Skip to main content
Select Source:

time signature

time signature. Sign placed after the clef and key-signature at the beginning of a piece of music, or during the course of it, to indicate the time or metre of the music. Normally it comprises two numbers, one above the other, the lower defining the unit of measurement in relation to the whole-note, the upper indicating the number of those units in each measure (bar). Thus the time signature 3/4 indicates three quarter-notes (crotchets) to the measure, one of 6/8 that there are six eighth-notes (quavers) in the measure. But see also compound time and simple time.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"time signature." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"time signature." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/time-signature

"time signature." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/time-signature

time signature

time sig·na·ture • n. Mus. an indication of rhythm following a clef, generally expressed as a fraction with the denominator defining the beat as a division of a whole note and the numerator giving the number of beats in each bar.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"time signature." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"time signature." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/time-signature

"time signature." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/time-signature