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Unit 4: Compound and mixed meters.

Let's remember!!

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At the beginning of a score, we can find all the information about the measure in the Time signature.

Beat: Basic sense of rhythm. Sometimes it's easy to feel, sometimes not. When the beat is specially strong, we call it upbeat.

Measure: Number of beats from one upbeat to another. 

Barline: A line in the staff to fulfill the measure.

There are three kinds of meters: simple, compound and mixed. Let's start with the simple meter. A simple meter is a regularly recurring pattern. As a simple meter, all the beats we used are the same and can be divided by 2. 

   Simple meter can be organized by the number of beats per measure. Only three are possible in music:

Duple: 2 beats per measure.

Triple: 3 beats per measure.

Quadruple: 4 beats per measure.


What's new? Dots & ties!!

It seems like music was thought to be divided by two. But, what happen if we want to divided a value by three? You can't. For this reason, musicians invented dots and ties.

Compound meters

A compound meter in music is a meter based on dotted notes. That means the beat will be always a dotted note. Like the simple meter, the number of beats can be 2, 3 or 4. 

As we have no way to write dotted notes on the time signature, we need to break the beat in three different parts. 


On a single duple meter, we have two beats and each beat is divided by two. On a compound duple meter, we have two beats, but each beat is divided by three.

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On a single triple meter, we have three beats and each beat is divided by two. On a compound triple meter, we have three beats, but each beat is divided by three.

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On a single quadruple meter, we have four beats and each beat is divided by two. On a compound quadruple meter, we have four beats, but each beat is divided by three.

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But remember!!! You can any value to fulfill the bar. The only condition is always fulfill it correctly

A little help? Remember the values

Perhaps this seems too hard? Remember the rhythm tree can help you. 

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Mixed meters

These meters combine a simple and a compound meter somehow. If it is a duple meter, with only two beats, one of them must be a simple beat, and the other one a compound beat.

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On a triple meter, with three beats, we can choose how many of the beats will be simple and how many compound. At least one beat must be of each class. 

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On a quadruple meter, we have four beats. At least one of them must be simple and other one compound. Here we have more possibilities, but those are harder meters to play music

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Some meters can be a alternation of a simple and a compound meter. This is the case of the "petenera" rhythm. The only condition is that both meters need to have the same measure, the same lenght. 


Score: Paisiello's Aria

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