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Time Signatures, Notes and Rests

Let’s beginning this section from acquaintance to device such as a metronome. Today it is an additional option in almost all music editors and sequencers. The function of metronome are playing beats in equal time intervals. Beats number per minute is called tempo. Let’s see how it works now.

Metroplus description

You can download metroplus here:

Let’s see the main functions of this application.

At the top and left we see 2 indicators – Tempo and Beat. So, we talked about tempo above. It is a beats number per minute. Beat are shows accent note. For example, if the number is 4, there are we have first note with accent and other 3 without accent. Non-accented notes are quieter

Also we have some frequently used settings under indicators. This is a tempo and beats.

With the help of settings sound 1, sound 2 and sound 3, we can change the sounds of beats. Usually I use O sound on all displays.

The start and stop metronome we can with the help of the go button or backspase keyboard button. One more thing, which I use in this application are sound power. It is two indicators for each monitors at right and top on the panel.

The main function of metronome for me are beats. Let’s see how will change tempo with different values from 80 till 160.


When you open music staff or tablature – one of the first designation which you see are tempo.


So, when we up or down the tempo, we are speeding up or slowing down respectively, melody rhytm.

Notes and rests

Now turn to the study of the duration of the notes and rests.

So, the most longest sounding note is called the whole note. Duration of the sound of this note is 4 beats of the metronome. On the music staff this note looks like this:

whole note

A half note sounds during two beats of the metronome and on the music staff and tablature looks like this:

half notes

The quarter note sounds during one beat, respectively, the duration of the sound of the eighth note is half the beat and the sixteenth note is the fourth part of the beat.

 On the next picture shows 2 quarter notes, two eighth notes and four sixteenth notes.

quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes

The notes contained in one beat of the metronome are joined together by a line. In the figure above, the eighth and sixteenth notes are interconnected by such lines.

As for the rests – they are also, like the notes, are divided into whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, thirty-second and sixty-fourth. Rests are intended for the cut off the sound of notes in the right places of the music staff.

On the picture below shows the whole rest. It means that during the four beats of the metronome, not any note sounds on this musical staff.

whole rest

The next one is a half rest. Naturally, she creates silence for 2 beats. The picture below shows the half note and rest:

half note and rest

We see on the image below:

  • quarter note and rest;
  • eighth note and rest;
  • two sixteenth notes and two sixteenth rests:
notes and rests

Time signatures

And now we need to deal with such a concept as time signature. These are two digits, which are located at the beginning of the bar in each musical composition.

time signature

Four-four time is the most popular signature.

Before we talk about time signature, let’s deal with what the bar is it. The bar – is a small piece of musical composition, which contains a certain number of notes, indicated in time signature

It’s very simple. The lower digit indicates the duration of the note, and the upper digit indicates the number of notes of a given duration in a bar.

Let’s see a few examples.

On the picture below shows the simplest example with four quarter notes in four-four time:

four quarter notes in 4/4 time

At the three-four time bar will consist of three quarter notes:

three quarter notes

Thereafter, 2/4 contains two quarter notes in a bar. This is a half of 4/4.

In fact, in 4/4 time there are 4 metronome beats, in 3/4 time – 3 beats, since it is worth remembering that, in simple terms, one metronome beat is equal to one quarter note.

Try it yourself to understand the example shown in the picture below:

some notes
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Alex Bratkov
Alex Bratkov Administrator

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