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Lesson 18: Other Time Signatures of 3/2 and 6/4

Practice PatternsLesson 18 Practice Patterns

 

3/2 Time Signature

In Lesson 11 we learned about cut time, the time signature in which the half note is equal to one beat. There are other time signatures with the half note equal to one beat, as well. Although most of these do not occur frequently, it is possible to have any number of beats in a measure, so you may encounter 3/2, 4/2, 5/2, 6/2, etc. 3/2 is fairly common, so this lesson will focus on that time signature. Each note value will be the same length as it is in cut time.

6/4 Time Signature

In this lesson we will also learn 6/4 time, which can be performed in two different ways. At slower tempos, 6/4 is counted with the quarter note equal to one beat, and six beats per measure.

6/4 time signature in simple meter with the quarter note equal to one beat

At faster tempos we can perform music in 6/4 with two beats in a measure and with the dotted half note equal to one beat. When the dotted half note is equal to one beat 6/4 becomes a compound meter with the beat subdivided into three equal parts. We can subdivide it using the same syllables as we did for 6/8.

6/4 time in compound meter with the dotted half note equal to one beat

 

 

 

The examples below show how long each note value will be held when the dotted half note equals one beat.

Note value chart with the dotted half note equal to one beat

One dotted whole note = two dotted half notes = 2 beats:
Dotted whole note equals two beats in 6/4 time

 

One half note = two-thirds of a dotted half note = 2/3 of a beat:
Half note equals two thirds of a beat in 6/4 time

 

One quarter note = one-third of a dotted half note = 1/3 of a beat:
One quarter note equals one third of a beat in 6/4 time

 

One eighth note = one-sixth of a dotted half note = 1/6 of a beat:
One eighth note equals one sixth of a beat in 6/4 time

 

 

 

Practice SuggestionsLesson 18 Practice Suggestions

Practice PatternsLesson 18 Practice Patterns

 

3/2 and 6/4 time signature practice patterns

Learn how to play in odd meter in Lesson 19.

Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.

 

 

Get the Book

The Fundamentals of Rhythm, book by Kyle Coughlin

Fundamentals of Rhythm book

If you would like all of this information in book format so that you can put it on your music stand and practice it wherever you go, get The Fundamentals of Rhythm, by Kyle Coughlin. The book includes all of the lesson information and practice exercises found on the website.

 

Use MetronomeBot for a fun online metronome!

MetronomeBot, the talking online metronome
The online metronome that counts the beat, subdivides, and offers encouraging practice tips.

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