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Lesson 1.1 - Time values, bar lines and time signatures.

Time Values, Bar Lines and Time Signatures


1 semibreve = 2 minims = 4 crotchets = 8 quavers = 16 semiquavers
1 semibreve is equal to

1 semibreve = 2 minims = 4 crotchets = 8 quavers = 16 semiquavers
2 minims, which are equal to

1 semibreve = 2 minims = 4 crotchets = 8 quavers = 16 semiquavers

4 crotchets, which are equal to

1 semibreve = 2 minims = 4 crotchets = 8 quavers = 16 semiquavers

8 quavers, which are equal to

1 semibreve = 2 minims = 4 crotchets = 8 quavers = 16 semiquavers

16 semiquavers.


The above stave contains three bars separated by Bar Lines.  At the end of the line there is a "Double Bar Line"  At the beginning of each bar there is a Time Signature.  The top number of a time signature tells you how many beats are in a bar, and the bottom number tells you what type of beat it is


The above stave contains three Bars separated by Bar Lines.

At the end of the line there is a "Double Bar Line"

At the beginning of each bar there is a Time Signature.

The top number of a time signature tells you how many beats are in a bar, and the bottom number tells you "what type of beat it is".

For example, in the first bar there is a time signature of 2/4.

This means that there are two beats in a bar and the beats are crotchets, or put more simply there are "two crotchet beats in bar".

The second bar has a time signature of 3/4 meaning "three crotchet beats in a bar". Notice that this doesn't necessarily mean three crotchets in that bar - it could be, as above, a minim and a crotchet which adds up to the same as three crotchet beats.

In the final bar there is a letter "C" which stands for "common time". Common time is just another way of writing 4/4 (i.e. four crotchet beats in a bar).

N.B. In Grade 1 you will only see time signatures with crotchet beats. In other words the bottom number of the time signature will always be 4 (or it's marked as common time which means 4/4).


Download a FREE worksheet on this topic from HERE

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