How to Count Quadruple Time

Having the knowledge to count in quadruple time will make it possible for you to play a large variety of music. Several pieces exist that use quadruple time. Quadruple time music consists of any type of music that has four beats per measure. This can include music in which the quarter note gets one beat, such as 4/4 time, or the half note gets one beat, such as 4/2 time. Either way, the top value of each time signature will tell you what note value should be held for one beat and how to count the rest of the note values.

Step 1 Look at the time signature. A two as the top number means half notes will be worth one beat. The four as the top number means quarter notes get one beat. An eight as the top number means that eighth notes get held for one beat.

Step 2 Determine the length for each note. If the quarter note value holds one beat, then half notes hold two beats, whole notes hold four and eighth notes hold a half. If the half note holds the beat, then the numbers divide by two, so a quarter note is worth a half-beat and the half note is worth one beat.

Step 3 Write the main beats of the music using numbers. There should be four beats in each measure. If you get more than four beats, you have made a mistake. Not all music falls directly on the beat, so write in numbers that fall directly on the beat. For instance, in 4/4 time, a dotted half followed by an eighth and then a quarter would be written as such: 1, 3. The eighth note does fall on a main beat, so it does not receive a number.

Step 4 Fill in the notes that fall on half beats using the symbol "+." This symbol stands for the word "and." If you have one-quarter and two-eighths it will be written as: 1, 2 +.

Step 5 Subdivide mentally while you count the music using the fastest note value. For instance, if the fastest note value consists of an eighth note, have a steady beat going in your head and think: 1 +, 2 +, 3 +, 4 +.

Step 6 Clap only when a note falls on your subdivided beat. You may use a metronome to help you keep the beat steady at first. Tips Additional, faster note values also exist. For sixteenth note in 4/4 time, or notes that divide time into four divisions per beat, use the symbols "e" for the first half of the beat and "a" for the second half of the beat. With this method, four sixteenth notes would be counted as follows: 1 e + a. Notice that the "+" symbol falls on the middle of the beat.


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