Saturday, August 28, 2004

compound meter

Compound meter is simply: "A meter that contains a triple subdivision within the beat, i.e. 6/8" (The Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th Edition. Don Randel) The opposite of a compound meter is simple meter which would be something in 4/4. Meters can be broken down even more into duple, triple, or quadruple- these are used to refer to the number of beats per measuer. Then the two can be combined to form simple/ compound duple, etc. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is an example of compound duple meter.

So that previous definition was very confusing- probably because I myself didn't really understand compound meter. I have found another source ( and everything has become clear to me!! O.K. First of all, a meter is a division of stressed and unstressed beats that is notated in Western Music by a time signature (4/4, 3/4, etc.) Compound meter is as I stated above from The Harvard Dictionary of Music . There are four types of meters that are seen most commonly: simple duple (4/4), simple triple (3/4), compound duple (6/8), and compound triple (9/8). I think this sums it up pretty well: "If each beat in a measure is divided into two parts, it is simple meter, and if divided into three it is compound. If each measure is divided into two beats, it is duple meter, and if three it is triple." ( fact-index) These days, most popular music is written in 4/4 or occasionally 2/2. More recently, contemporary composers have started righting in more obscure time signatures like 5/4 and 7/8. I think that about wraps it up.
P.S. fact-index is AWESOME for this type of thing, I would strongly recommend it.