How to Read Music – Lesson 15 – Simple Meter

Simple meters are meters that the beat is divisible by 2.

You can easily tell if a meter is a simple meter by the top number of the time signature. If the top number is 2, 3 or 4 then the meter is a simple meter.

The beat in a simple meter will divide in to 2 equal parts. Lets look at an example in 4/4 to demonstrate this.

4/4 is a simple meter because the top number is 4.

The beat of 4/4 is a quarter note because if we imagine the bottom number, 4, as a fraction under the number 1, (1/4), then that will equal one fourth, or a quarter.

Since the beat of 4/4 is a quarter note it can easily divide into 2 equal parts, or two eighth notes.

Lets look at another example in 3/2, a common meter used in renaissance music.

3/2 is a simple meter becuase the top number is 3.

The beat of 3/2 is a half note becuase if we imagine the bottom number, 2, as a fraction under the number 1, (1/2), then that will equal one half, or a half note.

Since the beat of 3/2 is a half note it can easily divide into 2 equal parts, or two quarter notes.

To help you remember and more easily see this this information visually, you can download the free Simple Meter poster.

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