either case, a dot in the center indicated prolatio perfecta while the absence of such a dot indicated prolatio imperfecta, corresponding to simple meter and compound meter. Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music Meter or metre is a concept related to an underlying division of time characteristic of western music

A rough equivalence of these signs to modern meters would be:

• corresponds to 9/8 meter
• corresponds to 3/4 meter
• corresponds to 6/8 meter
• corresponds to 2/4 meter

N. B. in modern compound meters the beat is a dotted note value, such as a dotted quarter, because the ratios of the modern note value hierarchy are always 2:1. Dotted notes were never used in this way in the mensural period; the main beat unit was always a simple (undotted) note value.

### Proportions

Another set of signs in mensural notation specified the metric proportions of one section to another, similar to a metric modulation. Mensural notation is the musical notation system which was used in European music from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600. In Music a metric modulation is a change ( modulation) from one Time signature / Tempo ( meter) to another wherein a note value from A few common signs are shown:

• 1:2 proportion (twice as fast)
• 1:3 proportion (three times as fast)
• 2:3 proportion (similar to triplets)

Often the ratio was expressed as two numbers, one above the other, looking similar to a modern time signature, although it could have values such as 4/3, which a time signature could not.

There is still controversy regarding the meaning of some proportional signs, and they may not have been used consistently from one place or century to another. In addition, certain composers delighted in creating "puzzle" compositions which were intentionally difficult to decipher.

In particular, when the sign was encountered, the tactus (beat) changed from the usual semibreve to the breve, a circumstance called alla breve. In Music, a pulse or tactus is beat (a series of identical yet distinct periodic short-duration stimuli perceived as points in Time In Music, a whole note (American or "German" terminology or semibreve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note represented In Music, a double whole note (American or "German" terminology or breve (British or "classical" terminology is a Note lasting This term has been sustained to the present day, and although now it means the beat is a minim (half note), in contradiction to the literal meaning of the phrase, it still indicates that the beat has changed to a longer note value.

In the 17th century, additional signs such as also indicated proportions like this.