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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 this FREE worksheet to print off, complete with ANSWERS HERE.

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