Sunday, August 29, 2004

Triple Meter

Triple meter may sound confusing but's not. When you look at a piece of music you often see the numbers/fractions at the beginning like 3/4 or 6/8. Well triple meter just simply means 3 beats to each measure. The denominator (bottom number) of the fraction indicates the basic note-value of the pattern, and the numerator (top number) indicates the number of such note values making up the pattern. Therefore a measure that has a 3/4 meter has three quarter notes or the equivalent of that.
Once you start getting into the bigger numbers like 9/'s still considered a triple meter but it's now a compound triple meter because it consists of three groups of three eighth notes. (Remember an eighth note is half of a quarter note. A quarter note=1 beat.)

Source: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed.