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Lesson 3: Meters in double and triple time, upbeats

Video transcript

we have been discussing the note values in 4/4 4/4 is the meter and sometimes is called 4/4 time or a time signature this can also be notated by a large C which is called common time for 4 and the large C or common time are used interchangeably let's look at some other common meters 2 2 means 2 beats in a measure with a half note getting a beat one measure of 4 4 is equivalent to 2 - except that the unit of pulse or beat in two - is a half note while then 4/4 is a quarter note in both cases four quarters will be in each measure or two halves or one whole or eight eighths and so forth - two can also be notated with the large see that we just discussed but with a line drawn through its center vertically there are two other common meters with a to beat feeling they are two four and two eight in two for a quarter note gets one beat and in two eighth an eighth note gets a beat a March is usually notated in 2/4 time let's look and listen at the middle of the third movement of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony at the beginning of the movement the string section plucking their strings an effect called pizza Caro are playing all eighth notes let's look and listen to the bassoon playing a section in 2/4 from the Brahms academic festival overture in this excerpt Brahms alternates between quarter notes and eighth notes all of the meters that we have discussed so far are duple meters or duple time with the beats all divisible by two now let's discuss some triple meters with all the beats divisible by three the most common are three four three eight six eight nine eight and twelve eight three four means three beats in a measure with a quarter note receiving one beat if we look at the second movement of the shuttle kovash fifth symphony we see that it is in 3/4 or 3/4 time this melody played by the cellos and basses of the orchestra is quite simple the first measure a quarter note quarter rest quarter note second measure three quarters the third and fourth measures both have quarter to 8th and a quarter the fifth and six measures all eighth notes the seventh quarter four eighths the eighth quarter four eighths the ninth and tenth three quarters each then the horns enter and bar eleven and twelve playing a half note two widths half note two eighths now I would like us to listen to 3/4 meter that is a very different feeling it is a work called Black Swan by the Chinese American composer bright Sheng what bright did was to take a beautiful work written for piano by Johannes Brahms an intermezzo and write it for the orchestra this process is called orchestration this piece is also in 3/4 time but it is in much softer and slower work than the shuttle Kovich we just listened to notice how it begins with what we call an upbeat in this work we have two eighth notes that precede the first full bar these notes are called up beats a very common use of 3/4 is in the walls in this example from Robert Schumann's 3rd symphonies second movement it almost sounds like the walls and note that it begins also with an upbeat this time though just one eighth note 3:8 is like 3/4 except that the unit of bead in 3/8 is an eighth note while and 3/4 it is a quarter note here is the second movement of the Beethoven fifth symphony notice that it is in 3/8 and again it begins with an upbeat but this time it's a dotted sixteenth and a thirty-second note three two is a less often used time signature and as we've learned there are three beats in one measure with a half note receiving one beat let's listen to part of the finale to Stravinsky's Firebird ballet which is in three two you