Music theory > Lessons > Duration of sounds > Time signature > 3/4 time signature example

3/4 time signature example

Explanation of 3/4 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 3/4 like this:

time signature 3/4

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

Beats in 3/4 time signature

1 quarter note quarter note (crotchet) (crotchet united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
2 eighth notes eighth note (quaver) (quavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
4 sixteenth notes sixteenth note (semiquaver) (semiquavers united kingdom) equals 1 beat.
and so on...

Examples found in famous works

J.S. Bach, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, BWV 147

The chorale of the cantata BWV 147 by J.S.BACH titled "Jesu, bleibet meine Freude" ("Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring") uses the 3/4 time signature: Jesus bleibet meine Freude, BWV 147 by J.S. Bach

This work is composed in G Major and its particularity is that it uses the superposition of ternary rhythms (triplets) and binary rhythms (dotted eighth note / sixteenth note).

Mozart, Symphony n°41, movement III, trio

The Minuet Trio from Symphony N° 41 in C major KV. 551 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also uses the time 3/4 time signature:

Symphony n°41, movement III, trio, by W.A. Mozart

You will notice the authentic cadence (perfect cadence united kingdom) in C Major just before the repeat bar at the very end of this musical sample.

Ravel, Boléro

Le boléro (the Bolero) by Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937) uses the 3/4 time signature:

Boléro by Maurice Ravel

In this musical sample in C major, you will notice the use of triplets.

Chopin, Nocturne opus 15 n°1

Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne opus 15 n°1 in F Major uses the 3/4 time signature:


(Royalty free musical sample performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source)
You will notice the use of eighth note triplets (left piano hand), sixteenth note triplets (measures 9, 10), as well as an anacrusis.

Chopin, Nocturne opus 15 n°3

Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne opus 15 n°3 in G minor uses the 3/4 time signature:


(Royalty free sample performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source)
You will notice the use of an anacrusis.

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