Counting time

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In music, the beats form a grid within a measure . Numbered beats also make it easier to determine the position within a measure.

A time signature is denoted by a fraction metric , for example 44 or 68 . The numerator of the fraction shows the number of basic beats and thus the beats per measure, the denominator denotes the note value, i.e. the note length that lasts a beat; see. Example: quarter or eighth. In the score, the fraction is written without a fraction line.

By bundling the basic beats into bars, the basic beats get a reference point: In a bar, the basic beats are numbered one after the other (starting with 1 up to the value of the counter of the time signature), and on the other hand, the meters used in the time scheme make certain beats more than others stressed, whereby different basic beats within a measure have different intonations. The first basic beat of each measure often has the main emphasis.

Bars can be filled with shorter notes than indicated by the denominator of the time signature; the “countdown times” on which these notes are then played are usually not emphasized.

See also

Web links


  • Gunnar Eisenberg: Identification and classification of musical instrument sounds in monophonic and polyphonic music. Cuvillier, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-86727-825-6 , p. 18 (also: Berlin, Technical University, dissertation, 2008; limited preview in Google book search).