- Lesson 1: Note values, duration, and time signatures
- Lesson 2: Rhythm, dotted notes, ties, and rests
- Lesson 3: Meters in double and triple time, upbeats
- Lesson 4: Meters in 6, 9, and 12
- Lesson 5: Review of time signatures – Simple, compound, and complex
- Lesson 6: Constant versus changing time, adding triplets, and duplets
- Glossary of musical terms
Created by All Star Orchestra.
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- I understand the meaning of the different time signatures but don't completely understand their purpose. I don't completely understand what the purpose for so many signatures is, why isn't music simply standardized to just a few time signatures. Is there a huge difference in the music written in different time signatures given the notes remain the same other than where the measures are located?(8 votes)
- The different time signatures allow for music to express different styles. For example a waltz has a different feel than compared to the tango. If all music was in two or three time signatures, the variety and flexibility that music has would be greatly reduced.(7 votes)
- Why do most songs use 3/4 time signatures?(5 votes)
- Just for a fun fact: The most common time signature is the 4/4, it is so common that 4/4 is also called "common time", many composers write a C instead of the usual x/x time signature because of this. Therefore if you are a musician and you see a C at the beginning of the piece, you would know it has a 4/4 time signature.(12 votes)
- I am a little confused by the different notes. For instance how do they effect the music? (like Piano) how would a whole note sound different from a half and a half note sound different from a quarter note and so on?(4 votes)
- It is the feeling, and the pulse of the music. For example, technically you can play a piece that is written in cut time but play the piece in 4/4. Even at the same tempo, it would not have the same feel if you were counting in those two different meters.
Take the piece 'Cantina Band' by John Williams from Star Wars, at the same tempo and speed, play the piece in the appropriate time signature (2/2) then play the piece in 4/4. Do you notice a difference in the way you played the piece? If you played it right, then you would feel a difference. One is more exciting and dance-like, where the other time signature does not quite have the same excitement. Because this is supposed to be an energetic piece, one to dance to and to be moving forward as fast as it can go, so that is why we play the piece in cut time rather in standard time.
Did my explanation make sense? If not, then please let me know. This is a good question and you should know why we use different notes and different meters for different musical situations.(9 votes)
- Is there any quizzes in this music subject?(8 votes)
- There aren't any on Khan Academy, but I'm sure you can find some by just googling the subjects and adding what kinds of questions you want.(0 votes)
- Why don't the musicians have to turn musical sheets more frequently?(5 votes)
- They memorize whole parts of the score, and often will read several bars or pages ahead of where they are in the piece.(1 vote)
- Hi, I play piano and am playing Chopin's waltz in A minor. Is there any way I could make the melody, the right hand sing out a bit? Thanks!(2 votes)
- For that particular piece, I would suggest strongly accenting the first beat of the left hand, and very lightly playing the second and third beats, so you don't drown out the melody of the right hand.
The melody is very beautiful, but very, very simple, each player needs to add their own personal flair to it. Just plainly playing it wouldn't do it justice. Add lots and lots of crescendos, diminuendos. Try practicing the melody of the right hand separately, and get a feel for the music.
Tempo isn't that important, but still keep an even pace, especially the left hand. I think mine is marked as "Allegretto", not too fast, but just a little lively, I would suggest around 100-118.
Finally, it is extremely helpful to record your playing and hear it back. Maybe you'd hear something not obvious while playing. Is the melody drowned out, unclear? Is the phrasing a little uneven?... etc. This applies to any other piece really.
Was this helpful to you? I'm assuming this is the Waltz in A Minor Op. posth. anyway. It's a great piece to get started on Chopin.(4 votes)
- Is it possible to simplify time signatures like fractions?(3 votes)
- The first number says how many beats there are in a measure. The second number is the fraction of a whole note (semibreve) that is the duration of a beat. In 1/4 (which is only used very rarely because it doesn't really signify much), there is a one-quarter note and it gets the beat.
It was misleading of me to say that many waltzes are played in 1/4. What I meant to say is that many conductors will only show one beat per measure to their orchestra in a fast waltz because it would be too difficult for them to show three and would be less helpful to their players. I suppose that they're theoretically beating in 1/2 that's subdivided into triplets, but it's irrelevant.
Simple triple meter (3/4) has one strong emphasis on the third beat and two weaker beats following. Such music would (probably intentionally) confuse the listener as to where the measures begin and end.
Time signatures are not just about how long measures are. They're also about where the primary and secondary emphases go in the measure.
There is always one stress/strong accent/(I'm sorry there are a million names for music theory ideas because music theory is not as unified as other theoretical disciplines) per measure. That's why 1/4 isn't used often - it doesn't tell you much of anything that you don't already know. Measures are about beat hierarchy, so just having one per measure is a bit nonsensical (for most pre-20th Century music).
Hope that helped!!
- what does a quarter plus an eighth equal ?(2 votes)
- A quarter note and eighth note would fill 1 1/2 beats in 4/4 time. It can also be written as a dotted quarter note. In 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 it would take up 3 beats.(2 votes)
- This was a great video. But what does the dotted line mean?(2 votes)
- The dotted line at0:58represents how the 6/8 bar is counted differently, in two parts (hence that fact that the dotted line divides the measure in half.) At1:58it divides a 9/8 bar into 3 counted parts.(2 votes)
- What is the definition of pizzicato?(2 votes)
- Pizzicato is when the strings of a instrument such as the viola or violoncello are plucked, instead of bowed. There are some varieties of pizzicato, such as plucking the string so hard that it hits the instrument, and makes a harsh snapping sound. A tremolo pizzicato is where the string is constantly plucked with the fingers to making a quiet, bubbling sound.(2 votes)
- [Instructor] Here is an example of 6/4 time from American composer Joseph Schwantner's The Poet's Hour. Six beats in a measure with the quarter note getting one beat. ("The Poet's Hour") The next meter that we will discuss is 6/8. Six beats in a measure with the eighth note getting one beat. This one is a little more complicated because at a slow tempo or a slow speed we can think of each measure with six beats in a bar. But if a tempo is fast, we divide the bar into two beats with each beat worth three eighth notes or a dotted quarter. For a slow version of 6/8, let's listen to this beautiful passage for the oboes and English horn from Ravel's ballet, Daphnis et Chloe. (gentle music) For a fast version, let's listen to part of the Firebird's Variation from Stravinsky's ballet, The Firebird. (bright music) 9/8 continues with the same pattern. In a slow speed or tempo, each eighth note receives one beat, with nine beats in a bar. In a faster tempo, the pulse is three, with a dotted quarter note receiving one pulse or one beat. 12/8 continues in the same pattern. In a slow tempo, 12 beats in a measure with an eighth note receiving one beat. If we look at the opening of Stravinsky's Firebird, we see 12/8 at the slow temp with a feeling of 12 beats in a measure. (deep somber music) If we look at the same introduction a few bars later, the pulse moves to four beats with a dotted quarter note getting one beat. (light airy music)