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.
If you liked this lesson don’t forget to sign-up for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter. With your subscription you will also receive a free copy of the eBook “How to Read Music” by Leon Harrell.
Enjoyed This Post? Then signup for the free One Minute Music Lesson newsletter and receive a FREE copy of “How to Read Music.”
Need More Help? Email Leon any questions you have about reading music, music theory or anything else music-related and get the answers you’ve been searching for.