4/4 time

Music has a natural pulse and bar lines mark the natural divisions created by music.

It is useful to know how that pulse or rhythm is grouped before we start learning

the melody of the piece. For this we need two pieces of information:


How many beats are in the bar and also, whether these beats are minims, crotchets or quavers.

The symbol that gives us this information is called the Time Signature.

It is a symbol consisting of two numbers and looks quite like a mathematical fraction.

The top number signifies how many beats are in a bar and the bottom number tells

us what kind of number receives one beat.


The bottom number follows a system.


This system is as follows:

2 = minimkkjkhkhjkhjkh[

4 = crotchetkkjkhkhjkjkh[

8 = quaver kkjkhkhjhjkh[

16 = semiquaver kkjkkhjkh[

  3/4 time


  2/4 time    







The time signature 4/4 indicates that there is four crotchet beats in a bar.

This time signature is very common and is referred to as common time.

Sometimes it is notated with a capital C symbol.










This time signature is sometimes referred to as “waltz time.”

It has three crotchet beats in every bar.









This common time signature has two crotchet beats per bar.