notation question

  • when i see:
    moderato (in 2)

    what does "in 2" mean?

    thanks in advance.

    by knotty on 06/19/2008, 07:06:23 # 41697

  • 2 beats per measure; cut time; two two:


    by Dr. Whack on 06/19/2008, 07:21:35

  • hmm ...

    i'm gonna have to ask what i've never dared asked for years then.

    what is the difference between 2/2 and 4/4.
    if the sig. says 2/2, am i to play this any differently than 4/4.

    what's "cut time"?

    if you look at wikipedia:

    there's the example of west side story, alternating 3/4 and 6/8. i don't get it.  
    is it about foot tapping ?

    by knotty on 06/19/2008, 10:39:28

  • the way i was taught was how you count the measures.  for example if you were counting a 4 measure rest, you would count it 1234,2234,3234,4234 in 4.  in 2 it would be 12, 22, 32, 42 which equates to the spead of the song.  if you're playing cherokee at break neck speed, in your head you should be counting it as 12, 22, 32, 42

    the west side story example is probably the song america and berstein chose to notate it that way.  it could have also been written in 6/4  counted 1&2&3&4  5  6

    hope that makes sense.

    by LarryC on 06/19/2008, 11:16:09

  • the basics of it are that the top number is how many beats per measure you get, and the bottom number is what kind of note gets a beat.

    so, 4/4 is 4 beats per measure, the quarter note gets one beat.

    2/4 is two beats per measure, quarter note gets one beat, 3/4 is three beats per measure, etc...

    then you get into stranger signatures like 4/2 where you get four beats but a half note is one beat.

    by Scot Ranney on 06/19/2008, 13:44:51

  • the bottom number in a time signature is not a numeric value.  it is actually a symbol for a type of note. for example:  

    2 = half note
    4 = quarter note
    8 = eighth note
    16 = sixteenth note 2/2 the half note is equal to one "beat". in 4/4 a quarter note is the beat, so the "feel" of those two would be slightly different although the metric relationships are be the same.

    to quote our esteemed colleague larryc, i "hope that makes sense" :)

    by Dr. Whack on 06/20/2008, 06:04:45

  • *are the same* not *are be the same* = heh heh (can't wait til we can edit posts :)

    by Dr. Whack on 06/20/2008, 06:06:40

  • by knotty on 06/20/2008, 08:28:09

  • of course it's pretty difficult to describe musical feels in text, but the case of 6/8 v 3/4 may be possible.

    6/8 is often felt as two groups of three (both duple and triple meters) where the main pulse (accent) would sound on beats 1 and 4.

    3/4 is most often felt as three beats per measure with an accent on beat one.

    2/2 generally moves quicker than 4/4.  at quicker tempos it's much easier to play and feel the time with two main pulses per measure instead of four.  for example; try playing a tune in 4/4 at 200 bpm. then try playing the same tune with your metronome set at 100 bpm for a half note...maybe you'll feel a difference...

    by Dr. Whack on 06/20/2008, 09:01:10

  • you hear that a lot "what's the difference between 2/2 and 4/4. except for the time signature they look the same. what's up with that?"

    composers typically write in 2/4 or 2/2 in the case where if you counted it in through in four somewhere in there would be an extra 2 beat bar that would turn the beat around (or require a special little count for just that one little "half-bar").

    and what dw said.

    by 7 on 06/20/2008, 15:29:03

  • thanks!

    by knotty on 06/20/2008, 19:46:22

  • on a lead sheet for waltz for debby (clearly a 3/4 tune, as shown on the time signature and suggested by the name), it says "in one" just above the first staff.  in answer to knotty's original question, "in two" meant 2/2 what does "in one" mean for the waltz?

    by cflat on 06/23/2008, 11:53:58

  • another interesting tune is "take five".  i believe, correct me if i'm wrong, 5/4 time?
    probable good practice to play in different times or even change in the middle of a song.  can't think right away of any that do that.

    by jmkarns on 06/23/2008, 18:27:39

  • cflat,

    "in one" means that it is a quick 3/4 (dotted half note=80 bpm or so)


    yes, take five is in 5/4.  it's  usually felt as alternating measures of 3/4 & 2/4

    by Dr. Whack on 06/23/2008, 19:32:05

  • the rhythm in the 3/4 "half" of the bar in "take 5"is played exactly as a jazz waltz.

    by 7 on 06/23/2008, 21:01:22

  • thanks, dr. whack

    by cflat on 06/24/2008, 05:48:27

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