You won’t find very much in-depth information on time signatures unless you choose the finest online guitar lessons. I don’t think it is necessary to be an expert on this subject, especially if you are a searching for beginning guitar lessons. Although, if you read the guitar lesson reviews, plenty of information is available if you get to a level that requires knowing this information. Here is a very brief assignment I did from my online music class from the college about time signatures in regards to musical notation. I hope you find it interesting.

Time signatures are complex systems of organizing music into its proper mathematical hierarchy. It is an understandable system, nearly universal in form, detailing proper timing and structure. It seems quite difficult, but it can be broken down into logical, although complicated, pure mathematical equations. We have two types of time signatures. One system is called simple timing and the 2nd system is termed compound timing.
Music is read in meters, steady patterns of rhythmical beats organized in succession. One complete pattern is a measure or bar and is surrounded by two bar lines. The top number of a timing equation is made of meters.
The denominator, or bottom number is the basic note pattern, or the “unit” in simple time. In compound time the lower number is the “division” of the unit. The unit divides three times in compound time. Remember, in compound time, the unit always uses the equivalent of a dotted note to indicate its value.
Note: The denominator [bottom number] of a simple timing signature tells you how many parts a whole [note] is broken down into. So, if the denominator or bottom number of a simple timing pattern is 4, then that indicates that one whole note is broken up into 4 smaller pieces of equal size, or 4 quarter notes.

The unit in simple time divides by 2 and is signified by a particular undotted note. For instance: in 3/4 timing, the 4 or denominator is equal to 4 beats. Four quarter notes in a row. But, the top number [numerator] indicates only 3 actual notes will be played in said measure.
The top number, or numerator of the equation indicates the number of said notes played in the pattern. Therefore we can figure out the exact meter/s or notes that will be performed in the measure. Which is very often more or less than the lower number indicates.
The top number or first part of the time classification is expressed using terms such as duple, triple, quadruple and quintuple with meter on the end, as in, duple meter, triple meter. Or combinations of said meters. We can then combine this and define simple or compound timing, thus indicating a variety of timing classifications.
In cases where the top number is 6, 9, 12, 15 or 18, this is always referred to as compound timing. Where the top number can only be divided by the number 3.  All other numbers including the number 3 are considered to be in simple timing. The top number is set by using a combination of meters, or even a single meter. An example of simple timing is 4/4: The meters I am speaking of in this case are duple meters. The occurrence of 4 beats is actually 2 duple meters added together, Or one quadruple meter.
For instance, in the compound time classification of 12/16: The top number is divided by 3, which equals 4. Four beats indicates that the measure is in quadruple meter:  because the top number is 12, which was mentioned earlier to be of compound timing classification, this is quadruple-compound measure. The bottom number is indicated by a doted note.

I must tell you that typical musical notation does not account for the guitar. Guitars are not considered orchestra instruments and have only been in existence as we know them for only several hundred years. Because of this, several additional notations have been created to show the guitar player what position to play in. The best source of understandable information comes from Classical Guitar Technique Volume 1 and Volume 2. Both written by Aaron Shearer.

If you are interested, Classic Guitar Technique – Volume II is available to look at, and buy for less than 20 bucks, right now. Our Guitar lessons reviews are 100 percent unbiased by an accredited guitar lesson reviewer. Guitar Players Center.com

If you missed Guitar Lesson Review Chapter 4 Review, you can read it here. Enjoy. Give me some feedback. Thanks.

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2 Responses to Guitar Lesson Review Chapter 5 Review – Time Signatures

  1. Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your college music studies.. I am afraid this article was a bit over my head.

  2. I’m always really amazed and grateful when people do such fantastic research and share it with the rest of us.

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