Reading Music

close menu


Beats and Measures

Time Signature

Note Value

Dotted Notes and the Tie


Values Shorter Than a Beat

Eighth and Sixteenth Notes

Eighth-Note and Sixteenth-Note Rests


Beat Unit

Simple and Compound Meters

Reading Musical Notes

An Example


Key Signatures

Keyboard Notes

Other Tutorials:




Harmonic Functions

Musical Forms

Related Exercises:

Rhythmic Dictation

Clef Reading

Time Signature

Key Signature Construction

Key Signature Identification

Time Signature

When reading music, one of the first element we will encounter is the time signature. Measures are qualified by two numbers used in the time signature. The number on top indicates the number of beats in each measure (we will later explain the function of the number on the bottom):

2 beats per measure
3 beats per measure
4 beats per measure

It is quite common to use the symbol as a time signature to define the measure of .

Translated by Dan Román, English version revised by Sue Talley

© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

Are you a member of

Write to us!


Music theory questions? Visit our Google+ Community and we will try to answer. Google Communities

Tweet Follow @teoriaEng