Spring Sale now on! Up to $65 OFF!  Shop Now

Your cart

You have no products in the cart
Delivery 4-9 days delivery in
Taxes & dutiesMay be due on delivery

Check out
Items are reserved for 15 minutes.

Shipping destination

Update preferences
Blog overview

Understanding the 4/4 time signature

Apple, in Music insights
Jun 14, 2022 | 3 min read

If you have been playing any genre of music for a long time or are just starting as a beginner, you might have noticed a time stamp or time signature printed at the very beginning of a piece. That’s the time signature, and here’s how it can help you keep better time.

What’s a time signature?

The time signature is a gauge used to measure the number of counts in one measure. It also determines which notes will receive one count. Basically, time signatures are guides built into written music that direct the length of notes. 

They help us break down sheet music into smaller, easier-to-learn and remember pieces. The time signature has two numbers; the top one dictates the number of beats in one bar or measure of music.

The lower number is the time signature, which indicates the type of note that gets a complete note. For example, time signature 2 means the note value is half a note per measure.

Click here to learn more about better time-keeping practices. 

4/4 time signature

What’s the 4/4 Time Signature?

In the simplest of words, a 4/4 time signature means four beats per measure. It’s the most frequently used time signature and for good reason. 4/4 time signature is a great place for budding musicians to learn first.

In fact, the 4/4 time signature is so commonly used in most Western music genres that it’s often called “common time” as well. That’s what the “C” at the very start of a piece of music indicates. 

That basically means it’s kind of like a default time signature. Pop, rock, country music, and classical all use this specific signature.

It might be difficult to believe that songs that vary so much in rhythm adhere to the same 4/4 time signature. 

The way that’s possible is because 4/4 does not mean that there can only be four quarter notes to each measure. Each of the 4 beats can be made up of half, one-fourth, or even one-eighth notes. Provided that the note and the remaining values add up to a grand total of 4.

Here are some well-loved songs that follow the 4/4 time signature.

  • Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees
  • The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Highway to Hell by AC/DC
  • I’m A Believer by The Monkees
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

What’s the 3/4 and 2/4 time signature?

Comparable to the 4/4 time meter, the 3/4 time signature indicates three beats for each measure. It’s the most commonly used signature after 4/4.

Generally, it’s considered ideal for the waltz dance. Its popularity soared around the 19th century, thanks in part to the legendary musician Johann Strauss the Second.

Similarly, the 2/4 time signature consists of two beats per measure. It’s primarily used in marching music.

Want to improve your musical skills?

Soundbrenner Core is a vibrating metronome built for musicians, both seasoned and newbies. Invest in it now to seriously up your time-keeping game, no matter the time signature. 

Or download the free Soundbrenner App today to access many free resources that help you grow as a musician.

Soundbrenner is a company dedicated to helping musicians stay focused on what truly matters: their music. By creating innovative devices, such as Soundbrenner Pulse and Core, our goal is to deliver the best possible practice experience for musicians. Click here to find out more.

Got a question about Soundbrenner wearables? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!

Introducing Soundbrenner Wave! The best in-ear monitors for musicians!

Explore Soundbrenner’s Wave IEM: Your ultimate in-ear monitor for crystal-clear…

Sidharth Sriram, in Company news, Product tips
Nov 16, 2023 | 3 min read
Soundbrenner debuts Core 2: The wearable for all musicians!

Launching a crowdfunding campaign today on Kickstarter, Core 2 by…

Florian Simmendinger, in Company news, Product tips
May 24, 2023 | 2 min read
Music practice tracking: How it stopped me from failing at my live gig!

Musicians DO NOT have the best time management! Join me…

James Morley, in By product, Core 2
May 10, 2024 | min read
Fret buzz on acoustic guitars: Here’s how to fix it (7 problems and solutions)

Fret buzz is something most guitarists will face quite regularly…

Sidharth Sriram, in Music insights
Jan 30, 2024 | 7 min read
12 best gifts for music lovers 2024

Shopping for the best gift for a music lover? Whether…

Apple, in Uncategorized
Jan 30, 2024 | 10 min read

Our wearables


Core 2

The ultimate practice companion


Learn more Buy now


The original vibrating metronome


Learn more Buy now