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A Time Signature comprises of two numbers one on top of the other. These should not be confused with fractions, which have a line separating the numbers. The Time Signature is positioned at the beginning of a piece of music after the Key Signature.

The top number tells us how many beats there are in each bar measure. The bottom number gives us the value of each beat. The beat values can be made up of notes of lesser value so long as they add up to the total beat value indicated.

Below are listed the more common Time Signatures, however the top numbers can often be more complex numbers such as 7, 9, 11 or anything that is possible to play. The bottom numbers are usually Minims ( Half Notes ), Crotchets ( Quarter Notes ) or Quavers ( Eighth Notes ). A song may have multiple time signatures throughout the piece. There are plenty of examples of Jazz or Fusion music that use complex time signatures for guitar students to investigate.

Time SignatureMeaning Time SignatureMeaning
Two Minim Beats Three Minim Beats
Two Crotchet Beats Three Crotchet Beats
Four Crotchet Beats Five Crotchet Beats
Six Crotchet Beats Three Quaver Beats
Six Quaver Beats Seven Quaver Beats