You are watching: When a time signature contains a 4 as the bottom number it means

I understand that a semibreve has actually a time value of 4, minim 2, crotchet 1 etc. I just don"t understand the purpose of the bottom number while signature. Because that example, 4/4 is informing me the crotchet is the type of beat, however crotchets don"t should be used. In ~ this suggest I"m starting to overlook the bottom number and only rely on the peak number (number the beats) together that appears to be the only thing the matters rule-wise.

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edited jan 12 in ~ 17:32

Dom♦

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asked Dec 11 "20 in ~ 0:01

Jessica CunninghamJessica Cunningham

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To placed it an extremely simply, the bottom number speak you what the peak number is introduce to. It is a little clearer to use the fractional method of pointing out notes, so:minim = half (1/2) notecrotchet = 4 minutes 1 (1/4) notequaver = eighth (1/8) note

So a measure of 4/4 has 4 quarter note (4 x 1/4) and a measure of 2/2 has two fifty percent notes (2 x 1/2). Technically, the actions both contain the same variety of quarter notes, but the steps will be counted differently as ttw described.

**But the bottom number does not always equate come the beat.** It simply tells girlfriend what the height number is referring to. Therefore you can have rememberingsomer.com in 5/4 with five **quarter** notes every measure and rememberingsomer.com in 5/8 with five **eighth** notes every measure, however these actions will each have a different number of **beats** - usually 5/4 will have five beats and 5/8 will have two win of unequal length.

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edited Dec 11 "20 in ~ 15:41

answer Dec 11 "20 at 2:23

PeterPeter

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You"re nowhere near the first, and won"t be the last, to it is in mystified by the numbers shown on time signatures. Maybe they began off rather favor fractions - and also still look choose that, yet the numbers room only part of the picture.

As in various other answers, the bottom number tells what the denominations are, if the top tells how countless of every is contained in every bar. Therefore far, therefore clear. As in 4/4, the denomination is the crotchet, or 4 minutes 1 note, exactly as it would be in a maths fraction. And the optimal number (numerator), tells that there are four crotchets every bar. That"s perhaps where the confusion starts. There doesn"t *have* come be 4 crotchets - anything which amounts up to their equivalent is great - two minims, eight quavers, one minim and one crotchet and four semiquavers, or any type of other of countless combinations - as long as they include up to tantamount of those four crotchets.

3/4 functions the same way - there space three crothets (1/4 notes) or equivlent in each bar. Often dubbed "three 4 minutes 1 time", for good reason. Return I"ve never come to terms v pieces that don"t have any type of full bars in them, if you understand what i mean!

So far, for this reason good. Then it starts to walk awry. Most beginners think about that 3/4 and 6/8 space the same. Yes, and no! True, they job-related out exactly the very same mathematically, yet rememberingsomer.com is more than maths. There had to be a way in i beg your pardon to represent a certain rhythm that went **1** 2 3 **4** 5 6. The couldn"t be counted like 3/4 time, together there were 6 "beats", or "sub-beats". So the peak number would be 6. 6 what? Quavers, which then made the bottom 8. Therefore 6/8. To me (and mine students), it"s an ext of a code that says "think Humpty Dumpty" (an English nursery happiness in that rhythm). 12/8 has actually a comparable problem/solution.

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So, that bottom number just tells what *sort* that notes each bar is going come contain, the peak one informing *how many* of castle there will certainly be (or equivalent). There aren"t that countless different time signatures offered regularly, so it might be a good idea simply to treat each together its very own case, and also work indigenous there. Then once 5/4, or 7/4, or 9/8 come along, work them out individually too.