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Chapter 8 Continued - Understanding The Measure and Time Notation.

When reading sheet music you need to understand the concept of how time is marked. Here is a measure. It is the space between the two vertical bars.


It's a very simple concept. But when we put notes into this how long should the notes be? This is defined by beats in the measure. Every measure has a set number of beats and this is defined in the very beginning of the piece.

This next image tells you how many beats are in the measure. Think of a beat as a tapping of your foot or the solo beating of a drum. This number of beats is defined by the top number in the 4 above the 4. So the top number is 4. that means there are four beats per measure. So what do we have in this illustration. We see two measures and each measure gets four beats. To better understand this try tapping your foot slowly As you tap your foot you move your eye along the measure from left to right. When you tap your fourth time you should be at the end of the first measure. With the fifth tap you will start the second measure.

Remember: The Top number tells you how many beats are in the measure.

Lets look at another measure. The measure shown below shows a 2 as the top number. That means that each measure will take only two beats. Try tapping your foot two times. This is the length of this measure. Typically there will be four beats in ever measure but occasionally you will see different beats such as 2 or 8 or even 3..

Now lets look at the bottom number of these measures. This number tells you what note gets one beat. I realize this might be a bit difficult to grasp but stick with it. It will become clear. In the 4/4 version the top note is 4 and that means there are 4 beats in the measure and the bottom number is 4 that means a quarter note gets one beat.

In the second staff the top note is 2 and that means therre are two beats in every measure. And the bottom note is 2 and that means that a half note gets one beat.

That seems a little confusing but it will all come together as you learn what the notes are. Let's move on for now to the next part and you will get an understanding of the notes and then everything will fall into place.

Remember: The bottom number tells you what note gets one beat.

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