time signature

noun Music.
a numerical or other indication at the beginning of a piece showing the meter.

Origin:
1870–75

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To time signature
Collins
World English Dictionary
time signature
 
n
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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature