follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

time signature

noun, Music.
1.
a numerical or other indication at the beginning of a piece showing the meter.
Origin
1870-1875
1870-75
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for time signature
  • Often, the music is not clearly one time signature or the other but rather a beautifully ambiguous combination of the two.
  • Then the drums come back in, perhaps now playing a different time signature.
  • Grime smacks and bullies whatever time signature it is grudgingly participating in.
  • However, when the lifetimes are close to each other, the clues in the time signature alone are not decisive.
British Dictionary definitions for time signature

time signature

noun
1.
(music) a sign usually consisting of two figures, one above the other, the upper figure representing the number of beats per bar and the lower one the time value of each beat. This sign is placed after the key signature at the outset of a piece or section of a piece
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for time signature

in musical notation, sign that indicates the metre of a composition. Most time signatures consist of two vertically aligned numbers, such as , , , and . The top figure reflects the number of beats in each measure, or metrical unit; the bottom figure indicates the note value that receives one beat (here, respectively, half note, quarter note, eighth note, and sixteenth note). When measures contain an uneven number of beats falling regularly into two subgroups, the division may be indicated as, for instance, instead of

Learn more about time signature with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for time signature

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for time

6
7
Scrabble Words With Friends