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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Time Signatures

The metric cycle used in a composition is indicated by a time signature. Time signatures consist of a series of two numbers—the upper number (the numerator), which signifies the number of beats in the metric cycle, and the lower number (the denominator), which signifies the value of those beats in terms of halves, quarters, eighths, and so on (see Figure 7.5).

Figure 7.5. Time signature.

The time signature in Figure 7.5 signifies that each metric cycle has three beats and that the value of each beat is a quarter. On a staff, the time signature is placed at the very beginning, after the clef (see Figure 7.6). There is no need ...

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