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Lesson 5.1 - Irregular Time Signatures

The only new time signatures in this lesson are

  • 5/8 - 5 Quavers in a bar 
  • 7/8 - 7 Quavers in a bar
  • 5/4 - 5 Crotchets in a bar
  • 7/4 - 7 Crotchets in a bar
They are all introduced at Grade 5 ABRSM music theory and the first three at Grade 4 Trinity College music theory.

You will remember that the top number tells you how many beats are in a bar and the bottom number tells you the type of beat. So for example 5/8 time would be 5 quaver beats in a bar.


Examination questions typically require you to 

  • either add bar lines to a short passage of music, where the time signature is already given,
  • or add time signatures where the bar lines are already given.

Otherwise, there is nothing more complicated than that - 

It is just a matter of counting.

To see if you have got the hang of this, could you answer these questions
You can download a worksheet to print off, for more practice of this topic, complete with ANSWERS HERE.

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