Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > 3/2 time signature example

3/2 time signature example

Explanation of 3/2 time signature

In the article time signature, this is explained that:

- the top number indicates the number of time units in a measure (bar united kingdom).
- the bottom number determines the unit of time.

We can visually translate time signature 3/2 like this:

time signature 3/2

That is to say that there are 3 half notes (minims united kingdom) per measure and the unit of time is the half note (a beat corresponds to one half note):

Beats in 3/2 time signature

1 half note half note (minim) (minim united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
2 quarter notes quarter note (crotchet) (crotchets united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
4 eighth notes eighth note (quaver) (quavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
and so on...

Examples found in famous works

Sarabande and Variations, George Frideric Handel

Here is an example of a 3/2 time signature, with the musical work Sarabande and Variations in D minor from the composer George Frideric Handel.

3/2 time signature is classified as simple triple meter: There are 3 beats per measure (bar united kingdom) and each beat is divided by 2. The value of one beat is half note (minim).


Bach, Prelude in E-flat minor, BWV 853

Prelude n°8 BWV 853 in E flat minor from book 1 of the well-tempered keyboard by Johann Sebastian BACH uses time signature 3/2:


Royalty-free sound sample recorded by pianist Kimiko Ishizaka in 2015 (CC BY 4.0 license, source).

The fugue that follows this prelude is composed in the enharmonic key of E flat minor, i.e. in D sharp minor.

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